Immigration contributed to a larger population
By the end of 2010, the population of Norway was 4,920,305, according to Statistics Norway (SSB). That is an increase of 1.3 per cent compared with the year before. Net immigration accounted for 68 per cent of this increase, and the rest was due to an excess of births.
According to SSB, just over 11 per cent of Norway’s population come from immigrant backgrounds. By immigrant background is meant that the person him/herself or his/her parents have immigrated to Norway. The largest groups of immigrants were originally from Poland, Sweden and Germany.
In all, 73,850 immigrants came to Norway during 2010. As in 2009, Polish nationals were the biggest group, followed by Swedish and Lithuanian nationals. At the same time, it was also mostly Swedes, Poles and Germans who moved from Norway. The increase in net immigration was greatest for nationals of Poland, Lithuania and Sweden. In total, 9,000 Norwegian nationals moved from Norway, and 8,800 Norwegian nationals moved back.
Future developments in the immigration population
In 2010, SSB produced several projections for how big the population of Norway could be in future, and for its composition. In the scenario that assumes the lowest population growth, the proportion of the population from immigrant backgrounds will be just under 16 per cent in 2025, while the scenario that assumes the biggest growth indicates that this proportion will be just over 19 per cent.
SSB has also produced projections for what areas most immigrants will come from. It concluded that persons from Asia, Africa, Latin America and non-EU Eastern Europe will probably account for slightly more than 50 per cent of the immigrant population in Norway in 2025, compared with around 60 per cent in 2009. The calculations are based on the current legislation regulating immigration to Norway.
A smaller proportion of immigration is regulated
In 2010, 66,500 persons were granted residence permits in Norway (a first-time permit or a renewal), 54,200 fewer than the year before. Much of this is due to the new registration system, which means that most EU nationals can stay in Norway without applying for a residence permit (see fact box).
The registration system means that we regulate a smaller proportion of immigration to Norway than before. Based on the immigrant population’s country background at the start of the year, it appears that we only regulated about 60 per cent of the immigration in 2010, compared with almost 95 per cent in 2009. In reality, however, the regulated proportion of immigration is bigger, as those who can move here without a permit will more often leave Norway again.
Read more about the registration system for EU nationals