Norway’s population aging rapidly

People at Karl Johan.People at Karl Johan.Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix

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Norway’s population is ageing rapidly and in just ten years, there will be more elderly people than children and young people.

This is according to Statistics Norway’s population projection that was presented on Wednesday.

“Clear signs of an ageing population, a lower population growth as well as more and older immigrants are some of the trends that will characterize the population development in Norway in the future. In 2030, for the first time, there will be more elderly people than children in this country,” said senior researcher Astri Syse, who heads Statistics Norway’s work on the survey.

6 million by 2050
The population would increase from 5.4 million today to 6 million in 2050 and 6.3 million in the year 2100.

The population would continue to increase in Norway throughout the century, primarily due to immigration and the growth would be lower than previous projections have shown.

Today, there are around 790,000 immigrants in the country, and that figure would increase to 1.1 million by 2060. The majority would come from distant countries in Africa and Asia, according to Statistics Norway’s projection.

“Growth among immigrants does not come in the younger age groups. On the other hand, we are seeing a sharp increase in immigrants in older age groups. One in four immigrants in Norway in 2060 will be 70 years or more, according to the main alternative. By 2060, immigrants will not only work in the health, nursing and care sectors, but also be users of these services,” said Syse.

Until 2050, there would be more will be more births than deaths before the trend changes. Nevertheless, the population would continue to grow due to immigration.

80-plus will triple in numbers
At the same time, Statistics Norway’s forecast shows a strong ageing population. Today, 940,000 Norwegians are over 65 and by the turn of the century there would be almost 2 million. The number that is 80 or older will more than triple by 2060.

The Coronavirus pandemic is likely to cause a slight decline in population growth in the first couple of years due to closed borders and low mobility, according to Statistics Norway.

“We therefore expect that the Coronavirus pandemic to reduce both fertility and immigration – in the short term – while we do not expect mortality to be affected,” said senior researcher Syse.

Two-child families
There is historically low fertility in Norway today and Statistics Norway expects that it will continue for the next five years – a development partly linked to the Coronavirus pandemic. Then some upswing is expected.

 “Women in Norway still give birth to children. The two-child norm still stands strong but fewer choose to have more than two children. Thus, the final number of children has only dropped slightly, from just over 2 children per woman to 1.96,” said Syse.

She pointed out that many women wait to have children and that it may be a matter of whether they will have the second child.

The projection assumes an average of 1.7 children per woman in 2060. This is lower than the average so far, which is 1.96 children, but at the same time higher than the historically low level we currently have at 1.53.

Statistics Norway expects lower immigration
In the longer term, Statistics Norway expects lower immigration than before because the population in other countries is also aging. Although the UN estimates an increase in the population going forward, the biggest growth will be in older age groups that generally move little across national borders.

The main alternative in the projection is based on medium development in both fertility, life expectancy and immigration. Statistics Norway emphasized that there is uncertainty in the projection, and the uncertainty would increase further in the time that is being investigated. The work on this year’s report has been extra challenging because of the uncertainty that the Coronavirus outbreak brings.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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