Low turnout among immigrant voters at general election
Elections;Immigration and immigrants
vundinnv, Storting election survey among immigrants, electoral turnout, voters with immigrant backgroundsGeneral elections, Elections, Elections, Immigration and immigrants

Storting election survey among immigrants2013



Low turnout among immigrant voters at general election

Fifty-three per cent of Norwegian citizens with an immigrant background (immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents) participated in the general election last year. Women had a higher turnout than men, and participation among the youngest group was higher than in the 2009 election.

Storting Election. Electoral turnout in per cent among the sample of Immigrants and Norwegian- born to immigrants with Norwegian citizenship. By country background and sex. Per Cent
Both sexesMalesFemales
The Nordic countries797482
Western Europe767676
Eastern Europe474549
North-America and Oceania646067
Asia including Turkey, Africa, South- and Central America514953

The electoral turnout at last year’s general election was 78 per cent. The turnout among those with an immigrant background was much lower, with just 53 per cent; a difference of 25 percentage points. The turnout in previous elections has also been much lower among persons with an immigrant background than in the general population. Participation among Norwegian citizens with an immigrant background has remained stable at around 50 per cent in the last four general elections.

Voter turnout varies considerably depending on the immigrants’ country of birth. We find both the highest and lowest participation rates among people with European backgrounds. A total of 55 per cent of those with a European background voted, but the turnout for those with a Swedish, Danish and German background was close to that found in the general population. Participation was much lower among immigrants from the Balkans. Among those from Croatia, Macedonia and Kosovo, only around a third voted. The participation rates among persons from the Balkans were also low in the elections held in 2005 and 2009.

Outside Europe, the highest participation rates were among those from Sri Lanka, Somalia and Eritrea; each with almost a 60 per cent turnout. Among persons with an Asian background, participation was 50 per cent, while 53 per cent of Africans voted. Compared with the 2009 election, the greatest progress in participation was among persons from Vietnam, where the participation rate increased from 36 to 49 per cent. The greatest decline in participation was among immigrants from India. In the 2009 election, persons with an Indian background had one of the highest participation rates, with 60 per cent, which fell to 53 per cent in 2013.

Higher participation among women - and particularly women from Somalia

Fifty-five per cent of women with an immigrant background participated in the general election compared to 50 per cent of men. In the 2009 election, the participation rate was the same for men and women, with 52 per cent. However, some countries have a big gender gap in voting participation. Among immigrants from Somalia, 66 per cent of women voted compared with 51 per cent of men.

Higher turnout among the youngest

Figures from the Election Survey for the whole population showed an improvement in turnout of ten and eight percentage points respectively among the youngest age groups (18-21 years and 22-25 years) compared with the 2009 general election. Among those with an immigrant background, participation among the youngest also increased, but to a lesser degree. For the age group 18-25 years, participation increased by four percentage points, up from 40 per cent in 2009 to 44 per cent in 2013.

Voter turnout continues to increase with length of residence and age, but this picture is now less clear than in previous elections. For persons with an immigrant background as a whole, this is still the case, but persons from Africa with the shortest residence and highest turnout, as well as those in the youngest age group (18-25 years), have a higher voter turnout than the oldest age group (aged 60 years and over).

Immigrants account for six per cent of the voting

The number of voters with an immigrant background increased by 50 000 persons compared to the general election in 2009. A total of 213 000 persons with an immigrant background were entitled to vote, which corresponds to six per cent of all eligible voters in the general election.