Population grows to nearly 5 million

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Norway’s population is creeping closer to the 5 million-mark, according to the latest figures collected by state statistics bureau SSB. Meanwhile, just over 9,000 persons became Norwegian citizens by the end of the third quarter.

There will soon be 5 million Norwegians to wave the flag. PHOTO: Views and News

SSB reports that population growth in the third quarter of this year was higher than ever before, up by 20,200 in the three months ending September 30.

That brought Norway’s total population to 4,908,100, of whom nearly 600,000 live in Oslo. The capital continues to attract the most new residents, but every county in Norway registered a net increase in population with the exception of Troms in northern Norway.

The growth follows population declines in the last quarter of 2009 and the first half of this year, according to SSB. Total net population growth for the year so far amounted to nearly 50,000.

SSB reported that the death rate was stable and births amounted to 16,500, while the rest of the growth was the result of immigration. Citizens of Poland and Sweden continue to account for much of the immigration to Norway, followed closely by immigrants from Lithuania.

Immigration bureau UDI (Utlendingsdirektoratet) reported this week that 9,011 immigrants were granted Norwegian citizenship during the first 10 months of the year. Another 4,280 were denied citizenship, which requires among other things legal residence in the country for seven of the past 10 years.

Many of Norway’s new citizens came as refugees initially from Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan. Fully 1,215 were from Iraq, with the next-largest concentrations coming from Somalia, Afghanistan, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Around 11,000 immigrants were granted citizenship last year, and Norwegian authorities predict the number will be about the same by the end of this year.

(For more details, see SSB’s tables here – external link.)

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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