Population density increases with size of urban area


The density of residents, employees and businesses in centre zones is higher in large urban settlements.

In 2017, Norway’s centre zones have more than twice as many employees than residents, with an approximated average of 6 700 inhabitants and 16 500 employees per km².

More businesses per square kilometre

Centre zones of large cities have several times the number of residents and employees per km² than centre zones of smaller towns. In urban settlements with more than 20 000 inhabitants, centre zones have an average density of 19 300 employees and 8 800 residents per km². In urban settlements with up to 1 999 inhabitants, these numbers decrease to about 6 700 employees and 1 000 residents per km². In every size range of urban settlements in this analysis, there are more than twice as many employees as residents per km² in centre zones.

As with the density of residents and employees, the density of businesses is also higher in centre zones of larger cities. In fact, the average density of businesses per km² of centre zones in urban settlements with a population exceeding 20 000, is eighty percent higher than the average density calculated for urban settlements with a population smaller than 20 000.

Figure 1. Center zones, by urban settlement population

Inhabitants per square kilometer Employees per square kilometer Buisinesses per square kilometerant
The whole country 6593.00 16786.20 2605.60
Urban settlements with up to 1999 residents 974.70 7359.60 1132.00
.. 2000 - 19999 inhabitants 2455.10 10867.20 1825.40
.. at least 20000 inhabitants 8650.40 19825.60 3022.30

Centre zones and urban settlements

It is a political goal to optimise the use of urban areas in order to ease the pressure on the surrounding undeveloped land whilst also minimising the need for transport. In that context, it is worth mentioning that only 3 out of 641 centre zones appear outside areas defined as urban settlements. These measure 0.2 km² in total, and have no inhabitants.