Around 400,000 people in Norway were registered as living on a farm last year, a decline of 10 percent since 2006. Fully 20 percent of agricultural properties with a residential unit lacked full-time residents in 2014.
New figures from state statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway) and presented by the agricultural ministry show that there were 185,700 agricultural properties in Norway last year, of which 149,700 had homes on them. A total of 402,000 people lived in them, 6,000 fewer than the year before.
While nearly 10 percent of the Norwegian population lived on farms in 2006, the amount was down to less than 8 percent last year.
The share of the local population living on farms varies widely around the country, from less than 4 percent in the county of Akershus that surrounds Oslo to more than 20 percent in the mountainous county of Sogn og Fjordane. Nordland County, Trøndelag, Telemark and the Agder counties registered more than 25 percent living on farms.
Many residential units on agricultural properties, though, are used as holiday homes for their owners while the land may be contracted out to active farmers in the area.
SSB registered around a million buildings on agricultural properties in Norway, accounting for around a fourth of all buildings in Norway. Around 216,000 were built before 1900 or are under historic preservation orders (fredet).
The decline in full-time residents of Norwegian farms reflects an ongoing trend of people moving from rural to urban areas to study and eventually work, while retaining family and holiday connections to rural areas.