Where are students actually living?
fobhoved, Population and Housing Census, main figures (discontinued)Population and housing censuses , Population

Population and Housing Census, main figures (discontinued)2011



Where are students actually living?

According to the population and housing census 2011, the total population in Norway on 19 November, was 4 979 955. The total population count and the population count for all municipalities are taken from the Central Population Register. However, if we take into account where students are actually living, the regional population distribution is somewhat different.

Figures from the 2011 Census show that 56 000 students’ actual (de facto) residence is not in the municipality of their registered place of residence. Where population counts are based on the students’ actual residential address instead of their registered address, 20 municipalities will have a larger population. As expected, the largest differences are found in cities with universities and university colleges, such as Trondheim (12 500), Oslo (9 200) and Bergen (8 100). Also in Tromsø, Kristiansand and Lillehammer the difference is larger than 1 000 persons. Expressed as a percentage of the total population, the difference is largest in smaller municipalities, such as Bø, Sogndal and Volda, and even in Trondheim.

The remaining 410 municipalities will have a smaller population when the students’ actual address is used. For more than 300 municipalities however, the difference is less than 2 per cent and no municipality has a difference larger than 4 per cent.

Largest differences for young people

Most students are in the age group 19-34 years. Hence, the differences expressed as a percentage are largest for this age group. In the municipalities of Sogndal and Bø, the population in the age group 19-34 years is more than 40 per cent larger when counted by the students’ actual place of residence. Also in Volda, Trondheim, Lillehammer, Ås, Nesna and Åmot the differences are above 15 per cent. Of course, this effect is also seen for municipalities with negative differences. In 22 municipalities the population is more than 15 per cent smaller when counted by actual residence, and in 115 municipalities the difference is between 10 and 15 per cent.

Several factors behind the difference

It may be surprising that the differences between populations counted by actual address and by registered address are not greater in cities with universities and university colleges. In Oslo, there are approximately 70 000 students, but quite a number of them are registered as residents of Oslo. Many students are also living in neighbouring municipalities. The number of students with an actual address in Oslo, but with a registered address elsewhere, is 11 600. However, there are also 2 500 students that are registered as living in Oslo, but with an actual address in another municipality. Accordingly, the net difference is not more than slightly above 9 000. This also explains why several municipalities with relatively many student places still have a smaller population when counted by the students’ actual address: more students registered as residents in the municipality have an actual address elsewhere than the other way around.

Population censuses show long-term changes

The history of censuses in Norway stretches back more than 200 years. Census statistics are therefore suitable for analysing long-term population changes in different regions. For example, it is possible to compare population changes over the last 100 years (1910 to 2011) with changes in the preceding century (1801 to 1910) based on current regional units.

Change in population in municipalities 1910-2011. Per cent

Change in population in municipalities 1801-1910. Per cent

In the period 1801 to 1910, the population in Norway increased by approximately 1.5 million, from 0.9 to 2.4 million. Among counties, the increase was by far largest in Oslo. Expressed as a percentage, there was also a substantial increase in the two northernmost counties, Finnmark and Troms. Among the 30 municipalities with the largest increase, 25 were situated in these two counties. The increase was smallest in Sogn og Fjordane and Oppland, but even in these counties the population was almost doubled in the period.

On census day in 2011 there were almost 5 million inhabitants in Norway; almost twice as many as in 1910. The increase was largest in central areas. Among the 30 municipalities with the largest increase, 25 were situated in the surroundings of Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger and Kristiansand. In total, 136 municipalities had a smaller population in 2011 than in 1910. As many as 44 of these municipalities were situated in Northern Norway; many of them with a strongly growing population in the preceding period.

Comparisons of regional population changes in periods of 100 years only give the broad picture. However, it is possible to analyse the population changes in more detail using the regional population figures that are available in StatBank Norway for all 22 censuses conducted in Norway.

Substantial changes may occur even in 10 years

Since the previous census in 2001, the population in Norway has increased by 460 000 or 10 per cent. However, there are great differences between age groups. The increase has been by far largest for persons aged 60-69 years, almost 180 000 person or 50 per cent. In 2011, 10.7 per cent of the total population belongs to this age group, compared to 7.9 per cent in 2001.

Population in the censuses in 2001 and 2011 by age

Persons in their 60s in 2011 were born in the period 1942 to 1951; a period when the number of births was high. The number of children born in this period was more than 180 000 higher than in the period 1932 to 1941, when persons aged 60-69 years in 2001 were born. This explains the substantial population increase in this age group between 2001 and 2011.

Population and housing census 2011

This is the first release of statistics from the 2011 Census in Norway. In autumn 2012 and spring 2013, census statistics on households and families, housing, current activity status, employment and education, commuting and income will be published. Dates for new releases will be published on the 2011 Census information web page and in the Advance Release Calendar.

Registered and actual residential address

In the 2011 Census, as in the annual population statistics, the residential address in the Central Population Register is the basis for counting the population in counties and municipalities. However, there is a difference between the Census and the annual statistics. In the Census, addresses for persons living on the islands of Svalbard (according to the Population Register of Svalbard) are used as residential addresses. This is denoted as the registered residential address .

In the population register, the residential address is the address where the persons spend their daily rest. However, it is not mandatory for unmarried students to report the change of address from their parents’ home, even if the person is actually living at the place of study. In the 2011 Census, different additional data sources are used to find residential addresses at the place of study for students registered as residents at the address of their parents. This is denoted as the actual residential address for students. For all other inhabitants, the actual address is the same as the registered address. This also applies to persons studying abroad.

Historical population figures for municipalities

The breakdown into municipalities in Norway has changed considerably from the first census to the 2011 Census. Comparable population figures for municipalities for all previous censuses have been estimated by the Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD). The information available for these estimations may be insufficient, especially for the earliest censuses where there is some uncertainty in the estimates.