The Population of Norway

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The diverse population of Norway

The facts and figures of Norway's population: Everything you need to know.

In 2012 it was a pretty big deal, at least in the country, when Norway broke the 5 million mark on inhabitants. The numbers have continued to grow and in the 2016 census the population was counted at about 5.25 million.

As of the third quarter of 2020, the population of Norway is 5,384,576.

Population growth in Norway

Recent years have seen the population rising steadily, with a very consistent upward trend starting back in the 1960’s. Right around the time that oil was discovered in the Norwegian Sea.

Grenland Folkehøgskole
Grenland Folkehøgskole

Norway’s population hasn’t always been so high. Several events throughout history have led to serious drops in the numbers.

One of the more famous of these was the Black Death, which hit Norway extremely hard in the mid and late 1300’s.

It is estimated that around 50% of the population in Norway succumbed to the disease. Some estimates even report higher than that number.

Emigration to the USA

Another historical change to population was the mass emigration to North America. Just about every European country (and many others across the globe) at one time or another had people flocking to the shores of America.

American Election in Norway

Though Norwegians were counted as some of the earliest settlers crossing the Atlantic, the organised exodus began en masse around the middle of the 19th century.

The reasons for Norwegians to leave their home vary as much as the people did. Some left for religious freedom, other for the promise of the New World, and even more because of the economic pressures, famines, and crop failures that were occurring throughout Scandinavia at the time.

By the 1900’s the number of immigrants from Norway began to decline: particularly after The Immigration Act of 1924 that restricted the number of immigrants from any given country.

But still, 87% of the permits issued after this were given to immigrants from the UK, Germany, and Scandinavia. This still slowed the flow of Norwegian immigrants to a few thousand per year, a pattern that persists to the modern day.

Today more than 4.5 million Americans claim Norwegian ancestry.

Norwegian Max airplane flying to Norway

Immigrants in Norway

Norway has taken in immigrants for some time, but the upward trend got started in the middle of the 20th century. People from all over the globe have found a new home in Norway, myself included.

Immigrants in Norway made up just under 17% of the population in the 2017 census. This census also included children who were born in Norway to two immigrant parents.

The countries that had the most people moving to Norway were Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, Somalia, and Pakistan.

The cities in Norway are becoming more and more international and it’s easy to find people that have recently undergone the process of moving to Norway.

Where do people live in Norway

Big cities like Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim make up a large bulk of the Norwegian population. The entire Oslo metropolitan area in itself counts to be almost half of the entire population!

Barcode building in Oslo

From there, most people are clustered in the cities that stretch up Norway’s impressive west coast. Though there are quite a few areas inland housing sizable populations.

Though the cities draw more and more people, rural life in Norway still attracts a number of people. Small villages and towns dot the country – from stunning coastal fishing villages, to breath-taking mountainous retreats.

Farming is also still relevant in Norway, and many farms have stayed within the same family for generations.

There is somewhere for everyone in Norway, whether that be the busy, bustling city of Oslo, the mellower town vibe of Lillehammer, the cosy hamlet of Aurland, or even an isolated cabin up in one of the many mountain areas in the country.

About Bradley Kurtz

Bradley Kurtz in an American freelance writer living in Trondheim.

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12 thoughts on “The Population of Norway”

  1. Today’s Post made my heart soft with love for Norway. I am one of the 4.5 million Americans with Norwegian ancestry. Luckily I know my relatives there as the farm is still in the family. I pray Norway will soon allow dual citizenship as I yearn to spend much more time there.

    It is interesting that my g-g-g-grandfather Thor did not like America. After 18 months or so he returned to Norway leaving behind his son Christian and Christian’s Norwegian wife. Yet my maiden name stemmed from Thor, not Christian.

  2. i am from new York i wish i live in Norway as i think its so clam and clean over there and not too much crowded and just new York population is 8.5 million

  3. I live in USA since I was a teenager, and I am citizen of the country, but I still call Norway Home and visit as often as I can! My love for Norway will live forever ❤️Elin

  4. Hi All This is my first trip to Norway . I’m from Australia and am visiting my son who lives near Oslo. I’m also meeting my six month old grandson. My beautiful daughter in law is Norwegian. So this visit and future visits will open up a whole new world of adventure for my wife and I. We are staying for a few days at a bnb on an island Hanko . It’s absolutely idyllic. Cheers Bernie

  5. Hi, i have traveled to a few countries in previous years. They were beautiful and interesting. But, this country Norway Norweign is Fantastic. I have just read of so much interesting features. The friendly people, the charming culture, the lovely dishes and most important of the standard of Education and quantity of oil and gas. I am overwhelmed. I do hope and trust that the people there would continue to work together in unity and peace and embrace every opportunity that exist and most of all continue to Trust God for Everlasting Blessings. In the future i hope me and family can visit there. My plan is to recommend friends and tourist to choose visiting there as one of their prime destination.

  6. As a kiwi who has lived here for 10 years I’ve seen the city change. Mostly for the better. Inflation is noticeable however with a beer in town sitting around 100kr. (was 58kr at the same bar 7 years ago). A letter I posted locally got rejected yesterday as I used a stamp from last year which was 16kr.. (now its 23kr) Seems like bus tickets go up 4kr every year. So with development and population growth come some negatives also :-/ I’m moving to Bali for 2 dollar Nasi Gorangs!!! Laterz!!

    • I would not say that Norwegian people are immediately warm and friendly. It May take some taming but that is why I appreciated them so much. They are real, reliable and profound. Spent six months there back in 1991. My son was born there. My lastname is from Norge. There is a very strong attraction to return there indeniably.


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