Reports 2018/29

Adult refugees without education and with primary and lower secondary education

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This report looks at adult refugees, who had low education (primary education or lower secondary education), no education or missing information about their education when they came to Norway. Those having a family connection to a refugee, are also included, and this group accounts for around 30 per cent of the population in this report. In the period 1990-2010, 47 600 people with refugee background aged 18 years or older and with low/no/missing education came to Norway. They represent about 61 per cent of all people with refugee background aged 18 or older. One third of the population analysed in the report has missing information about their education. Among those with registered low education level, people with lower secondary education are the biggest Group.

The aim of this report is twofold. Firstly, it gives a description on the demographics of people with refugee background with low/no/missing education who came to Norway in the period of 1990-2010, and who are still residents in 2015. Around half of the people with refugee background with registered low education lever are women. The majority come from Africa and Asia, and more than half of them are younger than 30 years.

Secondly, the report analyses the situation of people with refugee background 5, 10 and 15 years after they came to Norway. The employment rate (persons who performed work of at least one hour in the reference week divided by the whole group) among those with low or no education is between 36 and 51 per cent both after 5, 10 and 15 years duration of residence. This group has a lower employment rate compared to the other adult population (15-74 years), where the employment rate is 69 percent in the period 2009-2014. People younger than 30 years stand out in having the highest rate of employment/in education among those with low or no education, about 60 percent. Residence time also affects if a person works full time (30 hours or more) or part time. After 5 years of residence the share of employees working full time is around 60 per cent, which is about ten percentage points of the total population. After 15 years of residence the share of those working full time is about the same as the total population.

Between 9 and 16 per cent of the people with refugee background with low or no education are enrolled in education 5 years after they were registered as residents. With increased duration of residence, the share of those taking higher education increases, from 22 per cent after 5 years to 50 per cent after 15 years of residence. As many take education, the highest completed education level also increases for people with refugee background.

The report also analyses the economic situation of the population after 5, 10 and 15 years duration of residence. The total income of the population increases with residence time. People with registered low education level who came in the period 2000-2004 had a total median income of 318 000 kroner 10 years after coming (2015 prices). People with refugee background have generally a lower total income compared to the total population and are to a larger extent dependent on public transfers. Even if income from work accounts for 80 per cent of the income of persons with registered low education being employed/in education 10 and 15 years after settling, transfers account for a larger share of their income compared to the entire population of employed. Those not being employed/in education have a lower income compared to those being employed/in education. Different kinds of transfers are their main source of income, and account for 85 per cent of their total income 5, 10 and 15 years after settling. Which transfers are the main income source, varies over time, and reflects changes in the life situation of people with refugee background.


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