Immigrants’ income varies widely

Bookmark and Share

The median income of British and Danish immigrants in Norway is higher than that for the country as a whole, while immigrants from Somalia rank lowest on new income charts prepared by state statistics bureau SSB. Immigrants in general earn roughly 77 percent of the median income in Norway.

SSB set the median after-tax income in Norway at NOK 325,000 (around USD 53,000) for its latest report year of 2012, meaning that half the total population earns more than that and half less. Median income is not to be confused with average income.

British, Danes and Swedes earned the most
Immigrants, defined as persons living in Norway who are born abroad to two foreign-born parents and four foreign-born grandparents, had median after-tax income of NOK 251,500, according to SSB’s most recent statistics from 2012. Median income for immigrants from EU and EFTA countries, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand collectively was set at NOK 272,800.

Median income for immigrants from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Oceania excluding Australia and New Zealand and European countries outside the EU and EFTA was NOK 233,900.

Immigrants from Great Britain, Denmark and Sweden earned income in line with, or even slightly higher, than the median income for the entire population of Norway. British immigrants collectively had median after-tax income of NOK 349,200, Danes NOK 328,000 and Swedes NOK 320,300. Next came immigrants from the US, at NOK 319,900, Germany at NOK 307,000 and India at NOK 299,200.

Rounding out those immigrants from the top 10 countries ranked by median after-tax income were Bosnia-Hercegovina at NOK 278,600, Chile at NOK 277,300 and Sri Lanka at NOK 272,800.

Refugees earn the least
Immigrants with the lowest media incomes came from Iraq (NOK 195,600), Afghanistan (NOK 192,800), Eritrea (NOK 183,200) and Somalia. Somalians collectively earned just 50 percent of the median income in Norway, or NOK 163,800.

Anne Britt Djuve, research chief at the Fafo foundation, said the statistics confirm patterns set earlier. “Many of those who come from countries like Afghanistan and Somalia are newly arrived refugees,” she told NRK. “A large portion of them are either unemployed or have low pay. The numbers of Afghan and Somalian women who work outside the home are also low.”

Djuve thinks British immigrants top the income lists because many are highly educated and work in the oil industry. “They’re a completely different group of immigrants than those who arrive because they’ve had to flee their countries,” Djuve noted. “Many refugees have little or no income and are even illiterate.”

Income levels for immigrants from EU countries collectively fell from 95 percent of the median in 2006 to 84 percent in 2012. SSB researchers link the decline to large increases in work migrants from Poland and Lithuania, while there also have been more unemployed Europeans arriving after the euro crisis hit in 2008.

The longer immigrants live in Norway, the more they tend to earn, according to SSB. Those living in Norway for less than three years in 2012 earned median income of just NOK 207,000, while the incomes of those who’d been in Norway for 10 years or more earned nearly NOK 341,000.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund