Population;Population;Immigration and immigrants

Population and population change1 October 2001


About the statistics


Name and topic

Name: Population and population change
Topic: Population

Responsible division

Division for Population Statistics

Definitions of the main concepts and variables

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.

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 Because preliminary figures have been replaced by final population figures as of 1 January 2006 the population growth for one year will be calculated as the population on 1 January in year n+1 minus the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

Classification for country og citizenship in population statistic Classification for municipality

Administrative information

Regional level

The country, counties, municipalities

Frequency and timeliness

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

International reporting

Not relevant


The quarterly statistics contain aggregated data and are only stored for a shorter period of time. Annual population figures and final figures of change are stored for a longer period of time.


Background and purpose

The statistics shall, together with the other subject areas in population statistics, help show the changes that take place, changes that also have an effect on the composition of the population.

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

The statistics have a wide spectrum of users and applications, including institutes involved in researching demographics and living conditions, public administration, the mass media and private persons.

Coherence with other statistics

Quarterly figures are always given as preliminary figures, and are not revised the next quarter. Consequently, the quarterly statistics should not be added together to make an annual summary. There are final figures for the year in each area, see for example (click "In English" once you have opened the page)





Population changes in the municipalities since 1951

Legal authority

§§ 2-1, 2-2,3-2

EEA reference

Not relevant



All figures refer to persons registered as resident in Norway at the time of the event/count.

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

The statistics are based on population register data.

In 1946, local population registries were introduced in each municipality. The local population registry registered 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.

Since 1968, the register has provided a basis for the compilation of annual population and population structure statistics (quarterly statistics since 1974). Prior to 1968, the population was calculated based on population figures in the ten-year censuses, and figures for births, deaths and migration for the years inbetween.

The update of the Central Population Register is carried out partly by the local population registries and partly by the Directorate of Taxes. The basis for the statistics on population changes are electronic copies of reports sent to Statistics Norway. The reports are used to update a population database in Statistics Norway, which is the basis for the population statistics.

Collection of data, editing and estimations

In addition to the controls done by the DSF, Statistics Norway performs checks for statistical purposes. More detailed information about the controls that are done is given in the latest published documentation:  Uttak til befolkningsstatistikk fra populasjonsregisteret Bereg.

The population (resident persons), live births, deaths, in-migration and out-migratio are aggregated to municipal level.


Not relevant

Comparability over time and space

In all quarters in the period 1985-1999 the statistics included events that actually took place during the quarter/year and not reports from earlier quarters/years that arrived too late to be included in the statistics for the quarter/year the event actually took place. As of first quarter 2000 we include all reported events, even from previous quarters/years ("lag"). See also 3.1 Scope.

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. See Juvkam, Dag (1999): "Historisk oversikt over kommune- og fylkesinndelingen 1838-1996" (Historical Overview of Municipal and County Divisions 1838-1996; Norwegian only), Rapport 99/13, Statistics Norway

Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

Errors may occur, for instance coding errors, revision errors, data processing errors etc. Routines are in place to minimise such errors and Statistics Norway considers these to be of minor importance.