Poverty-related problems, survey on living conditions
Updated: April 21, 2021
Modified: May 12, 2021 8:00 AM
Next update: Not yet determined
About the statistics
The statistics cover poverty issues for various groups in the Norwegian population, such as financial difficulties and social and material deprivation. The data is based on the Survey on living conditions EU-SILC.
Material deprivation cover the populations ability to afford basic material goods:
Belong to a household not able to afford to keep the home adequately warm.
Belong to a household not able to afford a meal with meat, chicken or fish every second day. Or an equivalent vegetarian meal in the same price range.
Not able to afford dental care during the last 12 months.
Belong to a household not able to afford replacement of worn-out furniture.
Not able to afford internet connection. Including internet via mobile phone.
Not able to afford replacement of worn-out clothes.
Belong to a household not able to afford a car. Including company car for private use.
Not able to afford at least one material item: Not able to afford at least one of the seven aforementioned material items.
Belong to a household that does not own its own dwelling.
Social deprivation covers the populations ability to afford basic social goods.
Belong to a household not able to afford a one-week holiday during a year.
Not able to afford spending a small amount of money on one's self once a week.
Not able to afford to participate in regular leisure activities.
Not able to afford to meet with friends and family for a drink or meal at least once a month.
Not able to afford at least one social benefit: not able to afford at least one of the four aforementioned social benefit.
Financial difficulties cover the population's subjective description of their financial situation:
Belong to a household with difficulty or great difficulty making ends meet, based on the total income of all householdmembers.
Belong to a household not able to afford an unexpected expense of NOK 18 000 during a month.
From 2019 and onwards the threshold value for an unexpected expense is calculated as a ratio of the national at-risk-of-poverty threshold (EU-60) (60 percent of the median income/12). The threshold value for an unexpected expense was at NOK 10 000 in 2005-2017, at NOK 15 000 in 2018, and NOK 18 000 in 2019 and in 2020.
Belong to a household where repayment of debts on other loans (excluding mortgages) is a slight or heavy financial burden, based on the total income of the household.
Belong to a household unable to pay other loan repayments (excluding mortgage repayments) on time due to financial difficulties during the last 12 months. Proportion of those that own their dwelling.
Belong to a household with at least one debt in arrears due to financial difficulties during the last 12 months.
As well as their ability to cover housing costs:
Belong to a household with high housing costs: total housing expenditures amounts to more than 25 per cent of the households disposable income. Income information is collected from the income register.
Belong to a household where housing costs are a heavy financial burden, based on the total income of the household. Housing costs includes mortgage repayments, housing rent, electricity, local government fee and maintenance.
Belong to a household unable to pay housing costs on time due to financial difficulties during the last 12 months. Housing costs includes mortgage repayments, rent, electricity and local government fee.
Belong to a household unable to pay mortgage repayments on time due to financial difficulties during the last 12 months.
Persons are grouped by age at the beginning of the year for the completion of the main part of the interview.
Area of residence
Persons are grouped according to sparsely populated areas or densely populated areas of different size. 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 – of not more than 50 metres.
Family cycle phase
Persons are grouped mainly by age, marital status and whether the person has children. There is a distinction between singles and couples, where couples include both married couples and cohabitants. The concept “single person” does not necessarily refer to persons living alone in the household.
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.
Highest level of attained education divided into four levels: below upper secondary level, upper secondary level, short tertiary education and long tertiary education.
This variable covers the person's own perception of the main activity on the date of interview. This differs from the ILO definition, which has a predefined classification of economic status.
Working full time: includes employees and the self-employed
Working part time: includes employees and the self-employed
Student, pupil, further training, unpaid work experience: includes persons in vocational training and military service
Permanently disabled or/and unfit to work
Fulfilling domestic tasks and care responsibilities
Low income, EU: Belong to a household where after-tax income per consumption unit is below 60 per cent of the median income in the population.
After-tax income per consumption unit (equivalent income) is the household after-tax income "corrected" for differences in household size and household composition. When comparing the level of income and living standards for households of varying size, income is often adjusted with the help of equivalence scales or consumption units. An equivalence scale, for instance, provides an indication of how much income a household of four must have in order to achieve the same standard of living as a single person.
EU-equivalence scale: This is the ‘OECD-modified equivalence scale’ which assigns a value of 1 to the household head, of 0.5 to each additional adult member and of 0.3 to each child under the age of 17.
Median income is the exact income amount that splits a distribution in two equally sized groups, when income is sorted ascending (or descending). The number of persons with income over the median income will be the same as the number of persons with income under the median income.
Income quartiles: After-tax income per consumption unit sorted by income quartile.
Recipients of disability benefit: Receives disability pension from the social security system.
Single pensioner, receiver of the minimum state pension: People living alone and is a recipient of special allowance from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Organisation
Recipient of social assistance: Receivers of social assistance from the social security system.
Recipients of work assessment allowance: Receivers of work assessment allowance from the social security system.
Couples with children and low income (quintile 1):Couples with children aged 0-19 years where the equivalent after-tax income (EU-scale) is in the lowest quintile.
Division for income and living conditions statistics.
National and residential area.
The Survey of Living Conditions EU-SILC is carried out annually.
In 2011, the data collection of the national topics in the Survey on Living Conditions was merged 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). Cross-sectional and panel files are sent to Eurostat annually. EU-SILC microdata is available to researchers and students through Eurostat.
Data files with results from the interviews and statistical files with coded variables, linked information and weights are stored. Anonymised files are also available for researchers through the NSD - Norwegian Centre for Research Data.
The main purpose of the statistics on poverty-related problems from the survey on Living Conditions is to map the financial difficulties and material and social deprivation that are most common in Norway, as well as which groups are most at risk of poverty-related problems.
The source of the statistics on poverty-related problems is the Survey on Living Conditions, EU- SILC. The Survey on Living Conditions has two main purposes. One is to shed light on the main aspects of living conditions in the Norwegian population. The other is to monitor the developments in living conditions, both in terms of levels and distribution. Over a three-year period the survey covers all main areas of living conditions.
From 1973 to 1995, Statistics Norway carried out six general surveys named Surveys of Level of Living. These surveys included household economy, housing conditions, leisure activities, social relations, offences and fear of crime, health, care, education, employment and working conditions.
In 1996, a coordinated system of surveys was introduced. The system consisted of annual surveys with a set of rotating topics and an annual panel survey. Work environment was the theme in 1996, 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009. Housing, leisure activities and victims of crime were topics in 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2007. Health care and social relations were topics in 1998, 2002, 2005 and 2008.
A new system of surveys of living conditions was introduced in 2011. A key objective of the new system was to improve the harmonisation with international requirements connected to EU-SILC. To a large degree, the new system covers earlier topics, in addition to new themes that illuminate political participation, social networks and financial and social problems.
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.
Data from the survey is also widely used by the media and the general public.
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. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.
The statistics on Poverty-related problems covers some of the same indicators as the statistics on Housing conditions. The statistics on Income and wealth for households provide information on annual and persistent low income.
Information on wealth and income is retrieved from registry data. Furthermore, data on some demographic variables and data on education and social benefits are provided from registers.
Information on housing is also available from registers. The Survey of Consumer Expenditure also has issues on housing conditions, including 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 and provides information that supplements the information in the study of living conditions, e.g. training in the workplace, weekend work, working arrangements and the attachment of the disabled to the labour market. Some records, such as the employee/employer registry, sick leave registry etc. are also relevant. The information in these registers can also be utilised in the Survey on Living Conditions.
The Survey on Living Conditions, EU-SILC is a European sample survey on income, social inclusion and living conditions coordinated by Eurostat. Eurostat annually publishes the results from the survey on living conditions. It is thus possible to compare Norway to other European countries. http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/income-and-living-conditions/overview
The population is residents aged 16 years and over not living in institutions.
Data sources are interview data from representative sample surveys and various associated registries. The gross sample for the Survey on Living Conditions, EU-SILC comprises approximately 12 000 individuals. The sample is drawn according to the procedures for random selection.
Data collection is mainly done 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 mainly occurs 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.
Surveys that collect information on industry and occupation are encoded by Statistics Norway.
The sample consists of people. The analysis unit is primarily a person, but can in some cases be a household. Using the household as the unit of analysis requires the use of weights.
Statistics Norway has guidelines for merging data from different data sources (registers) for statistical purposes. The guidelines are based on Statistics Norway's authorisation given by The Norwegian Data Protection Authority, and the Statistics Act. According to these guidelines, responses given in surveys can only be used for the purpose of producing statistics, i.e. information concerning groups of people will be given, but not individuals. When survey data files are linked to registers, encryption techniques are used in order to ensure that persons cannot be identified from the survey or register information in the mergeddata file.
The gross sample for the survey is drawn in order to reflect the whole population, however, because non-response is not equally distributed, the net sample will not be fully representative. This bias will vary for the relevant groups and variables. In order to adjust for some of the biases, the data is weighted for gender, age, education and family size.
Uncertainty of data based on only a part of the population is often called sampling variance. The standard deviation is a measure of this uncertainty. The size of the standard deviation partly depends on the number of observations in the sample, and on the distribution of a variable in the whole population.
Statistics Norway has not made exact calculations of standard deviation of the data. However, in table 1, the approximate size of the standard deviation is given for a selection of 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 an observation on the whole population instead of an observation based on part of the population). Such intervals are called confidence intervals if constructed in a special way. In this connection, the following method can be applied: 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 an interval containing the true value, with approximately 95 per cent probability.
The following example illustrates the use of table 1 for finding confidence intervals: The estimate of standard deviation of 70 per cent 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.