Norway: Continued high population growth

The population of Norway is projected to rise considerably in the period 2010 to 2060. The most important reason for this is continued high immigration. Slightly higher fertility and life expectancy is expected than in the previous projections, Statistics Norway reports.

The projections show that the population size is going to increase during the next 50 years, from 4.9 million in 2010 to about 7 million in 2060. The degree of uncertainty is high, especially concerning the future immigration flows, Statistics Norway writes on its web site .

The rapid immigration growth in recent years is related to low unemployment and economic growth in Norway, and has been facilitated by the admittance of ten East European countries to the European Union in 2004 and 2007. Citizens of these countries can work and live here almost without restriction due to Norway’s membership in the EEA (European Economic Cooperation Area).

The immigration surplus is on the other hand expected to decline in the next few years. The recent financial crisis has led to increasing unemployment in Norway and reduced demand for labour, especially in the construction sector. The net immigration has already peaked and is expected to fall rapidly in the coming years. A more restrictive immigration policy is also expected to contribute to this.

The population is going to be much older in the long run. The number of people aged 67 and over will increase fast, from 625 000 in 2010 to around 1.5 million in 2060 – or more than twice the current level.

Statistics Norway assumes that fertility will slightly rise in the covered period, to 2.1 children per woman. The total fertility rate has increased from 1.75 in 2002 to 1.98 in 2009, the highest level in Norway since 1975.