While debate rages in Norway over the success of integration policy, and even threatens to topple the government, new statistics suggest Norway has been far more successful in integrating immigrants and immigrants’ children than many other countries. The country ranks high in the numbers of immigrants who are employed and enrolled in higher education.
“Those who say that we haven’t succeeded with integration aren’t in touch with reality,” Trine Skei Grande, the leader of one of the government’s two support parties, the Liberals, told newspaper Dagsavisen this week. The government is currently in crisis over remarks made by a member of the government’s Progress Party, who claimed integration policy in Norway has failed because of the roughly 70 young Muslims who are believed to have joined jihadists in the Middle East.
High level of employment
According to new figures from state statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway), 63.1 percent of all immigrants aged 15 to 74 were employed in j2013. That compared to 68.6 percent for the Norwegian population as a whole in the same age group.
Fully 73 percent of immigrants coming from other European countries were employed, while 55.2 percent of those from Asia and 42 percent of those from Africa had jobs.
Statistics also show that children of immigrant parents in Norway were more likely to do better than their parents, both in terms of work and schooling. They also do well in high school and were more likely to go directly into higher education than their fellow high school students as a whole. Dagsavisen reported that it was much more common for children born in Norway to immigrant parents to study at university than it was for the rest of the population in the same age group.
Oslo second out of 46 European cities
The new statistics show that 27 percent of Oslo’s population is now made up of residents who do not have an ethnic Norwegian background, with people from more than 150 countries living in the capital. Already in 2012, Oslo ranked second among 46 other European cities in the Council of Europe’s index for integration. It weighs factors such as employment and education, and in Oslo, a high degree of minority children go on to study the law, medicine and engineering.
Oslo also performed well in the Council of Europe’s Inter-Cultural Cities Index in 2012 as did Norway’s oil capital of Stavanger, which scored 83 out of 100 possible points in factors used by the index to measure integration. Rogaland, the county where Stavanger is located, scored the highest level of employment among immigrants according to Statistics Norway’s latest numbers for 2013.