The immigrant population in Norway is approximately 710 465 persons. The number includes immigrants and children born in Norway to two immigrant parents. The five largest immigrant groups in Norway are in turn Polish, Swedish, Pakistani, Somali and Iraqi.
At the beginning of 1992, immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents totalled 183,000 persons, or 4.3 per cent of Norway’s population. Twenty years later, at the beginning of 2012, these groups had risen to 710 465 persons or 14.1 per cent of the population.
Norway has a long history of immigration. During the Viking era, almost all Norwegian kings sought their wives from foreign countries, thus seeking allies in other royal houses. Social and economic innovation has frequently been connected to immigration: the hanseatic league introduced large scale trade in Bergen and Northern Norway. Mining in Kongsberg, Røros and other places was made possible by immigrants from nearby countries, and from ca 1500 until the first university was established in Christiania in 1811, almost all civil servants were immigrants. During the 19th century the evolution of dairies and the industrial exploitation of waterfalls depended on immigrants.
The main waves of immigrants in the 20th and 21st century were caused by wars and riots in the migrants' home countries: Jews from eastern Europe early in the 20th century, refugees from Hungary in the 1950s, from Chile and Vietnam in the 1970s. In the mid 1980s, there was an increase in the number of asylum seekers from countries such as Iran and Sri Lanka. In the 1990s, war refugees from the Balkans were the predominant immigrant group accepted into Norway; a large number of which have since returned home to Kosovo. Since the end of the 1990s, new groups of asylum seekers from countries such as Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan arrived.
From 2000 to 2010, 510,748 persons received permanent residence permits.
In 2012, net immigration was 47 300, a national record high. About 62% of the immigrants were European citizens. The largest immigrant groups were Poles and Lithuanians who mainly came as labour immigrants, followed by Somalis and Eritreans who mainly came as refugees. Other countries in the top ten were Romania, Latvia, the Philippines, Spain, Afghanistan and Thailand.
As of 2012, an official study showed that 86.2% of the total population were Norwegians having no migrant background and more than 660 000 individuals (13,2%) were immigrants—or descendants of recent immigrants—from neighbour countries and the rest of the world.
In 2012, of the total 710 465 with immigrant background, 407,262 had Norwegian citizenship (60.2 percent). Of these 13,2%, 335 000 (51%) had a Western background mostly from Poland, Germany, and Sweden. 325 000 (49%) had a non-Western background mostly from Turkey, Morocco, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan and Iran. Immigrants were represented in all Norwegian municipalities. The cities or municipalities with the highest share of immigrants in 2012 were Oslo (30.4 percent), Drammen (25 percent), Lørenskog (23 per cent) and Skien (19.6 percent). According to Reuters, Oslo is the "fastest growing city in Europe because of increased immigration". In recent years, immigration has accounted for most of Norway's population growth.
In 2010, the immigrant community grew by 57,000, which accounted for 90% of Norway's population growth; some 27% of newborn children were of immigrant background. These statistics indicate that Norway's population is now 80.0% ethnic Norwegian, a figure that has steadily decreased since the late 20th century. Some 12.2% of the population is of solely immigrant background, while 5.7% of the population is of mixed Norwegian-foreign ancestry. People of other European ethnicity are 5.8% of the total, while Asians (including Pakistanis, Iraqis, and Turks) are 4.3%, Africans 1.5%, and others 0.6%.
Immigration has altered the religious demography of Norway. Among the immigrants, 250,030 have background from predominantly Christian countries, 119,662 from predominantly Muslim countries, 28,942 from mostly Buddhist countries, and 7,224 from countries that are predominantly Hindu. The proportion of Muslim immigrants has fallen drastically in recent years, from about 80% in 2000 to less than 20% in 2007.
As of 2008 there were living in Norway somewhere between 120,000 and 163,000 persons who had either immigrated from or who had parents who had immigrated from countries where Islam is the predominant religion, accounting for up to 3.4% of the country's total population. This number should, however, be interpreted with caution according to a report by Statistics Norway, as there are significant religious minorities in several of these countries, and varying degrees of commitment to the religion. In the same year, 84,000 persons were members of an Islamic congregation. The largest single denomination besides the state church is the Roman Catholic Church, which had a membership of more than 54,000 in 2008. It gained about 10,000 new members, mostly Poles, in the period 2004-2008. Other religions which have increased mainly as a result of recent post-war immigration (with percentages of adherents in parenthesis), include Hinduism (0.5%), Buddhism (0.4%), Orthodoxy (0.2%) and the Bahá'í Faith (<0.1%).
Immigrant employment rates are generally higher in Norway than overall employment rates in most countries, the overall unemployment rate among immigrants being 6.5% in May 2011, totalling about 20,000 persons. The unemployment rate in the population as a whole was 2.7% at this time. There are differences between immigrant groups. People with African backgrounds have the highest unemployment rates, with 12.4%. Unemployment rates among immigrants from Asia and Eastern Europe were 8.2% and 7.4%, respectively. Persons born in Norway to immigrant parents, still a young and relatively small demographic, had an unemployment rate of 5.0%, totalling 766 persons. This was 1.6 percentage points above persons with Norwegian-born parents in the same age group, and 2.1 percentage points below immigrants in the same age group.
Overall workforce participation in the immigrant population was 61.6% in 2010, compared to 71.9% for the population as a whole. African immigrants had the lowest workforce participation, with 43.9%. Persons born to immigrant parents had a workforce participation of 53.0%, similar to that of the corresponding age demographic with Norwegian-born parents.
Effects of immigration
From 1977 to 2012, the number of non-Norwegian citizens living in Norway of European descent has increased from around 46,000 to around 280,000. In the same period the number of citizens of nations on other continents increased from about 25,000 to about 127,000, of which 112,230 from Asia, Africa and South America. If persons with two immigrant parents are counted, the total immigrant population has risen from 57,041 in 1970 to 710 465 in 2012, the non-European proportion rose from 20.1% to 46.1%. The proportion of women in the immigrant population shifted from 56.1% in 1970 to 48.0% in 2012.
The overall probability that a person living in Norway would be convicted for a felony (no: forbrytelse) was increased by about 0.5 percentage points for the immigrant compared to non-immigrant populations for felonies committed in the years 2001-2004. The incidence was especially high among immigrants from Kosovo, Morocco, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Chile, and reached more than 2% in all these groups. In comparison the incidence in the non-immigrant population was about 0.7%. Incidence was lower than for the non-immigrant population among immigrants from among others, Western European countries, Eastern Europe except Poland, the Balkans and Russia, the Philippines, China and North America. Incidence was also higher for persons with two immigrant parents for all countries of origin, including Nordic and Western European countries. When the data was corrected for the population group's age and gender structure (the most over-represented immigrant groups also have a considerable over-representation of young men), place of residence (rural–central) and employment situation, the over-representation was found to be significantly lower, especially for those groups which had the highest incidence in the uncorrected statistics. For some groups, among them immigrants from Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Poland, Russia and the other Eastern European countries, as well as Turkey, the corrected incidences did not differ significantly from the non-immigrant population.
In the cases available to a descriptive study of crime among immigrants and non-immigrants for sexual crimes committed in the years 2001-2004, there were a total of 1804 cases, with an immigrant perpetrator in 155 of them, i.e. 8.6%. In 2010, 1368 sexual crimes charges were filed in Norway, 1213 of these, i.e. 87%, were filed against Norwegian citizens.
In a news report in 2010, a spokesperson for the Oslo Police Department stated that every case of assault rapes in Oslo in the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 was committed by a non-Western immigrant. This picture has later been nuanced, as only perpetrators in the solved cases were counted, and 4 of the victims in the 16 unsolved cases described the perpetrator as being of Norwegian ethnicity. The report shows that, of 131 individuals charged with the 152 rapes in which the perpetrator could be identified, 45.8% were of African, Middle Eastern or Asian origin while 54.2% were of Norwegian, other European or American origin. In the cases of "assault rape", i.e. rape aggravated by physical violence, a category that included 6 of the 152 cases and 5 of the 131 identified individuals, the 5 identified individuals were of African, Middle Eastern or Asian origin. In the cases of assault rape where the individual responsible was not identified and the police relied on the description provided by the victim, "8 of the perpetrators were African / dark-skinned appearance, 4 were Western / light / Nordic and 4 had an Asian appearance".
Legal and administration issues
The Directorate of Immigration (UDI) is responsible for the administration of immigration into the country. Before the UDI was established in 1988, several government organisations were involved in administrating immigration. Another body, Integrerings- og mangfoldsdirektoratet (IMDi) (Directorate of Integration and Diversity), "contribute[s] to equality in living conditions and diversity through employment, integration and participation".
|This section requires expansion. (January 2011)|
Immigrants by country of origin
|Rank||Country of origin||Population (2001)||Population (2013)|
|22.||China, People's Republic of||3,654||9,025|
|42.||Macedonia, Republic of||789||3,482|
|49.||Congo, Democratic Republic of||276||2,369|
|112.||Trinidad and Tobago||204||262|
|117.||United Arab Emirates||33||224|
|122.||Congo, Republic of||60||189|
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