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According to Statistics Norway the immigrant population make up 15.6 per cent of the population in Norway.[1] 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, Somali, Lithuanian and Pakistani.[1]

At the beginning of 1992 the immigrant population in Norway was 183,000 persons, or 4.3 per cent of the total population. 23 years later, at the beginning of 2015, the number had risen to 815,000 persons, (or 15.6 per cent of the population.) The immigration has increased drastically in recent years, with net immigration exceeding 40,000.[2]


Further information: History of Norway
Maud of Wales was the consort of King Haakon VII of Norway

The Viking Age introduced the practice of Royal intermarriage common in European aristocracies and elsewhere. Norwegian kings used to seek their wives from other Royal houses, in order to foster ties with foreign countries.[3] See the Kings of Norway family tree.

Other historical fields linked to migrations were trade and academia, bringing workforce and innovation respectively. 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. During the 19th century the evolution of dairies and the industrial exploitation of waterfalls depended on immigrants. Before the University was established in Christiania in 1811, almost all civil servants from up to circa 1500, were migrants.[4]


Contemporary immigration[edit]

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

From 2000 to 2010, 510,748 persons received permanent residence permits.[5]

In 2012, net immigration was 47,300, a national record high. About 62% of the immigrants were European citizens.[6] 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.[7]


Further information: Demographics of Norway


As of 2014, an official study showed that 4,081,000 people or 79.9% of the total population were Norwegians having no migrant background (both of their parents were born in Norway)[8] and more than 759,000 individuals (14.9%)[8] were immigrants—or descendants of recent immigrants—from neighbouring countries and the rest of the world. A further 235,000 (4.6%) were born in Norway to one foreign-born parent, and 34,000 (0.7%) were born abroad to one parent born in Norway.

In 2012, of the total 710 465 with immigrant background, 407,262 had Norwegian citizenship (60.2 percent).[9] Of these 13,2%, 335 000 (51%)[8] had a Western background mostly from Poland, Germany, and Sweden. 325 000 (49%)[8] 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).[1] According to Reuters, Oslo is the "fastest growing city in Europe because of increased immigration".[10] 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 2% of newborn children were of immigrant background (two foreign parents). These statistics indicate that Norway's population is now 87.8% 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, and Iraqis) are 4.3%, Africans 1.5%, and others 0.6%.[11]


Further information: Religion in Norway
Saint Paul Catholic Church, Bergen. Catholicism in Norway has grown from recent immigration, notably by Poles

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.[12] The proportion of Muslim immigrants has fallen drastically in recent years, from about 80% in 2000 to less than 20% in 2007.[13]

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.[13][14] 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.[13] 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.[13] 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[citation needed], 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.[15]

Workforce participation[edit]

Overall workforce participation in the immigrant population was 61.6% in 2010,[15] compared to 71.9% for the population as a whole.[16] 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.[15]

Effects of immigration[edit]


Children in Oslo

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.[17] 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.[18] According to an interesting book chapter published by Amsterdam University in 2008 and authored by Prof. Mete Feridun of University of Greenwich, immigration has a positive impact on economic growth in Norway and it has no statistically significant impact on unemployment in the job market.[19]


The overall probability that a person living in Norway would be convicted for a felony (Norwegian: 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.[20]

Sexual crimes[edit]

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 1,804 cases, with an immigrant perpetrator in 155 of them, i.e. 8.6%.[20] In 2010, 1,368 sexual crimes charges were filed in Norway, 1,213 of these, i.e. 87%, were filed against Norwegian citizens.[21]

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.[22] 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 White (not necessarily Norwegian) ethnicity.[23] The report shows that, of 131 individuals charged with the 152 rapes reported in 2010, in which the perpetrator could be identified, 19,8% African, 14,5% Middle Eastern, 11,5% Asian, 2.3% from the Americas, 13,7% European countries, and 38,2% were of Norwegian origin.[24] 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". The report states that statistical differences in criminal behavior among ethnics vanishes when figures are controlled for socio-economic circumstances.[25]

Legal and administration issues[edit]

Further information: Norwegian nationality law

The Directorate of Immigration (UDI) is responsible for the administration of immigration into the country.[26] Before the UDI was established in 1988, several government organisations were involved in administrating immigration.[27] 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".[28]

Immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents, by country of origin[edit]

Rank Country of origin[29] Population (2001)[30] Population (2014)[1]
1.  Poland 6,432 91,179
2.  Sweden 23,010 38,414
3.  Somalia 10,107 35,912
4.  Lithuania 378 35,546
5.  Pakistan 23,581 34,447
6.  Iraq 12,357 30,144
7.  Germany 9,448 26,683
8.  Vietnam 15,880 21,721
9.  Denmark 19,049 20,897
10.  Philippines 5,885 19,886
11.  Iran 11,016 19,793
12.  Russia 3,749 18,770
13.  Turkey 10,990 17,345
14.  Bosnia-Herzegovina 12,944 16,845
15.  Thailand 3,738 16,559
16.  Afghanistan 1,346 15,459
17.  Sri Lanka 10,335 14,797
18.  United Kingdom 10,925 14,774
19.  Kosovo 0[31] 14,408
20.  Eritrea 813 14,397
21.  India 6,140 12,924
22.  Romania 1,054 11,068
23.  China, People's Republic of 3,654 9,491
24.  Latvia 385 9,460
25.  Morocco 5,719 9,111
26.  United States 7,253 8,652
27.  Iceland 3,756 8,169
28.  Netherlands 3,848 8,062
29.  Chile 6,491 7,904
30.  Ethiopia 2,803 7,807
31.  Finland 6,776 6,797
32.  France 2,350 5,276
33.  Bulgaria 842 5,227
34.  Estonia 342 5,092
35.  Spain 1,382 4,903
36.  Serbia 0[31] 4,253
37.  Ukraine 399 4,210
38.  Brazil 824 4,017
39.  Syria 860 3,977
40.  Burma 63 3,974
41.  Palestinian Territory 64 3,825
42.  Slovakia 207 3,813
43.  Hungary 1,666 3,789
44.  Croatia 1,863 3,699
45.  Macedonia, Republic of 789 3,595
46.  Italy 1,265 3,271
47.  Sudan 433 3,092
48.  Lebanon 1,613 2,624
49.  Congo, Democratic Republic of 276 2,590
50.  Portugal 704 2,560
51.  Ghana 1,355 2,424
52.  Czech Republic 557 2,180
53.  Nigeria 541 1,964
54.  Colombia 604 1,841
55.  Canada 1,120 1,786
56.  Greece 533 1,776
57.  Algeria 927 1,637
58.  Kenya 689 1,636
59.  Gambia 1,050 1,606
60.  Australia 609 1,468
60.  Indonesia 405 1,468
61.   Switzerland 922 1,430
62.    Nepal 157 1,418
63.  Burundi 69 1,350
64.  Peru 492 1,295
65.  Tunisia 648 1,279
67.  Austria 768 1,259
68.  Liberia 29 1,220
69.  Uganda 501 1,167
70.  Belgium 595 1,153
71.  Egypt 413 1,118
72.  Mexico 358 1,094
73.  Bangladesh 490 1,086
74.  Belarus 134 1,045
75.  South Korea 393 1,040
76.  Venezuela 152 996
77.  Ireland 445 991
78.  Cuba 286 959
79.  Kazakhstan 60 956
80.  South Africa 491 951
81.  Japan 562 916
82.  Argentina 378 890
83.  Albania 156 878
84.  Hong Kong 742 853
85.  Faroe Islands 770 848
86.  Dominican Republic 276 844
87.  Tanzania 464 821
88.  Rwanda 218 760
89.  Malaysia 257 713
90.  Israel 485 697
91.  Moldova 43 696
92.  Cameroon 83 632
93.  Sierra Leone 247 631
94.  Azerbaijan 95 599
95.  Libya 62 569
96.  Cambodia 277 564
97.  Jordan 144 521
98.  Cape Verde 297 518
99.  New Zealand 252 511
100.  Angola 96 504
101.  Ecuador 174 492
101.  Uzbekistan 35 492
102.  Montenegro 0[31] 460
103.  Kuwait 133 459
104.  Saudi Arabia 47 446
105.  Singapore 220 442
106.  Yemen 51 403
107.  Zambia 114 390
108.  Bhutan 10 372
109.  Slovenia 53 353
110.  Georgia 47 339
111.  Armenia 47 336
112.  Bolivia 134 308
112.  Côte d'Ivoire 110 308
113.  United Arab Emirates 33 293
114.  Senegal 83 281
115.  Guinea 39 278
116.  Trinidad and Tobago 204 269
117.  Taiwan 113 259
118.  Zimbabwe 119 254
119.  Congo, Republic of 60 251
120.  El Salvador 134 235
121.  Uruguay 167 234
122.  Madagascar 141 226
123.  Mauritius 181 221
124.  Kyrgyzstan 6 211
125.  South Sudan 0 192
126.  Guatemala 81 191
127.  Greenland 119 190
128.  Mozambique 72 167
129.  Jamaica 73 160
130.  Nicaragua 78 159
131.  Togo 80 155
132.  Cyprus 90 144
133.  Mongolia 8 140
134.  Costa Rica 52 133
135.  Tajikistan 17 125
136.  Honduras 64 117
137.  Laos 56 110


In most nation states there is some opposition to immigration.[32] The Progress Party has made the reduction of high levels of immigration from non-European countries one of their agendas:

"Immigration from countries outside the EEA must be strictly enforced to ensure a successful integration. It can not be accepted that fundamental Western values and human rights are set aside by cultures and attitudes that certain groups of immigrants bring with them to Norway."[33]

An extreme form of opposition to immigration in Norway was carried out by the terrorist Anders Behring Breivik on 22 July 2011. He bombed government buildings in Oslo and massacred 69 young people at a youth summer camp held by the Labour Party. He blamed the party for the high level of Muslim immigration and accused it of "promoting multiculturalism".[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents, 1 January 2015". Statistics Norway. Accessed 21 May 2015.
  2. ^ SSB (Statistics Norway): https://www.ssb.no/en/befolkning/statistikker/flytting
  3. ^ From Harald Finehair to Håkon Håkonsson eight out of ten known queens were princesses from neighbouring countries. Steinar Imsen. Våre dronninger (Norwegian). Grøndahl og Dreyer. 1991. ISBN 82-09-10678-3
  4. ^ Knut Kjeldstadli. Norsk innvandringshistorie (Norwegian). Pax, 2003. ISBN 82-530-2541-6
  5. ^ "Norway received 500,000 immigrants in 10 years". norwaypost.no. Accessed 7 August 2011.
  6. ^ Framleis sterk folkevekst SSB, retrieved 21 February 2013
  7. ^ Innvandring, utvandring og nettoinnvandring, etter statsborgerskap. 2012. SSB, retrieved 21 February 2013
  8. ^ a b c d http://www.ssb.no/english/subjects/02/01/10/innvbef_en/tab-2012-04-26-04-en.html
  9. ^ "Three categories of immigration background, country of birth and citizenship by country background and sex. 1 January 2012 ". Statistics Norway. 26 April 2012. Accessed 27 April 2012. Archived 7 August 2011.
  10. ^ Hare, Sophie. "Factbox – facts about Norway". Reuters. 22 July 2011. Accessed 22 July 2011.
  11. ^ "Statistics Norway – Persons with immigrant background by immigration category and country background". Ssb.no. 2011-01-01. Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  12. ^ "De fleste innvandrerne er kristne" Google translation. NRK. 9 December 2009. Accessed 7 August 2011.
  13. ^ a b c d Daugstad, Gunnlaug; Østby, Lars (2009). "Et mangfold av tro og livssyn" [A variety of beliefs and denominations]. Det flerkulturelle Norge (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  14. ^ Leirvik, Oddbjørn. "Islam i Norge". Google translation. University of Oslo. 2008. Accessed 7 August 2011.
  15. ^ a b c Anders Ekeland (2011). "Stabil yrkesdeltakelse og ledighet" [Stable workforce participation and unemployment rates] (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Tabell:05111: Personer i alderen 15-74 år, etter kjønn, arbeidsstyrkestatus og alder" [Persons aged 15-74, by gender, workforce status and age] (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Tabell:05196: Folkemengde, etter kjønn, alder og statsborgerskap" [Table:05196: Population by gender, age and citizenship] (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Tabell:07110: Innvandrere, etter landbakgrunn (verdensdel) og kjønn (K)" [Table:07110: Immigrants by country background (World part) and gender (municipality level)] (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  19. ^ Investigating the Economic Impact of Immigration on the Host Country: The Case of Norway, in Kolb, Holger and Egbert, Henrik (Eds.), 46-55, Migrants and Markets: Perspectives from Economics and Other Social Sciences, Amsterdam University Press (2008).
  20. ^ a b Skarðhamar, Torbjørn; Thorsen, Lotte R.; Henriksen, Kristin (2011-09-12). Kriminalitet og straff blant innvandrere og øvrig befolkning [Crime and punishment among immigrants and non-immigrants] (pdf) (in Norwegian). Oslo: Statistics Norway. ISBN 978-82-537-8124-2. 
  21. ^ "Tabell: 09421: Siktede personer, etter hovedlovbruddskategori, hovedlovbruddsgruppe og statsborgerskap. Absolutte tall" [Table: 09421: Charged individuals, by main category of crimes, main group of crimes and citizenship. Absolute numbers] (in Norwegian). Statistics Norway. Retrieved July 13, 2012.  horizontal tab character in |title= at position 8 (help)
  22. ^ Tone Staude; Martin Fjørtoft (January 13, 2010). Rekordmange overfallsvoldtekter "Rekordmange overfallsvoldtekter" [Record number of assault rapes] Check |url= value (help) (in Norwegian). Norsk Rikskringkasting. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  23. ^ Tanveer Hussain (May 2, 2012). "Myten om ikke-vestlige voldtektsmenn sprekker" [The myth about non-Western rapists is breaking up] (in Norwegian). Utrop. 
  24. ^ "Excerpt From Oslo Police District Report on Rape". Scribd. p. Table 29: Suspects/persons seen in rape reports in Oslo police district in 2010 distributed by type of rape and continent/country background. Retrieved 2015-11-13. 
  25. ^ http://www.scribd.com/doc/76695373/Excerpt-From-Oslo-Police-District-Report-on-Rape
  26. ^ "About UDI". Directorate of Immigration. Accessed 22 July 2011. Archived 7 August 2011.
  27. ^ "A brief history of the UDI". Directorate of Immigration. 6 May 2004. Accessed 22 July 2011. Archived 7 August 2011.
  28. ^ "About IMDi". Directorate of Integration and Diversity. Accessed 22 July 2011.
  29. ^ Immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents
  30. ^ "Innvandrarbefolkninga og personar med annan innvandringsbakgrunn, etter innvandringskategori, kjønn og landbakgrunn. 1. januar 2001". Statistics Norway (in Norwegian). 
  31. ^ a b c 15,469 from Yugoslavia
  32. ^ Joseph Chinyong Liow, "Malaysia's Approachęş to its Illegal Indonesian Migrant Labour Problem: Securitization, Politics, or Catharsis?" Paper for IDSS-FORD WORKSHOP ON NON-TRADITIONAL SECURITY IN ASIA. Singapore, 3–4 September 2004.
  33. ^ The Progress Party's politics (In Norwegian) From the official website of the Progress Party (23.11.2014)
  34. ^ "Prime minister: Norway still 'an open society' despite 'the horror'" CNN, 25 July 2011

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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