One in four are cohabitants
samboer, Cohabitants, cohabitation, share of cohabitants, share of married persons, share of single persons, live-in relationshipChildren, families and households, Population




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One in four are cohabitants

Nearly 70 per cent of persons between 16-79 years are in a live-in relationship in Norway. One out of four couples are cohabitants, and the rest are married. As a proportion of everyone either in or not in a live-in relationship, 18 per cent are cohabitants and 49 per cent are married.

Proportion of cohabitants in different age groups. Per cent
20-24 years25223025
25-29 years35394039
30-34 years24303136
35-39 years15202429
40-44 years10162022
45-49 years8111621
50-54 years681015
55-59 years47810
60-69 years3467
70-79 years1224

The share of cohabitants seen in relation to the share who are married has increased gradually since the 1980s. In the first half of the 1990s, 20 per cent of those in a live-in relationship were cohabitants. Today this is about 25-30 per cent. In the age group 16-29 years, the share of cohabitants is higher than the share of married couples. This figure is reversed from the age of 30. Among the youngest group, the under 25s, the share of cohabitants has seen little change since the first half of the 1990s. The share of cohabitants has increased mostly among the age group 35-39 years.

The share of cohabitants is highest for both males and females in the age group 25-29 years. More than 45 per cent of females in this age group say they are cohabitants. For males this share is lower, at 36 per cent. From 35 years of age, the share of cohabitants decreases gradually for each age group. Among those in the age group 70-79 years, the share of cohabitants is three per cent, while 70 per cent are married.

Based on data from interviews, the total number of cohabitants is estimated at about 700 000, i.e. 350 000 cohabiting couples. This figure is higher than the 315 000 cohabiting couples quoted in the statistics on families, which are based on a register.


More cohabitants when using interview dataOpen and readClose

Whether a person is defined as a cohabitant or not depends on the answer the person gives to this question. In register-based statistics, a couple has to be registered at the same legal residence address to be defined as cohabitants. Experience shows that statistics based on registers and legal residence address result in fewer cohabiting couples than statistics from surveys based on interviews and place of usual residence.

About the statistics sourceOpen and readClose

The Population register in combination with the travel survey.

The Travel survey is the source for these figures, and it is carried out among 8 000 Norwegians between 16 and 79 years of age, according to Statistics Norway's standard sample procedure.