Population and Housing Census, main figures (discontinued)2011


About the statistics


Name and topic

Name: Population and Housing Census, main figures (discontinued)
Topic: Population

Responsible division

Division for Population Statistics

Definitions of the main concepts and variables

Definition of units

Resident person. The census comprises all persons that according to the population register were residents in Norway on 19 November 2011. The Population Registration Act of 16 January 1970 (with later amendments) and its provisions, define persons that are considered resident in Norway and where their address is to be. The total number of persons resident in a region is the total population .

Variables - demography and place of residence

Age. In the 2011 Census, persons are grouped according to age at census date (19 November). This definition complies with the EU regulation. In previous censuses, persons were grouped according to age at the end of the year (31 December). This variable is also produced in the 2011 Census, but it is not used for publishing statistics.

Registered residential address. This is the residential address where the individual person was registered on 19 November 2011. The main rule in population registration is that a person is to be registered as resident at the address where the person spends the majority of his or her daily night-rest. However there are some exceptions, the most important being that unmarried students may choose whether they want to be registered at their parents’ address or at the address at their place of study. Moreover, married persons and persons with their own children in the same household are to be registered as living with their spouse or children even though they might be, for e.g., weekly commuters. Persons that according to the population register have no fixed abode, are counted in the municipality where they previously resided. In tables by basic statistical unit and statistical tract, these persons are classified as unknown . The same applies in classifications by densely/sparely populated area.

In the 2011 Census persons that according to the Population register of Svalbard are residing in Longyearbyen or Ny-Ålesund, are counted as residents there. The address in Svalbard then replaces the address in the CPR in the census file.

Actual residential address. 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 their parents’ address. 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.

The goal in the 2011 Census project was to find the precise residential address for students and to use this address to replace the registered address in all census statistics. However, given the data sources available, it has only been possible to obtain actual addresses for students on a municipality level. Data on students’ actual addresses therefore will be used as additional information only. In general, students are counted on their registered residential address in census statistics. Statistics Norway will continue their efforts to obtain data on detailed actual addresses for students.

Geographical variables

County . The region 21 Svalbard is included in tables on municipality even though this region is not a county in the legal sense.

Municipality . The municipality distribution as at 1 January 2012 is used. Per 1 January 2012 the municipalities 1723 Mosvik and 1729 Inderøy were merged to 1756 Inderøy. The region 2111_2112 Longyearbyen and Ny-Ålesund are included in tables on municipalities even though this region is not a municipality in the legal sense.

Statistical tracts and basic statistical units. Classification as of 1 January 2012 is used.

Densely/sparsely populated areas . A person is classified as living in a densely populated area if the address is situated within the boundaries of an urban settlement, otherwise the persons is classified as living in a sparsely populated area. For definition of urban settlement, see Classification of urban settlements (4.2). In the 2011 Census the classification as of 1 January 2012 is used.

Standard classifications

Classification of region

Classification of county

Classification of economic region

Classification of municipality

Classification of urban district

Classification of statistical tract and basic statistical unit

Classification of urban settlement

Classification of centrality

Administrative information

Regional level

Most of the census statistics are disseminated on municipality level and on urban districts level for the cities of Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger. Selected statistics are also disseminated for basic statistical units and statistical tracts.

Frequency and timeliness

Population and housing censuses are conducted every tenth year. In 2011 Census day was 19 November. Main figures for the population are released 21 June 2012. Other census statistics will be released in autumn 2012 and spring 2013.

International reporting

Reporting to Eurostat and UN.


Census micro data without personal identification will be stored in Statistics Norway. Micro data with personal identification will be stored in The National Archives of Norway and will be made available for public use 100 years after the census.


Background and purpose

Statistics Norway conducted a register-based population and housing census on 19 November 2011. The purpose of this nationwide census is to describe how people are living in Norway, and to provide information on population structure and living conditions. Another important goal is to produce statistics for international comparisons.

Population and housing censuses have a long history in Norway. The first census was conducted in 1769 and the 2011 Census is the 22 nd .

In all previous censuses, questionnaires have been used to collect information; from 1980 on, a combination of data from questionnaires and registers have been used. In the 2011 Census, all data are for the first time collected from administrative and statistical registers, and there is no longer necessary to use questionnaires for collecting data.

More information in the census information page .

Users and applications

Census statistics has a wide range of users: Researchers, planners on national and local level, politicians, media and private individuals. The statistics is also used for international comparisons.

Equal treatment of users

Not relevant

Coherence with other statistics

The 2011 Census population on Svalbard only comprises persons registered as residents in Norway at census time. Compared to the annual population statistics on Svalbard, that comprises all residents in the Norwegian settlement and also a population count for the Russian and Polish settlements, the census will give a lower population figure.

The points made in 6.1 also apply when comparing the 2011 Census to the annual population statistics.

Legal authority

Statistics Act, §§2-1, 3-2

EEA reference

Regulation (EC) No 0763/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council.



The Population and Housing Census 2011 comprises all persons, including foreign citizens, who were registered as residents in Norway according to the Central Population Register on 19 November 2011, census day.

The census basically comprises all private households and institutional households where at least one person was registered as resident on census day.

The census basically comprises all conventional dwelling registered in the Cadastre, occupied as well as unoccupied. Dwellings used as holiday homes are included when at least one persons is registered as living on the address.

Data sources and sampling

All data in the 2011 Census are collected from administrative and statistical registers.

The register data used in the Population and housing census 2011 are mainly the same as that used in other statistics. Statistics Norway has built up data systems, referred to as statistical registers, in several statistical areas (sectors). These are again based upon one or more administrative data systems that are either administrative registers held by other public authorities or administrative data collected by Statistics Norway.

Population data

The population statistics system at Statistics Norway (BeReg) is the most central register in census for information on persons, families and households. The main source of data is the Central Population Register (CPR). More information in About the statistics for Population statistics .

Information on residents in Longyearbyen and Ny-Ålesund is collected from the Population register of Svalbard.

Information on actual addresses for students is collected from different registers kept by educational institutions, the State Education Loan Fund for students, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration, the postal service and the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.

Geographical information

Information on addresses of residents, dwellings, work places and schools/educational institutions is collected from the address section of the Cadastre. This is information on the basic statistical unit, municipality, etc., to which the address belongs and whether the address is located in a densely or sparsely populated area.

The Population and Housing Census 2011 is a full count.

Collection of data, editing and estimations

The 2011 Census is fully register-based and hence there is no separate data collection.

Register data used in statistics are verified and edited to a greater or lesser degree. Variables that are not found in any of the administrative sources are created by combining data from various register sources. Editing is mainly carried out in production of the various subject matter statistics. Information on population figures is available in About the statistics for Population statistics.

Population counts are produced directly from the individual register data.

Seasonal adjustment

Not relevant


Small area statistics is an important part of censuses, but the statistics shall not provide information that can be traced back to individual persons. In respect of the protection of privacy, many of the tables have been adjusted in order that combinations of variable figures that only occur once or twice should not be identifiable in the tables. In most of the table matrixes at the most detailed level in every region (county, municipality, urban district, basic statistical unit), all figures 1 and 2 are replaced by 0 or 3 (table matrixes affected by this will be marked with foot notes). The figures 0 and 3 also occur naturally, and it should not be possible to see the difference between the two types of 0 and 3. The replacements are done such that there will be only minor deviations at a higher level of aggregation. These deviations will generally be less than errors in the statistics, and will not reduce the utilitarian value of the statistics. When the same table is produced on the basis of two different matrixes, minor deviations may also occur between the tables.

Comparability over time and space

Residents in Svalbard

In the 2011 Census, persons actually living on the islands of Svalbard are counted there, but in previous censuses they were counted at their place of registered residence. Compared to previous censuses, the 2011 Census therefore shows a somewhat smaller population in municipalities where a substantial number of registered residents actually live in Svalbard.


Adapting to the EU regulation, the 2011 Census uses age at census date (19 November). In previous censuses, age at the end of the year has been used. In particular, the age group below one year will be larger when using age at census time, since all persons born in the last 12 months are included. When using age at end of the year, only persons born in 2011 will belong to this age group. In the 2011 Census the difference is approximately 6 500 persons.

Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

The 2011 Census uses the same register-based data as the different subject matter statistics published by Statistics Norway. For descriptions of measurement and processing errors, see About the statistics for the relevant subject matter statistics.

Comparable population figures for municipalities for all previous censuses have been estimated by NSD - Norwegian Centre for Research Data. The information available for these estimations may be insufficient, especially for the earliest censuses where there is some uncertainty in the estimates.

Coverage for the total population

According to the EU regulation, the population is defined as all persons who have been living in the country for 12 months ore more at census time, or if not meeting this criterion, have the intention to stay for at least 12 months. Compared to this definition, a register-based census will have coverage errors.

Persons legally living in Norway will indeed have self-interest to register as a resident person in the population register. For persons emigrating de-registration will not be as important, meaning that some persons that no longer live in Norway most probably are included in the census population. This results in over-coverage. On the other hand there will at any time be some persons staying in the country that are not included in the population. This applies to all illegal immigrants, but also to asylum seekers that have not obtained a residence permit. This results in under-coverage.

Estimates of over- and under-coverage will be given in 2013. However, compared to the total population size, coverage errors most certainly have a very small magnitude.

Students’ actual address

Comparisons with other sources, indicates that the number of students classified in the census as living at their place of study is somewhat too low. However, the judgement is that the data available give reliable and useful information on the population distribution by actual place of residence.


Not relevant