Reports 2008/51

Young people who have grown up in Norway with parents from Pakistan, Turkey or Vietnam

Living conditions of youth of immigrant origin

This report is based on interviews with 870 young people aged 16-25 who were either born in Norway or immigrated to Norway before the age of six, and both of whose parents were born in Pakistan, Turkey or Vietnam. Three out of four youth of the interviewees were born in Norway, while the rest immigrated before the age of six.

The report identifies differences in living conditions by national origin and by gender in the sample group, and compares the latter's living conditions with those of other youth in Norway and of older (first-generation) immigrants.

Youth of immigrant origin live with their parents to a greater degree than other young people, especially the oldest ones. Youth of Pakistani origin have the biggest households, but they also live in the largest dwellings. Cramped housing - although prevalent - is seldom perceived as a problem since only one out of ten thinks his or her home is too small. Only a minority would like to have many people of the same national origin as themselves in their neighbourhood, and three out of ten think that "a few people" would be ideal.

The percentage of married couples is higher – and the percentage of cohabitants is significantly lower – than among other youth. Almost one out of four youth of Turkish origin is married, compared with barely one out of eight of Pakistani origin and just one out of one hundred of Vietnamese origin. Two out of three of those who were married had a great deal of influence on their decision to marry. One out of five married youth has a spouse living abroad.

Youth of immigrant origin are just as active in jobs and/or education as other youth. Close to two out of three attend school or are students, women slightly outnumbering men, as is the case among other youth. The percentage of immigration origin youth who work is just as high as the percentage of other youth. The percentage who work is particularly high among youth of Turkish origin. There is a considerable gender disparity among working youth of Pakistani origin.

Youth of immigrant origin have fewer problems with household finances than other youth.

Youth of immigrant origin have just slightly poorer self-assessed health than other youth, but are more bothered by nervousness and melancholy. Older youth of immigrant origin are more likely to smoke than other young people, while the youngest are less likely to smoke.

Three out of ten have no good friends of Norwegian origin, and the percentage is lower among younger than older youth of immigrant origin. Fewer youth of immigrant origin lack friends of Norwegian origin than older immigrants. Loneliness is also less prevalent among young people of immigrant origin than among the parental generation. Youth of immigrant origin are neither more nor less lonely than other youth.

One out of three youth of immigrant origin watches a film or TV in his or her parents' mother tongue every day. When they read, the vast majority of them choose Norwegian books and newspapers.

Almost half say that religion is "extremely important in life". Among youth of Pakistani or Turkish origin, religion is at least as important for young people as it is for older immigrants. Young men of Pakistani origin are even more religiously active than older male Pakistani immigrants.

Two out of three young people of immigrant origin think they speak very good Norwegian. Most of them have a good command of their parents' mother tongue and some of them have a better command of the mother tongue than of Norwegian. Those who have spent long periods of time in the parental home country have poorer Norwegian language skills than others.

Almost half of the interviewees have felt that they were treated badly on account of their foreign origin in one area of society or another. On the whole, fewer youth of Vietnamese origin feel that they have been treated badly than youth of Pakistani or Turkish origin. Fewer women feel that they have been badly treated than men. More youth of Turkish origin feel discriminated against in the housing market than youth of Pakistani or Vietnamese origin. One out of four was of the opinion that discriminatory attitudes were one of the reasons for their not having a job. This is exactly the same percentage as among the rest of the immigrant population. Fewer youth of immigrant origin say that they have experienced differential treatment in the housing market than older immigrants.

A clear majority of youth of immigrant origin feel a considerable sense of belonging to Norway as a country. However, they do not feel any stronger sense of belonging to Norway than their parents' generation, and the sense of belonging is no stronger among older youth than among younger girls and boys. More than half of all young people of Pakistani origin have attended school in Pakistan, and one out of five has had at least one year of schooling there. One out of three is considering moving to his or her country of origin in the long term. The percentage is considerably lower than among older immigrants.

Project funding: The Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion, the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Health and Care Services, the Ministry of Children and Equality and the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development

About the publication


Living conditions of youth of immigrant origin. Young people who have grown up in Norway with parents from Pakistan, Turkey or Vietnam


Torkil Løwe

Series and number

Reports 2008/51


Statistisk sentralbyrå


Living conditions

ISBN (online)


ISBN (printed)




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About Reports

Analyses and annotated statistical results from various surveys are published in the series Reports. Surveys include sample surveys, censuses and register-based surveys.