Population and Housing Census, households (discontinued)2011


About the statistics


Name and topic

Name: Population and Housing Census, households (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 .


Couple. Two persons are considered a couple when they are registered as resident in the same household and are married to each other, are registered partners or cohabitants, i.e. living together without being married or having a registered partnership. To be classified as a cohabiting couple in the statistics, the persons must live in the same dwelling and in addition be of opposite sex and either have children in common, have been classified as cohabitants in the 2001 census or have been classified as a cohabitant couple in the system for data processing, control and revision described in 3.5. The data quality is not good enough to identify same sex cohabitants, and statistics for this group is accordingly not published.

Divorced and separated couples registered as resident in the same dwelling are considered a couple when they fulfil at least one of the requirements above. Divorced couples are in those cases classified as cohabiting. Separated couples living together are classified as married couples in the household statistics, because they legally are still considered to be married.

Family . A family consists of persons resident in the same dwelling and being a couple and/or parent and child (regardless of the child's age). At most, a family may consist of two subsequent generations and one couple only. This means that persons that are married or cohabiting and/or are living with their own children, do not belong to their parents' family. When persons that have previously been married are living with their parents, this is regarded as two families. In Norwegian statistics single persons are also considered a family, meaning that all persons are part of a family. In international statistics persons living alone are not considered to be a family.

Household. A household consists of persons that according to the population register are resident in the same housing unit (private dwelling or institution). These households are known as dwelling households . The census statistics does not include any information on housekeeping units, i.e. persons living in the same dwelling with joint board. A private household comprises persons resident in the same dwelling, where this dwelling is not an institution. An institutional household comprises persons who have board, lodging, care or nursing at an institution. Employees that are resident in an institution are always considered resident in a private household.

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 Central population register 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 place of residence 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.

Family variables

Cohabitation arrangements. Persons are classified as living in a married couple, a cohabiting couple or not in a couple. Couples are classified as being married or cohabiting (for definition of couple, see 4.1).


Number of children in family comprises all persons below 18 years who are registered as residents with the family of at least one of their parents. Persons who are married or cohabiting and/or have their own children do not belong to their parents’ family. Biological children, adopted children and stepchildren are included, but not foster children.

Household variables

Household status describes the type of household in which a person lives and his/hers position in the household. The main division is between persons living in a private household or not in a private household. Persons in private household are classified according to the number of families in the household (one family or two-or-more families). Persons in one-family households are classified as either living alone or living with others. Persons living with others are classified as living in a couple (as married or cohabiting), as a lone parent or as a son/daughter in the family.


Persons not living in a private household should in principle be classified as living in an institution or with household status &“unknown´´. Given the data quality this subdivision is rather uncertain, especially on municipality level. Statistics Norway therefore has decided to publish figures for persons not living in private households with no such subdivision. In total 52 500 persons belong to this group and it is estimated that a little more than half of them are living in institution. Only persons registered as living in an institution belong to this group. Persons that are living in an institution, but have a spouse living in a private household, are in some cases registered as living with the spouse, i.e. in a private household.


As the definition of family in Norwegian statistics is somewhat different from the definition used in international statistics (see 4.1), the classification by household status are not identical. However, statistics according to the international standard will also be produced from the Norwegian census.


Type of household is classified according to standard classification of households 2006 (see 4.2). Households are classified by the number of families in the household (one family or two-or-more families) and as families with or without children (as defined in Number of children in the household. ). For comparison with international statistics, see Household status .

Size of household is the number of persons resident in the household at census time. Only person registered on the residential address are counted.


Number of children in the household is the aggregated number of children in all families belonging to the household. Persons below 18 years who are registered as living with other adults than their parents are in this context not counted as children in the household.


Tenure status of household. Owners comprise both homeowners (owner-occupied dwellings) and cooperative ownership. When none of the household members is the owner of the dwelling the household is classified as renting the dwelling (see 3.5).


Number of cars available for use of the household is the aggregated number of private cars that all members of the household have for their disposal. The basis for the estimate is the number of cars owned by the single person according to the Register of vehicles. In addition cars available by private leasing are included. Persons with the free use of a company car according to tax registers are regarded to have one car in addition. There is no information available on other ways of disposing private cars (see 6.2).

Variables on education

Level of education is grouped according to the Norwegian Standard Classification of Education,

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 regions 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 an urban settlement, otherwise 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 regions

Classification of municipality

Classification of urban district

Classification of statistical tract and basic statistical unit

Classification of urban settlement

Classification of centrality

Classification of households

Norwegian Standard Classification of Education

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 released 21 June 2012. Figures on households released 18 December 2012. Other census statistics will be released in spring 2013.

International reporting

Reporting to Eurostat and UN


Not relevant


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 in the census data collection. However, data from the Survey of education taken abroad 2012 is used in the 2011 census. More information, see About the statistics for Education statistics

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

Total population

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.


The data base for the 2011 census is almost the same as for the annual household statistics , but some adjustments have been made. Approximately 13 000 persons who in the annual statistics are counted as members of private households, are in the census classified with &“household status unknown´´. In the 2011 census 1.1 per cent of the population is classified as not living in a private household, as compared to 0.8 per cent in the household statistics per 1 January 2011. For private households, the portion of couples without children increases from 21.2 to 21.4 per cent, while the portion of one-person households decreases from 39.7 to 39.6 per cent. For other types of households the changes are even smaller. Except for these differences, the comparability with the annual household statistics is good. The data used in the household statistics for 2012 will be adjusted in the same way as in the 2011 census.

The Income statistics for households basically uses the same data as the 2011 census, but the reference date is 31 December every year. However, the definition of households in the income statistics is different from the definition in the census. Students and young employees that have a registered place of residence far away from the place of study/work, is counted in the municipality where they study/work. Furthermore, all persons living in institutions are classified as living in an institutional household, irrespectively of where they are registered as receding. This is a necessary adjustment in the income statistics where the goal is to estimate the economic resources for people living together and sharing income and expenditures. The problem is that for most of the persons in question, the only information available is the municipality in which they live and not the precise address. These address data are sufficient for the income statistics, but the method can not be used in a general household statistics were all persons must be linked to a specific residential address and thereby classified correctly according to household characteristics. The number of households in the income statistics is approximately 4 per cent higher that in the census statistics. The income statistics shows more persons living alone, more couples without children and fewer households with children above 18 years than the 2011 census.

Tenure status of households

The percentage of household owning their dwelling is approximately 5 per cent lower in the 2011 census than according to the Survey of living conditions. The changes over the last ten years, however, are the same in both statistics. When comparing the statistics one must take into account that the Survey of living conditions is based on interviews and use the housekeeping unit concept and the actual (self declared) residential address.

Number of private cars available for household

The 2011 census shows that 73 per cent of all households have one ore more private cars available for their use. In the 2001 census the corresponding figure was 70 per cent. The Survey of consumer expenditure 2007-2009 shows that approximately 80 per cent of all household have a car for their disposal. According to a survey conducted in 2005 by The Institute of Transport Economics the corresponding percentage is 87. This surveys, as well as the 2011 census, shows that the percentage with a car is lower in Oslo than in the country as a whole.


The statistics from the 2011 census is, as in the previous census, based on registers. All private cars owned by (registered in the name of) household members are counted as well as cars available through private leasing. In addition to private cars, smaller combi-cars and vans and mini buses are included. Persons liable to tax charge on private use of a company car, is regarded to have one extra car.


The surveys referred to are both based on interviews. When comparing with these surveys, the data used in the 2011 census seems to suffer from a certain under coverage. This may be caused by households disposing cars owned by persons that are not members of the family, for instance young people may dispose a car owned by their parents. The same may be true for cars registered in the name of a company owned by a member of the household. Furthermore, employees may dispose a company car without being liable for taxation. In spite of this estimated under coverage in the census, Statistics Norway find the figure to be useful, especially for regional analysis.

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 th November 2011, census day.


The census basically comprises all conventional dwellings according to the principles for registration of dwellings in the Cadastre (register on ground properties, buildings, dwellings and addresses managed by the Norwegian mapping authorities). All dwellings, occupied as well as unoccupied are included. Dwellings used as holiday homes are included when at least one persons is registered as living on the address. More information, see About the statistics for Dwelling statistics

Data sources and sampling

All data in the 2011 census are retrieved from administrative and statistical registers. These data are mainly the same as those 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 for information on persons, families and households in the census. 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.

Data on households

The main data source is the population statistics system at Statistics Norway (BeReg). Persons are grouped into families in the population register through the allocation of family numbers. Families in the population register comprise married couples with or without children, lone parents with children and persons living alone. In order to produce figures for cohabiting couples and two or more-family households, and hereby all types of families and households, Statistics Norway processes information from the population register. In addition some information from The Cadastre and the business register are used in this process. Data from the same registers are used to identify persons not living in private households (living in institutions, of no fixed abode or address unknown).

For the variable tenure status , information about ownership of the dwellings is retrieved from Statistics Norway’s version of the Cadastre. Information about cooperative ownership is retrieved from a register for real estate taxation.

Data on availability of cars

Data on ownership of cars is retrieved from the Register of vehicles. Information on leasing of private cars is collected form The Norwegian Public Roads Administration. Data is also retrieved from the Register of Wage Sums about persons who have a car available for their use through their work.

Data on education

Data on education is retrieved from The Register of the Population's Level of Education in Statistics Norway.

Geographical information

Information on addresses of residents, dwellings, work places and schools/educational institutions is retrieved 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 was a full count.

Collection of data, editing and estimations

The 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

Household figures in the 2011 census are produced in the same way as in the annual household statistics. The procedure used is described in About the statistics for household statistics The basic principle is that all persons with the same residential address in the population register belong to the same household (see 4.1). However, a household count following this principle gives too few and too large households. Therefore, Statistics Norway has developed a method where information from the census forms in 2001 is used to modify the data from the population register. When members of the original household are not relatives, are not classified as cohabitants and did not move to the dwelling on the same day, households are in some cases divided.


Information on tenure status of households is established by combining data on households and dwellings. The household is classified as homeowner if at least one of the household members is registered as the owner (owner-occupied dwelling). If at least one household member is the owner within the framework of a housing cooperative, the household is classified as having a collective ownership. If none of these conditions are met, the household is classified as renting the dwelling.

Census statistics 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 years 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 for this age group.


In the 2001 census household data was mainly based on information from census forms, but in 2011 household data are based on registers only. When the annual, register-based household statistics was established in 2005, the comparability with the 2001 census was assessed to be satisfactory, and data from the 2011 Census is also used in producing the register-based household statistics. The 2011 census is based on the same data as the annual statistics: In establishing a method for register-based household statistics comparability with previous censuses was emphasized. However, in assessing changes from the pervious census, this difference in data collection method should be taken into account.

Tenure status of households

A breakdown of household by tenure status has not been included in the annual statistics. The variable was in the 2001 census based on information from census forms, but in the 2011 census it is totally register-based. The figures show a small decrease in the percentage of households renting their dwelling from 2001 to 2011. The Survey of living conditions shows approximately the same decrease. In the 2001 census households renting their dwelling was classified as renting from a private individual, from a rental housing company, from the municipality, as a staff dwelling or on other terms. A similar subdivision is not possible in the 2011 census.

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.

Tenure status of the household

The method used for producing data on tenure status only covers 85 per cent of all household. For the remaining 15 per cent the values are imputed by using a nearest neighbour method. In some municipalities a small number of households will have the imputed value &“cooperative ownership´´ even if housing cooperatives do not exist in the municipality.

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.


A person 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 incorrectly 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 reported in 2013. However, compared to the total population size, coverage errors most certainly are of 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.


A correct distribution of households in the 2011 census is very much dependent on the existence of unique dwelling addresses in the population register. Dwellings in multi-dwelling buildings need to have a unique dwelling number in addition to the street address. In 2011 the coverage of unique addresses is satisfactory, more than 95 per cent. However, there is evidence that for some persons, the dwelling address is incorrect.


Another quality problem is delayed and missing notices of removal to the population register. In cases where a family in fact has moved from a dwelling (but without reporting the removal to the population register) and a new family has moved in, the register data will show two families living in the same household. This type of error also occurs when persons are moving abroad and especially if they are leaving the country temporarily only.


Furthermore, there may exist dwelling that are not properly registered in the Cadastre, especially in detached houses where a one-room flat may be missing. In such cases, the register data will show that persons are living in the same dwelling, even if they in facts have separate dwellings and belong to different households.


The method used for producing household statistics will correct for most errors of the types mentioned above, see About the statistics for household statistics Furthermore, in establishing the data for the 2011 Census, the populations have been somewhat adjusted. The number of private households has been reduced as approximately 13 000 persons have been classified in &“household status unknown´´ (most of them formerly classified as living alone). The original population of dwellings has also been adjusted by adding 48 600 dwellings for statistical use, mainly in detached houses. This improves the quality of household data in the census. However, the errors mentioned introduce an element of uncertainty in the household statistics, especially in cases where persons not belonging to the same family are registered on the same address. It may then be difficult to judge if they should be classified as a two-or-more family household or as several separate households.

Households in Svalbard

Only persons registered as resident in Norway are included in the census, having an influence on the household distribution in cases where persons included in the census are living together with persons staying temporarily in the country (and hence are not registered as residents). For example, a resident person living with a spouse or a cohabitant not registered as a resident could be classified as living alone or as a lone parent. In most municipalities this error is of a very small magnitude. In the settlements on Svalbard, however, where such cases occur more frequently, this type of error must be taken into account.


Not relevant