Nature and the environment
arealsentrum, Activity in centre zones, central zones, city centre, urban settlement centres, companies with centre functions, residents, employeesArea , Nature and the environment

Activity in centre zones


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Key figures


square kilometres of centre zones in Norway

Centre zones by urban settlement population.
Number of centre zonesArea, square kilometresInhabitants per square kilometreEmployees per square kilometreBuisinesses per square kilometre
The whole country65848.96 854.917 573.92 651.9
Urban settlements with up to 1 999 residents802.41 003.37 152.51 173.8
.. 2 000 - 19 999 inhabitants22712.702 600.610 043.01 773.9
.. at least 20 000 inhabitants35133.88 878.921 161.23 089.2

See selected tables from this statistics

Table 1 
Statistics for the six municipalities with most centre zone area.

Statistics for the six municipalities with most centre zone area.
Number of centre zonesArea, square kilometresInhabitants per square kilometreEmployees per square kilometreBuisinesses per square kilometre
Total for the 6 municipalities117.017.012 859.524 242.03 571.8
Oslo6513.1315 121.225 251.23 930.8
Trondheim322.046 059.321 671.62 483.3
Stavanger201.783 970.219 743.82 171.3
Bærum (-2019)00.00...

Table 2 
Statistics for the 6 municipalities with the highest number of inhabitants in centre zones.

Statistics for the 6 municipalities with the highest number of inhabitants in centre zones.
Number of centre zonesNumber of inhabitantsInhabitants per square kilometreEmployees per inhabitantBuisinesses per inhabitant
Total for the 6 municipalities117.0217 969.012 859.51.90.3
Oslo65198 54115
Trondheim3212 3616
Stavanger207 0673 970.25.00.5

About the statistics

The statistics describe the density of inhabitants, employees and businesses in center zones, as well as Retail trade and service areas.


Definitions of the main concepts and variables

Statistics Norway's definition

1. A centre zone consists of one or more centre kernels and a 100-metre zone around them.

2. A centre kernel is an area with at least 4 different main types of economic activity with centre functions. In addition to detail trade, governmental administration or health and social services or social and personal services must be present. The distance among enterprises must not be more than 50 meters.

At least 50 employees, (in businesses with centre functions) in the centre zone.

Number of centre zones, area of centre zones. Attached statistics; number of enterprises, number of residents, number of employees.

Retail trade and service area is:

Areas with concentration of businesses of a selected set of industries. The selection is based on transport generating properties. The Retail trade and service area is delimitated just as the centre zones, but the maximum distance between businesses is 100 m. There is no criteria for diversity of industries either. It has, however, to be at least 3 businesses and at least 50 employees.


Standard classifications

Not relevant

Administrative information

Name and topic

Name: Activity in centre zones
Topic: Nature and the environment

Responsible division

Division for Housing, Property, Spatial and Agricultural Statistics

Regional level

Central business districts, urban settlements, municipalities, counties

Frequency and timeliness


International reporting

Not relevant


The base source for delimitation is statistical registers. The delimitations are downloadable on www.ssb.no .


Background and purpose

The purpose of the statistics is to follow the changes in the extension and land use of central business districts and to attach this to demographic and economical statistics concerning the central business districts. The work is based on the need for a uniform delimitation of central business districts as the "national policy guidelines for shopping centres outside central business districts" were passed, 8th of January 1999. An automatic method can secure the authorities standardised data for comparison, as well as providing planning authorities with data for statistical analysis.

The central business districts are modelled for the purpose of statistics, and must not be confused with the term central business district used in other settings.

Users and applications

The statistics is mainly used by civil administration (ministries, directorates, county- and municipality administrations) as well as for research purposes. Population in central business districts is used in a number of analyses as an important variable in social, environmental and demographic studies.

Equal treatment of users

Not relevant

Coherence with other statistics

00.00.20 Regional

Legal authority

Register information. Act concerning official statistics and the Central Bureau of Statistics § 3.2

EEA reference

Not relevant



The statistics comprises all Central business districts of Norway as defined by Statistics Norway with minimum 50 employees. In addition all retail trade and service areas.   

Data sources and sampling

Data sources are the National register of Ground, Addresses and Buildings and the Central Register of Establishment and enterprises as well as building outlines from the Common map data base and the land use map compiled by Statistics Norway.

Collection of data, editing and estimations

Based on registers and the use of GIS.

Data revised by owners of the registers, e.g. Statistics Norway and Norwegian Mapping Authorities.

Based on modelling. Where density and diversity of enterprises fulfils the definition, a centre zone is delimited.

Seasonal adjustment

Not relevant


Not relevant

Comparability over time and space

The delimitation is done by automatic routines using a geographical information system. The central business districts has been delimitated yearly since 2000. The method has been adjusted in 2015. Figures for 2014 has also been recalculated. New data for businesses from 2016 onwards makes a break in the series.

Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

Errors of registrations in the National register of Ground, Addresses and Buildings or the Central Register of Establishment and enterprises.

Not all the relevant enterprises are identified by coordinates and thus some centre zones may be omitted in the statistics.


Not relevant