Immigration to Norway
The number of immigrants in Norway is currently approximately 601,000, which corresponds to 12.2 percent of the total population (2011). In addition to these, 213,486 are born in Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 with one immigrant parent, 31,540 are born abroad with one Norwegian parent, and 37,056 are born abroad to Norwegian parents (including adopted children). The population of Norway is about 4.9 million. In 2011 the net migration rate was at 42,622. In 2011, of the total 600,922 with immigrant background, 245 751 had Norwegian citizenship (42.1 percent). The cities or municipalities with the highest share of immigrants are Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

 (27%) and Drammen
Drammen is a city in Buskerud County, Norway. The port and river city of Drammen is centrally located in the eastern and most populated part of Norway.-Location:...

 (22%). The five largest immigrant groups in Norway are in turn Polish
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

, Swedish, Pakistanis, Iraqi
Iraqis in Norway
The population of Iraqis in Norway has shown a large increase over the last years due to the Iraq war. Iraqis have become the fourth largest immigrant group in Norway after Polish, Pakistanis and Swedes...

 and Somali
Somali people
Somalis are an ethnic group located in the Horn of Africa, also known as the Somali Peninsula. The overwhelming majority of Somalis speak the Somali language, which is part of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family...



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
Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

 introduced large scale trade in Bergen and Northern Norway. Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

 in Kongsberg
is a town and municipality in Buskerud county, Norway. It is located at the southern end of the traditional region of Numedal. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Kongsberg....

, Røros
is a town and municipality in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. It is part of the Gauldalen region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Røros. Other villages include Brekken, Glåmos, Feragen, Galåa, and Hitterdalen....

 and other places was made possible by immigrants from nearby countries, and from ca 1500 until the first university was established in Christiania
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

 in 1811, almost all civil servants were immigrants. During the 19th century the evolution of dairies
A dairy is a business enterprise established for the harvesting of animal milk—mostly from cows or goats, but also from buffalo, sheep, horses or camels —for human consumption. A dairy is typically located on a dedicated dairy farm or section of a multi-purpose farm that is concerned...

 and the industrial exploitation of waterfall
A waterfall is a place where flowing water rapidly drops in elevation as it flows over a steep region or a cliff.-Formation:Waterfalls are commonly formed when a river is young. At these times the channel is often narrow and deep. When the river courses over resistant bedrock, erosion happens...

s depended on immigrants.

Contemporary immigration

The main waves of immigrants in the 20th and 21st century were caused by wars and riots in the migrants' home countries: Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 from eastern Europe early in the 20th century, refugees from Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 in the 1950s, from Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 and Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 in the 1970s. In the mid 1980s, there was an increase in the number of asylum seekers from countries such as Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

. 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
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

, and Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...


In 2006, Norway received a record 45,800 migrants with 22,100 leaving, for a net immigration of 23,700. This was 30 percent higher than in 2005.


The number of immigrants in Norway and children of two immigrant parents was in 2010 approximately 552,000 combined, which corresponded to 11.4% of the total population (2010). In addition to these, 206,627 are born in Norway with one immigrant parent, 30,766 are born abroad with one Norwegian parent, and 36,688 are born abroad to Norwegian parents (including adopted children). In 2009, the Norwegian net migration rate was at 43,346. Of the total 600,922 with immigrant background, 245,751 had Norwegian citizenship (42.1 percent). The cities or municipalities with the highest share of immigrants in 2010 was Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

 (27 percent) and Drammen
Drammen is a city in Buskerud County, Norway. The port and river city of Drammen is centrally located in the eastern and most populated part of Norway.-Location:...

 (22 percent). According to Reuters
Reuters is a news agency headquartered in New York City. Until 2008 the Reuters news agency formed part of a British independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data...

, Oslo is the "fastest growing city in Europe because of increased immigration".

Countries of origin

Rank Country of origin Population (2001) Population (2011)
1.  Poland 6,432 60,610
2.  Sweden 23,010 34,108
3.  Pakistan 23,581 31,884
4.  Iraq 12,357 27,827
5.  Somalia 10,107 27,523
6.  Germany 9,448 24,394
7.  Vietnam 15,880 20,452
8.  Denmark 19,049 19,522
9.  Iran 11,016 16,957
10.  Turkey 10,990 16,430
11.  Lithuania 378 16,309
12.  Bosnia and Herzegovina 12,944 16,125
13.  Russia 3,749 15,879
14.  Philippines 5,885 14,797
15.  Sri Lanka 10,335 14,017
16.  United Kingdom 10,925 13,395
17.  Republic of Kosovo 0 13,303
18.  Thailand 3,738 13,293
19.  Afghanistan 1,346 12,043
20.  India 6,140 10,096
21.  Morocco 5,719 8,305
22.  People's Republic of China 3,654 7,895
23.  United States 7,253 7,853
24.  Eritrea 813 7,728
25.  Chile 6,491 7,708
26.  Netherlands 3,848 7,251
27.  Finland 6,776 6,626
28.  Iceland 3,756 6,022
29.  Ethiopia 2,803 5,805
30.  Kingdom of Romania 1,054 5,670
31.  Latvia 385 4,979
32.  Early Modern France 2,350 4,289
33.  Myanmar 63 3,350
34. 64 3,340
35.  Independent State of Croatia 1,863 3,327
36. 789 3,244
37.  Brazil 824 3,017
38.  Serbia 0 2,987
39.  Ukraine 399 2,918
40.  Estonia 342 2,871
41.  Kingdom of Bulgaria 842 2,693
42.  Hungary 1,666 2,599
43.  Spain 1,382 2,577
44.  Slovakia 207 2,498
45.  Lebanon 1,613 2,476
46.  Italy 1,265 2,230
47. 276 2,183
48.  Syria 860 2,163
49.  Ghana 1,355 2,116
50.  Canada 1,120 1,680
51.  Czech Republic 557 1,614
52.  Sudan 433 1,611
53.  Algeria 927 1,525
54.  The Gambia 1,050 1,472
55.  Nigeria 541 1,389
56.  Kenya 689 1,344
57.  Colombia 604 1,307
58.  Australia 609 1,294
59.  Switzerland 922 1,242
60.  Indonesia 405 1,237
61.  Portugal 704 1,226
62.  Burundi 69 1,192
63.  Peru 492 1,124
64.  Liberia 29 1,116
65.  Tunisia 648 1,097
66.  Austria 768 1,074
67.  Uganda 501 941
68.  Belgium 595 939
69.  Nepal 157 893
70.  Egypt 413 883
71.  Bangladesh 490 850
72.  Mexico 358 846
73.  Greece 533 834
73.  Hong Kong 742 834
74.  Japan 562 831
75.  South Korea 393 828
76.  South Africa 491 809
77.  Tanzania 464 784
78.  Cuba 286 781
79.  Kazakhstan 60 767
80.  Belarus 134 752
81.  Faroe Islands 770 751
82.  Republic of Ireland 445 727
83.  Argentina 378 700
84.  Rwanda 218 688
85.  Dominican Republic 276 648
86.  Venezuela 152 641
87.  Israel 485 630
88.  Sierra Leone 247 574
89.  Albania 156 539
90.  Cameroon 83 534
91.  Malaysia 257 514
92.  Cape Verde 297 505
93.  Cambodia 277 500
94.  Azerbaijan 95 476
95.  New Zealand 252 453
96.  Jordan 144 436
97.  Angola 96 434
98.  Moldova 43 376
99.  Ecuador 174 375
99.  Kingdom of Montenegro 0 375
100.  Singapore 220 366
101.  Kuwait 133 359
102.  Uzbekistan 35 355
103.  Libya 62 329
104.  Zambia 114 324
105.  Côte d'Ivoire 110 269
106.  Saudi Arabia 47 264
107.  Trinidad and Tobago 204 263
108.  Yemen 51 259
109.  Bhutan 10 253
110.  Armenia 47 251
111.  Georgia (country) 47 248
112.  Bolivia 134 245
113.  Slovenia 53 238
114.  Republic of China 113 227
115.  Senegal 83 220
116.  Mauritius 181 214
117.  Madagascar 141 212
118.  Zimbabwe 119 210
119.  El Salvador 134 202
119.  United Arab Emirates 33 202
120.  Uruguay 167 197
121.  Guinea 39 175
122. 60 164
122.  Kyrgyzstan 6 164
123.  Guatemala 81 162
124.  Jamaica 73 147
125.  Nicaragua 78 137
126.  Togo 80 135
127.  Mozambique 72 128
128.  Honduras 64 103


Immigration has altered the religious demography of Norway, with Islam
Islam in Norway
Islam is the largest minority religion in Norway, which consist between 2.0% and 3.4% of the population. In 2007, government statistics registered 79,068 members of Islamic congregations in Norway, about 10% more than in 2006. 56% lived in the counties of Oslo and Akershus...

 now the second largest religion with up to 163,000 adherents, accounting for about 3.4% of the total population (2009). Other religions which have increased mainly as a result of recent post-war immigration (with adherents in parenthesis), include Roman Catholicism
Roman Catholicism in Norway
Roman Catholicism in Norway is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope, the Curia in Rome and the Scandinavian Bishops Conference.There are about 83,000 - 230,000 Catholics in the country, 70% of whom were born abroad...

 (1.2%/4.7%), Hinduism
Hinduism in Norway
In Norway 0.1% of the total population are Hindus, of South Asian descent and around 75% of those are Tamil Hindus from Sri Lanka.-Ethnic Background of Hindus in Norway:...

 (0.5%), Buddhism
Buddhism in Norway
Buddhism in Norway has existed since the beginning of the 1970s, after immigration from countries with Buddhist populations, mainly Vietnam. Buddhistforbundet in Norway was established as a religious society in 1979 by two Buddhist groups who wanted to create a common organization to preserve...

 (0.4%), Orthodoxy
Orthodoxy in Norway
Orthodoxy in Norway is a small minority religion in Norway with 8,492 official members in 2010, up from 2,315 in 2000.- History of the Orthodox Church in Norway :...

 (0.2%) and Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith in Norway
The Bahá'í Faith in Norway began with contact between traveling Scandinavians with early Persian believers of the Bahá'í Faith in the mid-to-late 19th century...


Among the immigrants, 250,030 have background from Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 countries, 119,662 from Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 countries, 28,942 from Buddhist countries, and 7,224 from Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...



The unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

 rate for foreign-born Norwegians is 9.2 percent, compared to a figure of 2.1 percent for the general population.


Since 1970, the immigrant population from Nordic countries and Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 has increased modestly from around 50,000 to around 120,000. In the same time frame however, the immigrant population from outside these regions, has increased dramatically from barely anything to more than 420,000 (137,572 from Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, and 284,246 from Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

). During the course of the first four-year term of the ruling Red-Green Coalition government (2005–2009), the immigrant population of Norway increased by 41 percent, or 143,300 persons. From 2000 to 2010, 510,748 persons received permanent residence permits.

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 1998, 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".

Further reading

  • "9 Migration policy". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Norway). 2008. Accessed 7 August 2011.
  • "Population statistics. Immigration and emigration, 2010". Statistics Norway
    Statistics Norway
    Statistics Norway is the Norwegian statistics bureau. It was established in 1876.Relying on a staff of about 1,000, Statistics Norway publish about 1,000 new statistical releases every year on its web site. All releases are published both in Norwegian and English...

    . Accessed 22 July 2011.. Directorate of Integration and Diversity. 18 May 2009. Accessed 22 July 2011. Archived 22 July 2011. See webpage.. Directorate of Integration and Diversity. 7 April 2010. Accessed 22 July 2011. Archived 22 July 2011. See webpage.

External links

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