Population;Population;Immigration and immigrants

Immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents1 January 2011


About the statistics


Name and topic

Name: Immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents
Topic: Population

Next release

Responsible division

Division for Population Statistics

Definitions of the main concepts and variables

For more information (in Norwegian), see subchapter 1.4 in this report.

Immigrants are persons born abroad of two foreign-born parents and four foreign-born grandparents.

Norwegian-born to Immigrant Parents are born in Norway of two parents born abroad and in addition have four grandparents born abroad.

Country of Birth is mainly the mother's place of residence at the time she is giving birth.

Country Background is constructed on the basis of information about the country of birth for three generations and refers to private, or mother's, or father's, or grandparents' foreign country of birth. For people born abroad this is (with few exceptions) their own native land. For people born in Norway this is their parents' country of birth. In cases where the parents have different countries of birth, the mother's country of birth is chosen.

Age, Citizenship and Period of Residence takes values the date on which the statistics are extracted. Period of Residence is stated in whole years.

Standard classifications

Statistics Norway's use of terms in immigrant-related statistics is taken from The Statistical Standard for Classification of Persons by Immigration Background.

The following headings are used for grouping of persons with different immigrant background:

Born in Norway to Norwegian-born Parents


Norwegian-born to Immigrant Parents

Foreign-born with one Norwegian-born Parent

Norwegian-born with One Foreign-born Parent

Foreign-born to Norwegian-born Parents (included intercountry adoptions)

People who do not belong to the group "Immigrants" or "Norwegian-born to Immigrant parents" are referred to as "The General Population". The term can only be used when referring to the other categories.

Country Groupings:

Follows The Standard for Classification of Countries and Citizenships in Population Statistics.

Administrative information

Regional level

The nation, county and municipality

Frequency and timeliness


International reporting

Not relevant


Files with data at the individual level are processed and stored long term.


Background and purpose

Together with population statistics in other subject areas, the statistics helps showing changes taking place that affect the composition of the population.

In 1991 the former Ministry of Local Government and Labour (KAD) and Statistics Norway joined forces to prepare statistics on immigrants, giving rise to the Immigrant Statistics Project. Until 1996 the project was headed by a steering committee with participants from KAD, the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration and Statistics Norway.

Users and applications

The statistics have a broad range of users and applications such as research institutes, public administration, press, broadcasting, 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 in the Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

Coherence with other statistics

Statistics on the immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents show population numbers. The area is clearly connected with migration statistics. Immigration and emigration numbers can be found in the Migration Statistics for each calendar year.

The Quarterly Migration Statistics should also be mentioned. These numbers are provisional, but provide a picture of the changes taking place.

People immigrate on different bases, some are refugees and others have immigrated because of work, education, family or otherwise. For statistics on this, see Immigrants by Reason for Immigration.

Legal authority

§§ 2-1, 2-2, 3-2.

EEA reference

Not relevant



Covers all persons who neither have parents nor grandparents born in Norway registered as a resident of Norway on 1 January (for more about the definition resident, read below the point “Definitions”, here).

Asylum seekers and persons on short-term stays (less than six months) are not registered as residents in the population register and thus not included in the statistics.

Data sources and sampling

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. The population registries receive reports of births, deaths, marriages, divorces, migration etc. from various sources.

The National Population 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 register contained everyone included in the population census and subsequently everyone who has lived in Norway since 1 October 1964. In 1995 the Central Population Register (CPR) at the Directorate of Taxes took over as the official register. The Central Office of the National Registry was transferred from Statistics Norway (SSB) to the Directorate of Taxes in 1991.

Collection of data, editing and estimations

The updates in the CPR are done by the local population registry offices and the Tax Administration, and updates SSB’s own population database daily. Before January 1998, updates were done monthly. Before May 1995 SSB received messages on tape.

In addition to the checks made by the CPR, Statistics Norway performs checks for statistical purposes.

Seasonal adjustment

The numbers in this production are not seasonally adjusted.


If a number in a table consists of three or fewer units and disclosing these units can lead to identification of individuals, the number is rounded up or the table cell left empty.

Comparability over time and space

Time: The numbers are comparable from 1995, the first year the statistics were released.

Place: Statistics Norway provides statistics for each municipality. Because the mass is small, numbers are less useful in analyses of the smallest geographical levels.

In many municipalities, particularly the small, numbers can vary widely from year to year, often due to the localization of the reception centers.

Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

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

Persons without legal residence in Norway are omitted. Estimates of this group's size are very uncertain. The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration and Oxford Research AS estimated in 2014 that between 18,100 and 56,000 people are staying illegally in Norway. More on this (in Norwegian) in Chap. 6 in the report A Marginal Problem?  

The quality of the data from the National Population Register is generally very good for statistical purposes. Two objections are nevertheless delayed messages and registration of residence. Delayed messages cause events to be recorded and counted in the wrong calendar year. This becomes less problematic when one adds numbers over several years.

When a person who is registered as resident in Norway will move abroad, he must report the move to the Population Register. Some people fail to do that.


Not relevant