More than half of single parents with small children are tenants


Approximately one in four Norwegian households rent their homes. It is most common to rent in the larger cities. Tenant rates are especially high among single parents and people living alone.

There are about 2.4 million households in Norway. Approximately 1.8 million own their dwellings, and 550 000 are tenants. A large majority of the owners own their dwelling as freeholders. All in all, 63 per cent of households are free owners and 14 per cent are part owners or shareholders.

The proportion of households renting has increased from 22.6 in 2015 to 23.1 per cent in 2017, and the greatest increase was among people living alone, single parents and economically disadvantaged groups. These are groups that already have a relatively high share of tenants.

High share of tenants among single parents

Single parents and one-person households have higher tenant rates than other households. A total of 51 per cent of single parents with small children and 25 per cent of single parents with older children rent. In comparison, 15 and 7 per cent of couples with children of the same age are tenants. A total of 37 per cent of people living alone rent.

Figure 1. Tenure status, by type of household

Freeholder Part owner /shareholder Tenant
Two or more-family households without resident children 51.1 11.4 37.5
Two or more-family households with children 80.1 8.9 11.0
One-family households with adult children 82.1 10.3 7.6
Lone parent with older children 58.4 16.2 25.4
Lone parent with small children 36.9 12.0 51.1
Couple with older children 85.4 7.3 7.3
Couple with small children 74.3 11.2 14.6
Couple without resident children 74.8 12.4 12.9
Living alone 44.0 18.8 37.2
All households 62.8 14.1 23.1

Almost one in three Oslo households rent

There is a lot of variation between Norwegian municipalities in the share of tenants. A large share of tenants lives in the large cities, but there are also relatively high shares of tenants in some smaller municipalities with a large student population.

Among the largest municipalities, Trondheim and Tromsø have the highest rental shares at 32 per cent. A total of 31 per cent of households rent in Oslo and 29 per cent in Bergen. The proportion is around 25 per cent in Stavanger, Kristiansand and Drammen, and around 20 per cent in Bærum, Fredrikstad and Sandefjord.

Many low-income households rent

There is a correlation between income and house ownership. The tenant share is 52 per cent among the quarter of households with the lowest income, compared to 7 per cent among the quarter of households with the highest Income.

There is less difference in the share of part owners or shareholders by income. A total of 35 per cent of the households with the lowest income own their dwelling as freeholders and 13 per cent as part owners or shareholders. The proportion is 82 and 11 per cent respectively for the households with the highest incomes.

Figure 2. Tenure status, by income quartile. Households

Tenant Part owner /shareholder Freeholder
Lowest income quartile 52.1 13.0 35.0
Second income quartile 21.8 17.0 61.2
Third income quartile 11.9 15.1 73.0
Highest income quartile 6.6 11.2 82.2

The share of home owners is also relatively low among recipients of dwelling support and social assistance, with 30 and 33 per cent respectively. The ownership rates are higher among all recipients of social security benefits, but nevertheless lower than among all households. A total of 61 per cent of social security recipients younger than 67 years are owners.

The ownership rate is relatively high among older recipients of social security benefits, but this is because most of the income among almost everyone over the age of 67 is in the form of a retirement pension. The numbers are therefore very similar to the ownership rates among the elderly in general.

Tenants have more crowded living conditions than owners. Fourteen per cent of tenant households live in crowded dwellings. The share is 4 per cent for freeholders and 7 per cent for part owners and shareholders. Previous research has shown that tenants in general have worse housing conditions than owners.

High rental shares among the young

The share of owners is higher among persons than households, as owner households are larger on average than tenant households. A total of 82 per cent of the population lives in a dwelling owned by them or a household member.

A relatively high share of children lives in an owned dwelling. The ownership shares are however lower among people in their 20s, which is when many move out of their parents’ home. A total of 63 per cent in this age group lives in a dwelling owned by a household member. The ownership rates then increase with age, and 90 per cent of persons between 50 and 79 are owners. The rate is somewhat lower among people who are 80 years or older