Housing conditions, survey on living conditions

Updated: 28 November 2018


Next update: Not yet determined

Yearly average housing expenses
Yearly average housing expenses
95 762

About the statistics

The statistics cover housing conditions for persons and households. This includes tenure status, size, type and standard of housing, housing neighborhood, and housing costs. The data is based on the Norwegian Survey of living conditions EU-SILC (Norwegian national modules in addition to the EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions SILC).

The variables are mostly based on self-reported information. If variables are based on register data this is specified.

A household consists of all persons living in the same dwelling who also share a meal budget.

Dwelling: A dwelling is defined as one or more rooms that has been built or rebuilt for the purpose of being used as a round-the-year dwelling for one or more persons. It must be possible to have access to the room(s) without having to go through another dwelling. Both dwelling units and single rooms are counted as dwellings. A dwelling unit is a conventional dwelling with at least one room and kitchen. Single rooms are living quarters with a separate entrance and with access to water and toilet outside other living quarters.

Semi-detached or attached house covers semi-detached houses/duplex houses (both horizontally and vertically divided), triplex, quadruplex and attached row/linked/terraced houses.

Vertically divided semi-detached or attached house covers semi-detached or attached houses that are vertically divided, e.g. attached row/linked/terraced houses.

Horizontally divided semi-detached or attached house covers semi-detached or attached houses that are horizontally divided, e.g. duplex, triplex, quadruplex.

Apartment/multi-unit building covers multi-unit housing like apartment buildings.

Own their dwelling covers persons who own their dwelling as freeholders, and persons who own their dwelling as part-/shareholder housing cooperative or through housing stock company (commonhold/condominium ownership).

Owns cottage. Owns cottage or holiday home alone or with others.

Live in crowded dwelling. A person lives in a crowded dwelling if a household of one person lives in a dwelling with one room, or if a household of two or more persons lives in a dwelling with fewer rooms than the number of persons in the household. Kitchen, bathroom, hall and rooms less than six square meters are not counted as rooms.

Live in very spacious dwelling. A person lives in a very spacious dwelling if there are at least three rooms more in the dwelling than the number of persons in the household.

Experience lack of space. Persons who find their dwelling too small.

Dwelling has rot and/or moisture problems. Live in a dwelling with leaking roof, damp walls/floors or rot in windows or floors.

Living area is defined as the total area inside the outer walls of the dwelling. In cellars or attics only rooms meant for living are counted (not storage space or unfurnished rooms).

Access to a safe area for play or recreation. Access to an area within 200 meters from the dwelling that is at least 5000 sqm and that can be used for play or recreation. Further it is considered that access to the area is safe for all members of the household.

Access to a nearby area for a recreational walk. This is an area within 500 meters from the dwelling that can be used for walking/hiking and other outdoor activities.

Area considered unsafe for small children because of traffic. Because of the traffic outside the house it is considered that a five-year-old child should absolutely not or rather not be left alone outside the house.

Subjected to dust, smell or other pollution. Have problems with dust, smell or other pollution from traffic, industry or companies in the nearby area of dwelling, and find the pollution highly or somewhat annoying.

Subjected to noise nuisance inside dwelling, coming from outside. Have problems with noise from neighbors or other noise when inside the dwelling, and find the noise nuisance highly or somewhat annoying.

Subjected to noise nuisance outside dwelling. Report somewhat or highly annoying noise from street or road, from airplanes, companies or building and construction works, when outside the dwelling.

All rooms in dwelling accessible for wheelchair users. Doorway to hall, bathroom and WC, living room, sleeping room and kitchen is at least 80 cm wide and the door sill is maximum 2,5 cm tall.

Dwelling is difficult to access for users of wheel chair. Stairs with more than three steps, steep access or other obstacles that make it difficult for a user of a wheel chair to come from a parking place to the entrance to the house.

Rent, average for tenants. Average yearly amount spent on rent for tenants. Tenants renting for free are also included in the calculation of this average.

Average housing expenditure on mortgage and rent. Includes interest and instalment for home owners with mortgage, rent or joint expenses for tenants and commonhold owners, included expenses for garage, joint laundry and so on. Expenses for heating and electricity are excluded if possible.

Low share of housing expenditures. Total housing expenditures amounts to less than 10 per cent of the household’s disposable income. Income information is collected from the Norwegian income register.

High share of housing expenditures. Total housing expenditures amounts to more than 25 per cent of the household’s disposable income. Income information is collected from the Norwegian income register.

Total housing costs. Total amount for different items connected to housing costs. Includes annual amount spent on rent for tenants, joint expenses for part or shareholder owners, interest on mortgage (installments not included), home insurance, municipal taxes, electricity and fuel and maintenance.

Experience the total housing costs as very burdensome. Persons who find their total housing costs very burdensome, when referring to total housing costs as defined above, but including installments.

Average rental income. Average annual income for households renting out a room with mutual entrance or households renting out an apartment with separate entrance.


Persons are grouped by their age at the start of the year-end for the completion of the main part of the interview in which the interviews were conducted.

Area of residence

Persons are grouped according to sparsely populated areas or densely populated areas of different sizes. Sparsely populated areas include clusters of houses with less than 200 inhabitants. Densely populated areas include areas with 200 inhabitants or more, and a distance between houses - as a main rule - not more than 50 meters. Densely populated areas are further divided into three groups based on population (below 20 000 inhabitants, 20 000-99 999, and above 100 000 inhabitants).


The regions include the following counties:

Oslo and Akershus

Eastern Norway excluding Oslo and Akershus: Østfold, Vestfold, Hedmark, Oppland, Buskerud and Telemark

Agder and Rogaland: Aust-Agder, Vest-Agder and Rogaland

Western Norway: Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane, Møre and Romsdal

Trøndelag: Sør-Trøndelag and Nord-Trøndelag

Northern Norway: Nordland, Troms and Finnmark.

Family cycle phase

Persons are grouped by which phase of the family cycle they belong to, and this is based on the person’s age, marital status (single/in couple) and whether the person has children, and the youngest child’s age. The concept single persons do not necessarily refer to persons living alone in their household, but rather persons not living in a relationship (they can still live with others, as their parents or their children). Persons in a couple includes both married and unmarried couples. The groups with children consist of persons living with their own child(ren) (including stepchildren and adopted children) aged 0-19 years in the household.

Family cycle phase is similar to Household type (defined below), but differs from it in that Family cycle phase categorizes persons, whereas Household type categorizes households.


The respondents' education level.

Below upper secondary level

Upper secondary level

Higher education, undergraduate degree

Higher education, graduate degree or higher

Type of household 1 (Norway’s national categorization of households)

In household type 1, households are categorized by whether there is a person (lone adult) or a couple in the household (married or cohabitant), and if the person or couple is living together with children in the age of 0-6 and 7-19 years old. Persons and couples without children are grouped by the age of the respondent. Persons and couples with children are grouped by the age of their youngest child. These household types are mutually exclusive, which means that the same household cannot belong to more than one household group. (See definitions for the definition of Household).

Single people aging from 16 - 44

Mid- aged singles 45-66 years

Elderly singles 67 years and more

Young couples with no children, 16-44 years

Mid- aged couples with no children, 45-66 years

Elderly couples with no children, 67 years and more

Couples with children ageing 0 - 6

Couples with children ageing 7 - 19

Couples with children ageing 20+

Single parents with children ageing from 0 - 19

Not classified, others

Household type is similar to Family cycle phase (defined above), but differs from it in that Household type categorizes households, whereas Family cycle phase categorizes persons.

Type of household 2 (Eurostat’s categorization of households)

In household type 2, households are categorized by age, gender, number of adults and number of dependent children in the household. Dependent children are defined as all children of age 0-17 in the household, and economically inactive persons of age 18-24 who lives with at least one of the parents. Economic activity is based on self defined status at the time of the interview. All persons not reporting working part-time or full-time are defined as economic inactive (see Economic status). These household types are not mutually exclusive, which means that the same household may belong to several household types. (See definitions for the definition of Household).

All households without dependent children

Single person household

One adult male

One adult female

One adult aged between 0 and 64 years

One adult older than 65 years

Two adults, no dependent children, younger than 65 years

Two adults, no dependent children, at least one aged 65 years and over

Three or more adults, no dependent children

All households with dependent children

Single parent with a least one dependent child

Two adults with one dependent child

Two adults with two dependent children

Two adults with three or more dependent children

Three or more adults with dependent children

Household type is similar to Family cycle phase (defined above), but differs from it in that Household type categorizes households, whereas Family cycle phase categorizes persons.

Economic status

This variable covers the person's own perception of the main activity on the date of the interview. This differs from the definition of ILO (International Labour Organization), which has a predefined classification of economic status.

Working full-time: employees and self-employed

Working part-time: employees and self-employed


Student, pupil, further training, unpaid work experience: includes persons in vocational training and military service

In retirement

Permanently disabled and/or unfit to work

Fulfilling domestic tasks and care responsibilities

Work intensity

Work intensity is the degree of work participation of a household. It is calculated as the ratio of the total number of months the working-age household members (16 years and older) have worked or studied during the income year and the total number of months the same household members theoretically could have worked or studied during the same period. The result will be in the ratio 0 to 1, where 1 means that all members of the household are working or studying during all the months they theoretically could have, and 0 means that none of the household members are working during all the months they theoretically could have. Households are further placed into one of four groups based on their work intensity (0-0,24, 0,25-0,49, 0,5-0,74, and 0,75-1,0).

Name: Housing conditions, survey on living conditions
Topic: Construction, housing and property

Not yet determined

Division for Income and social welfare statistics

Nationally representative. Results can be divided by county (as defined above in Region) and by population density (as defined above in Area of residence).

The survey on housing conditions is part of the Norwegian Survey of Living Conditions EU-SILC. From 2011 onwards the survey has consisted of a set of core questions that is repeated annually, and theme sections with rotating topics that are repeated in a cycle of three years. The annual set of core questions covers household, housing, economy, health and employment. The theme section this year covers housing and housing conditions, and fear of crime. The two other theme sections are: Sport and physical activity (repeated next in 2019), and Outdoor activities, organizational activity, political participation and social networks (repeated next in 2020). In addition to the annual core questions and the rotating themes, separate surveys of Health, care and social relations and Work and working conditions are repeated every three years. See “Background and purpose” for more information on the Survey of Living Conditions EU-SILC.

The Norwegian Survey of Living Conditions EU-SILC is coordinated with the Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). EU-SILC is a European sample survey of income, social exclusion and living conditions that is coordinated through the EU's statistics agency Eurostat, and anchored in the European Statistical System (ESS).

The Norwegian Survey of Living Conditions EU-SILC consists both of questions from EU-SILC that is collected throughout Europe, in addition to national modules (described above in the section “Frequency and timeliness”). Data from the EU-SILC questions is sent to Eurostat annually. Microdata on EU-SILC is made available for researchers and students through Eurostat. This includes cross-sectional and panel data.

Data files with results from the interviews and statistical files with coded variables, linked information and weights are stored. Anonymized files are also available for researchers through the Norwegian Centre for Research Data (Norsk senter for forskningsdata - NSD).


The Norwegian Survey of Living Conditions EU-SILC will give insight into the main aspects of and differences in living conditions, and follow their development over time. The Norwegian Survey of Living Conditions EU-SILC will over a 3-year period be able to cover the major aspects of living conditions in the Norwegian population (when including the separate surveys of working conditions and health care and social contact as described in the section “Frequency and timeliness”).


The first surveys of living conditions in Norway were conducted six times between 1973 and 1995. These surveys shed light on the general components of living conditions; economics, housing conditions, leisure, social contact, health, education, employment and working conditions.

In 1996 a coordinated system of surveys was introduced. The system consisted of annual surveys with a repeating panel survey (EU-SILC from 2003) and a set of national rotating topics repeated every three years. The rotating topics were Work, Housing, leisure activities and victims of crime, Health care and social relations.

In 2011 the present system for surveying living conditions was introduced. A key objective of the new system was better coordination with international requirements connected to EU-SILC. National themes were coordinated with the European EU-SILC. The new system covers the presented topics from previous living condition surveys, in addition to new themes to illuminate political participation, social networks and economic and social problems.

In addition to the regular surveys of living conditions, Statistics Norway can on commission conduct individual surveys among selected groups.

The main users are government ministries, directorates, and research communities in the areas of working environment, health care, housing, leisure and local environment and living conditions in general.

Apart from this the statistics serve as a basis for information to the media and others interested in the state and development of living conditions.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on ssb.no at 08:00 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar.

The concept of living conditions covers a very wide range of topics. Statistics on living conditions are therefore associated with many other statistics.

Information on housing is also available from the Register-based housing conditions statistics. The register-based statistics makes it possible to look at geographical areas in more detail, but includes fewer variables and less information. The Survey of Consumer Expenditure has also issues on housing conditions, among other things a more detailed summary of most kinds of housing expenditures.

Information on employment is collected from several sources. The Labour Force Survey is an important source which provides some information that supplements the information from the Survey of Living Conditions, e.g. on training, work schedule (weekend work), and the workforce participation among disabled people. Some registers like the employee/employer registry, sick leave registry etc., are also relevant. The information in these registers can also be utilized in the Survey of Living Conditions EU-SILC.

Income and wealth are added from the register information in the Income and wealth statistics. Some demographical information is also used, on education and social benefits.

Voluntary survey.


The population is Norwegian residents aged 16 years and above not living in institutions.

Data sources are interview data from the annual representative sample survey Survey of Living Conditions EU-SILC, and various attached register information.

The net sample in the annual Survey of Living Conditions EU-SILC is made up of about 11,500 people.

The sample is drawn according to the procedures for random selection.

Data collection is mainly conducted by telephone (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview CATI) and in some cases the interviewer visits the interviewee (Computer Assisted Personal Interview CAPI). Data collection for the Survey of Living Conditions EU-SILC occurs mainly from January to May in the year of interview.

The interview takes place using a computer-based questionnaire. The questionnaire includes various controls to prevent incorrect answers or registration errors during the interview. In some cases, the interviewer receives warnings for the registered response. In other cases, there is a limit on values that cannot be exceeded. Moreover, it verifies that only valid codes are recorded.

In surveys where industry and occupation are collected, these are encoded by Statistics Norway.

The sample consists of persons. Analysis unit is primarily person, but in some cases household. Using the household as the unit of analysis requires the use of weights (read more about weights in the section on Accuracy and reliability).

Not relevant
Not relevant

The housing conditions section of the Survey of Living Conditions EU-SILC is partly based on earlier surveys on housing conditions. The first was conducted in 1967, followed by similar surveys in 1973, 1981, 1988 and 1995. Some time series can also be traced back to the general living conditions surveys in 1980-1995.

Non-response errors

The gross sample is drawn to be representative for the Norwegian population (aged 16 years and above), and consists of about 11 500 persons annually.

Not all persons in the gross sample participates in the survey. The persons who does not participate represent a non-response group in the sample. Because non-response differs unequally in different groups, the net sample will not be fully representative for the Norwegian population. This bias will vary for different groups and variables in question.

To adjust for some of the biases in the net sample, figures in the tables are weighted. The following variables are included in the weighting for non-response: Gender, age, education and family size.

Sampling errors

The uncertainty of findings based on a sample from the population is often called sampling variance. The standard deviation is a measure of this uncertainty. The size of the standard deviation depends, among other factors, on the number of observations in the sample, and on the distribution of the current variable in the whole population.

Statistics Norway has not made exact calculations to compute standard deviation for the findings. However, in table 1, the approximate size of standard deviation is given for observed percentages.

To illustrate the uncertainty associated with a percentage, we can use an interval to give the level of the true value of an estimated quantity (the value obtained if making observation on the whole population instead of observation based on a part of the population). Such intervals are called confidence intervals if constructed in a special way. In this connection one can use the following method: let M be the estimated quantity, and S the estimate of standard deviation of M. The confidence interval will be an interval with limits (M - 2*S) and (M + 2*S).

This method will give, with approximately 95 per cent probability, an interval containing the true value.

The following example illustrates the use of table 1 for finding confidence intervals: The estimate of standard deviation of 70 percent is 3.2 when the estimate is based on 300 observations. The confidence interval for the true value has limits 70 ± 2*3.2, which means the interval, is from 63.6 to 76.4 per cent.

Table 1. Standarddeviation in per cent

Not relevant


Madeleine Elisabeth Schlyter Oppøyen


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