Much lower immigration and fewer births have led to a population growth rate in Norway that’s lower than it’s been for more than a decade. State statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway) reports that the actual population increase was down by more than 9 percent during the second quarter compared to the same period last year.
SSB set Norway’s total population at 5,312,300 as of July 1. That was up by 9,600 as a whole, but down from the increase of 10,650 during the months of April, May and June in 2017. SSB noted that statisticians had to go back to 2005 to find weaker second-quarter population growth.
News bureau NTB reported that the main reason was lower immigration and much lower arrivals of asylum seekers. A total of 10,700 people were registered as new arrivals, down by 1,700 last year. Net immigration, which amounts to those who have immigrated minus those who have emigrated, was just 4,600, roughly half the number who arrived in Norway on average between 2008 and 2012. That’s when immigration jumped because of a booming economy at the time and the rising influx of refugees fleeing places like Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea.
SSB linked the decline to the much lower numbers of Syrian and Eritrean refugees who now make their way to Norway. Most are now stopped at the southern border of the European Union and debate continues over how they should be distributed among other countries in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA/EØS), of which Norway is a member.
There has, meanwhile, been a slight increase in net immigration from Eastern European countries while Norway’s birth rate declined. A total of 14,700 children were born in Norway during the second quarter, down from 15,100 during the same period in 2017. The total is also 4 percent lower than the average for April, May and June over the past 20 years, while the number of deaths was constant.