Reports 2014/32

Immigrants and the 2013 Storting Election

This publication is in Norwegian only.

Open and read the publication in PDF (1.4 MB)

Immigrants and their Norwegian-born children account for a growing share of the Norwegian population entitled to vote. In the 2013 Storting election, 213 000 people with immigrant background were entitled to vote. This comprised 6 percent of all voters.

Constantly low turnout

In all elections since 1997 immigrants have had a lower turnout than what we find in the population as a whole. In the 2013 Storting election 78 percent of all voters in Norway participated. Among Norwegian citizens with immigrant background turnout was only 53 percent. Participation varies widely between different immigrant groups. Immigrants from Northern Europe and the United States have high participation, while immigrants from some countries in Asia and Africa, and particularly the Balkans, have very low participation. Of the countries outside Europe we find the highest turnout among those with a background from Sri Lanka, Somalia and Eritrea, all around 60 percent.

Higher turnout among the youngest

For the age group 18-25 years the voter turnout increased by 4 percentage points, compared to the 2009 election. This same increase among the young is also found in the population as a whole. We also see that for this age group Norwegian-born to immigrant have higher turnout than immigrants.

Higher participation among women, especially among women from Somalia

55 percent of women with immigrant backgrounds participated in the election, compared to 50 percent of men. The differences between the sexes are particularly large for some country backgrounds. For instance, among immigrants from Somalia 66 percent of women participated, compared to only 51 percent of men.

Immigrants with high education and high employment rates also have high turnout

Both education and employment seem to influence whether a person participates in the election or not, and especially education has a great effect. Nearly 70 percent of those in the sample with tertiary education voted, while among those with primary level education, the turnout was 20 percentage points lower. Looking at employment, 60 percent of immigrants who were employed participated, while voter turnout for those who were not employed was below 50 percent.

Length of residence does not influence voter participation to the same degree as before

In previous elections, there was a clear difference between those with the shortest and longest period of residence. For the last two general elections, we see that the difference between those with the shortest and longest residence time has been reduced. In 2013, the group with the shortest residence time (0-9 years) had higher turnout than subsequent groups with longer residence time (10-29 years). This is a result that breaks with previous findings.

Immigrants vote on parties to the left of the political spectrum, and then primarily the Labour Party. At last year's election 55 percent of those with an immigrant background voted for the Labour Party. The Conservative Party got 26 percent of the votes, about the same level of support as the party won in the general population. Compared to earlier elections this is a significant increase for the Conservatives.

Read more about the publication