Population;Population;Immigration and immigrants

PopulationQ2 2017


About the statistics


Name and topic

Name: Population
Topic: Population

Next release

Responsible division

Division for Population Statistics

Definitions of the main concepts and variables

Mean population: Average population at the beginning and end of the year.

Resident: Who is regarded as a resident of Norway and where in Norway a person shall be counted as a resident, is stipulated in the Population Registration Act of 16 January 1970. The regulations to the act were amended effective 1 February 1980.

The following main points from the registration rules decide who is regarded as a resident of Norway:

Persons from countries outside the Nordic countries are regarded as residents of Norway when they have lived here or intend to live here at least 6 months, even though the stay is temporary. The same six-month rule applies to migration from Norway to a country outside the Nordic countries.

The aforementioned six-month rule does not always apply to migration between Norway and another Nordic country. In Denmark, for example, a person is registered as a resident if the person intends to stay in the country at least 3 months. The same limit is used for out-migration. In Sweden and Finland the limit is one year. For persons who come/move to Norway from another Nordic country, the six-month rule is still valid, as residence is decided by the country of immigration's rules, cf. the Nordic agreement on inter-Nordic migration dated 8 May 1989. This agreement replaced a similar agreement from 5 December 1968.

People living in Svalbard, on Jan Mayen or in Norwegian dependencies who on departure were registered in the population register of a Norwegian municipality shall still be counted as residents of that municipality. The same rules apply to people on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Norwegian foreign and consular service staff and Norwegian military personnel posted for duty abroad are counted as residents of Norway. The same applies to their families.

Foreign staff at foreign embassies and consular services and foreign personnel attached to NATO are not counted as residents of Norway. The same applies to their families.

The main rule for where in Norway a person is regarded as a resident is that the person resides where he/she has their regular daily rest (night's sleep).

If the daily rest is taken in shifts at one or more places, the person is regarded as residing where, overall, they can be said to live on a regular basis. Spouses with a joint home and persons sharing a joint home with their children are regarded as residing in this home without regard to where they have their daily rest.

Single persons who attend school in another municipality are as a main rule still regarded as resident of the place they lived before starting school (the residence of their parents). Similar registration principles also apply to conscripts serving their initial military service, alternative national service conscripts, prisoners, and people admitted to hospitals.

Persons admitted to or placed in other institutions or private care are as a main rule regarded as residents when the stay is intended to last, or turns out to last, at least 6 months.

From March 1987 to January 1994 asylum seekers were usually counted as immigrants and hence also as residents even though the processing of their application for residence had not been completed. Before and after this period, only asylum seekers with residence permits have been registered.

Births: Live births

Excess of births over deaths: The difference between births and deaths also called "net natural increase in the total population". A minus sign means an excess of deaths over births.

In-migration, out-migration: Migration is the relocation of one person between two Norwegian municipalities or between a Norwegian municipality and abroad. People who move several times during a single calendar year are counted each time they move. In the migration statistics for counties, moves between the municipalities in the county are not included.

Net migration: The difference between in-migration and out-migration. A minus sign means net out-migration.

Population: All numbers cover the de jure population.

Population growth: There are two ways of calculating population growth; 1) the total of excess of births over deaths and net migration, or 2) the difference between the population on 1 January in year n+1 minus the population on 1 October (or 1 January in year n). Ideally the two methods should give the same result, but experience shows that there is always discrepancy between the two, due to revisions, annulments, delayed reports etc.

Statistical adjustments: Gives the difference between the two ways of calculating population growth, filling the gap between population growth as we calculate it, and (excess of births over deaths + net migration).

In all the quarterly statistics up to the fourth quarter of 2005 and all preliminary figures of change for the whole year up until and including 2004, the population growth has been calculated as the total of births over deaths and net migration, and provided a basis for preliminary population figures. The population on 1 April, 1 July and 1 October will continue to be calculated this way. Because preliminary figures have been replaced by final population figures as of 1 January 2006 the population growth for one year will be calculated as the population on 1 January in year n+1 minus the population in year n, and correspondingly the population growth for the fourth quarter will be calculated as the population on 1 January in year n+1 minus the population on 1 October.

Clearing-up in The Central Population Register: Persons who stay in the country for less than for six months are not registered and are not included in the figures. The Tax Administration undertakes an ongoing clear-up of the Central Population Register of out-migrated persons who no longer live in Norway. In recent years, clearing-up the Central Population Register has been standard practice.

Standard classifications

Country and citizenship in population statisticsMarital status, Municipalities

Administrative information

Regional level

The nation, county, municipality and basic statistical unit, but for quarterly statistic and estimated populaton regional level is national, county and municipality.

Frequency and timeliness

Annually. The quaterly statistic is published about 6 weeks after referencetime, which is 1 January, 1 April, 1 July and 1 October

International reporting

Not relevant


Data files at the individual level that are processed and stored long-term. The statistic about estimated population and the quaterly statistic are only stored on a short-term basis.


Background and purpose

The statistics show the composition of the population (by sex, age, marital status, and residence) over time.

Annual figures for the population by sex, age, marital status and citizenship can be found dating back to 1 January 1976, whereas corresponding figures without citizenship can be found from 1 January 1971. Earlier than that, figures exist from censuses held every ten years, as well as some estimated figures from the intervening years.

The statistic on the estimated population at the turn of the year have been in existence since 1970, but only for Norway as a whole. The first estimates at county and municipal level were created on 1 January 2000. The municipal figures are less certain than the county and national figures, and the estimated population in the smallest municipalities will be more uncertain than the estimates for larger municipalities.

The statistics on quarterly population changes show population changes over a shorter period of time. The changes include events such as births, deaths and migrations, in addition to a population count.

These statistics are connected to the annual statistics on population developments. Starting in 1951, Statistics Norway has produced yearly figures on such developments, based on population register material. We have compiled statistics on the quarterly changes (births, deaths, migrations, and population count) since 1974.

Users and applications

Public administration, research institutes, the insurance industry, the media and private persons

Equal treatment of users

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on ssb.no at 08 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given inthe Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

Coherence with other statistics

Population projections (prognoses)   Births   Deaths   Migrations   Internal migrations Immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents

Quarterly figures

Families and households

Cohabitant couples

Legal authority

§§ 2-1, 2-2, 3 – 2

EEA reference

Not relevant



Covers all persons registered as a resident of Norway on 1 January. Definition of the main terms. All figures cover the de jure population.

Persons having migrated to Norway to work for less than half a year are not included in the statistics, and persons having emigrated without having registered this, are likewise not included.

Quaterly statistic

In 1985-1999:

Statistics Norway looked at the population at the beginning and end of the quarter along with data for births deaths and migrations that had brought about this change in the population. The statistics were extracted one month after the turn of each quarter, so that as many events as possible were included in the calculations. Events that pertained to previous quarters in the same year were included in "events so far this year" and were also included in "the population at the beginning of the quarter". Events that pertained to previous years were normally not included in these statistics, but if they were included, it would be noted in a footnote.

Thus, in 1985-1999 the statistics included events that actually took place that year and not reports from previous years that arrived too late to be included in the statistics.

Quarterly figures as of 2000:

As of the first quarter of 2000, delayed reports were also included in the quarterly figures. In addition to events that actually took place in the releveant quarter, all reports received more than one month after the end of the quarter and which applied to events in previous years and previous quarters in the current year were included.

A result of this change was that the figures in the quarterly population statistics became more in line with later published population figures than previously published figures, as the register (DSF) is updated continuously, also with late reports.

Annual preliminary figures for population and figures of change to 2004:

From 2000 to 2004, a total for the four quarterly statistics has been published as preliminary annual figures for births, deaths, migration and population at the start of a new year until final figures have become available. Prior to 2000, corresponding preliminary figures were also published for the whole country, but these were not calculated as the total of the previously published figures for the first to the fourth quarter. The method was slightly different, as the figures published for the first quarter were published first. Later in the year, when figures for the second quarter were published, the figures for the first quarter were updated, and when figures for the third quarter were published, the second quarter figures were updated. Slik blei og tala for tredjekvartal enda meir oppdatert. The total of the fourth quarter and the updated figures for the first to the third quarter were published as preliminary figures for the whole year until 2000.

Final population figures and figures of change as of 2005:

The preliminary population figures at the end of last year and figures of change for 2005 and later years have been replaced by final figures because it is possible to carry out the necessary controls earlier than before.

The population growth from 2005 is set as equal to the difference between the population at 1 January 2006 and 1 January 2005. Correspondingly the population growth in the fourth quarter equals the population difference on 1 January 2006 and 1 January 2005. As preliminary population figures (also quarterly figures including the fourth quarter) were published previously, the population growth was calculated as the total of the excess of births and net immigration, which gave the basis for the preliminary population figures. All later population figures for 1 April, 1 July and 1 October will be calculated this way.)

The two estimation methods mentioned above should ideally give the same result, but based on previous experience there is always some discrepancy due to delayed reports, annulments, revisions etc.

Data sources and sampling

Since 1970 the statistics are based on population register data. Since 1946 each municipality has had a local population registry that registers all residents in the municipality, pursuant to the Population Registration Act and its regulations. In 2005, the work methods of the population registries were changed, and there are now 97 registries with responsibility for population registrations for several municipalities in each county. The population registries receive reports of births, deaths, marriages, divorces, migration etc. from various sources.

The register was built up from 1964 to 1966 on the basis of the 1960 census, at the same time as the 11-digit national identity number was introduced as identification. The Office of the National Registrar, which administrates the register, was transferred in 1991 from Statistics Norway to the Directorate of Taxes.

Updating of the Central Population Register is done in part by the local population registries, which are connected to the DSF via terminals, and in part by the Directorate of Taxes. The basis of the statistics on changes in the population is electronic copies to Statistics Norway of all such register updates. The reports are also used to update a separate Statistics Norway population database kept for statistical purposes, which forms the basis for the statistics on the composition of the population.

Collection of data, editing and estimations

From January 1998 electronic copies of reports have been transferred daily from the National Registration Office to Statistics Norway, Which was previously done monthly. Before May 1995 Statistics Norway received the reports on magnetic tape every month..

In addition to the checks made by the DSF, Statistics Norway performs checks for statistical purposes. For more details of our control routines in the various subject areas, see Interne dokumenter 11/2013 Uttak til befolkningsstatistikk fra populasjonsregisteret BeReg

Population (resident persons) are summed up to basic enumeration unit, partof town municipality level.

Seasonal adjustment

Not relevant


Not relevant

Comparability over time and space

Due to municipal mergers and divisions and redrawing of borders, it is not always possible to compare figures when, e.g., we want to prepare a time series for a municipality. The changes can also affect county borders and thus also the basis for comparison there.

Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

Some errors made during the collecting and processing of the data are unavoidable and include coding, revision and data processing errors etc. Extensive efforts have been made to minimize these errors, and we regard these types of errors to be relatively insignificant.

Dropout errors will be found to the extent there are persons staying in Norway not being registered as residents according to the regulations, laid down in the law on population registration of 16 January 1970. 

None because all the material rather than samples is used.

The quality of the basic data from the Central Population Register is generally very good for statistical purposes. One minus is nevertheless residence registration - in part because too many are registered as residents, but also because certain groups are registered as having another domicile than where they actually live. This is particularly true because according to the rules unmarried students are listed as residing with their parent(s).

Registration of residence From a statistical viewpoint, registration of residence can seem to be prone to error. This is particularly true in relation to the ideal situation in which everyone is registered according to the day's-rest principle. Failure to report a change of residence or delay the reporting of it also contributes to such deviations. For many analysis and planning purposes the actual residence is of interest.

A survey undertaken following the Population and Housing census in 1990 concluded that the registered residence was incorrect for 5.5 per cent of the population. Much of the deviation is due to the legal definition of residence used in the Central Population Register, which requires that students and residents of joint households to be registered somewhere else than the place they actually live. Using the place of residence definition, between 1.8 and 3.0 per cent of the people were incorrectly placed. Schjalm: "Kvalitetsundersøkelsen for Folke- og boligtelling 1990" (Quality survey for the Population and Housing Census 1990), Reports 96/10, Statistics Norway.

Out-registrations People who move abroad without reporting their departure have also been a major source of error in recent years. As a result of surveys conducted in 1993, nearly 3 000 foreign citizens who had left Norway earlier without reporting the move were registered as living abroad. Oslo was the most affected by these out-registrations (1 600 persons). Some of this out-migration should have been distributed over several years. Out-registration was also done in 1994, 1995, 1997 and 1998. Oslo registered almost 2 000 foreign citizens as having left the country in 1997 and 1998.

Despite the actions taken to remove from the rolls immigrants who have left the country without reporting their move to the population registries, there will always be a number of persons registered as residents of Norway even though they no longer live here.

Conversely, a number of people are living illegally in Norway at any one time and are therefore not included in the population count. Most of them live in Oslo. Because these two factors pull in opposite directions, they largely cancel each other out


Not relevant