High population growth in the future
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National population projections2009-2060



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High population growth in the future

The population of Norway is projected to rise considerably in the period 2009 to 2060. The most important reason for this is continued high immigration. The immigration surplus is expected to decline in the next few years. Slightly higher fertility and life expectancy is expected than in the previous projections, which were published in May 2008.

Population size 1950-2060

Population by age and sex projected to 2060

The projections show that the population size is going to increase during the next 51 years, from 4.8 million in 2009 to about 6.9 million in 2060. The degree of uncertainty is high, especially in connection with future immigration flows.

Alternative assumptions

The projections have been made on the basis of alternative assumptions about the projection components: fertility , life expectancy , internal migration (mobility) and net immigration . The assumptions have been named L (low), M (medium), H (high), K (constant, for life expectancy) and 0 (for internal migration and net immigration).

Number of persons 67 years and older

Life expectancy at birth

The main projection variant is called MMMM, meaning medium values for fertility, life expectancy, internal migration and net immigration. For the two variants yielding the highest and lowest growth, the values for all components have been chosen to either give low growth, as in LLML, or high growth, as in HHMH. It is, however, quite unlikely that the actual development will follow these rather extreme alternatives simultaneously for an extended period.

For internal migration, we are using only one set of migration rates since variations in net immigration have a stronger effect on local population growth than likely variations in the internal migration rates.

The population is going to be much older in the long run (see the graph and the population pyramid). The number of people aged 67 and over fell from a peak of 620 000 in 1995 to slightly more than 600 000 in 2004 because the new pensioners were born in the 1930s, when the number of births was low. The number of people aged 67 and over will increase fast, from 617 000 in 2009 to around 1.6 million in 2060 - or more than twice the current level.

We have assumed slightly higher fertility than in the previous projection, which was published in May 2008, due to an increasing trend, see the table.

Total fertility rate

Immigration, emigration and net immigration

Life expectancy at birth is assumed to increase from 78.3 years for men and 83.0 years for women in 2008, to between 84.0 and 90.2 years for men and between 87.1 and 93.4 years for women in 2060. This is based on the Lee-Carter model applied to observations for 1900-2008.

The rapid immigration growth in recent years is related to low unemployment and economic growth in Norway, and has been facilitated by the admittance of ten East European countries to the European Union in 2004 and 2007. Citizens of these countries can work and live here almost without restriction due to Norway’s membership in the EEA (European Economic Cooperation Area).

The recent financial crisis has led to increasing unemployment in Norway and lower demand for labour, especially in the construction sector. The net immigration has already peaked and is expected to fall rapidly in the coming years.

Assumptions behind the population projections 2009-2060
  Registered Alternatives
            L           M           H           K           0
Fertility. Total fertility rate (children per woman)            
2008 1.96          
2020-2060   1.6 1.9 2.1    
Life expectancy at birth (years): Men            
2008 78.31          
2060   84.0 87.1 90.2 78.3  
Life expectancy at birth (years): Women            
2007 82.95          
2060   87.1 90.3 93.4 83.0  
Net immigration per year (number)            
2008 43 300          
2009   28 000 40 000 43 500    
2010   22 500 36 000 42 000   0
2040-2060   10 000 19 000 32 000   0
Internal migration            
2009-2060: Migration pattern as in 2003-2008           0

More detailed figures are available at http://statbank.ssb.no/statistikkbanken/?PLanguage=1 . The next set of projections is expected to be published in June 2010.