Population of Norway 2021

As of 2021, the latest population of Norway is 5,467,439, based on AllCityPopulation calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Population Distribution

Total population 5,467,439
Population growth rate 0.85%
Birth rate 12.20 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall life expectancy 80.44 years
Men life expectancy 77.76 years
Women life expectancy 83.27 years
Age structure
0-14 years 17.99%
15-64 years 65.07%
65 years and above 16.94%
Median age 39.10 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 0.98
Population density 16.89 residents per km²
Urbanization 78.60%
94.4% Norwegians, about 40,000 Samit (Sami) and 10,000 Finns (Kvener); Proportion of foreigners 2015: 9.9%
Lutherans 86% (state church), other Christians 3%, other 1%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.954
HDI ranking 1st out of 194

People in Norway

More than five million people live in Norway. 83 percent of them live in cities, 17 percent in rural areas. Most of the cities are on the coast of the country, where the climate is milder and the area is more accessible than in the mountains. The biggest cities are Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger. All of these cities are in the south of the country. Overall, the south is much more populated than the north.

The Sami people live in the north of the country. It is distributed over the countries Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, with by far most of the Sami live in Norway. Their settlement area is also called Lapland.

There are other small groups living in Norway as minorities. They also include two groups of Finns. Forest fins immigrated to Norway (and Sweden) in the 17th century. First they created areas for fields in their homeland by clearing fire. When the yield decreased after a few years, new forests had to be cleared and so the Finns came to Norway. Their settlement area in Norway was called Finnmark. So the area is still called the Norwegian province today. The people of forest Finnish descent living in Norway today are integrated into Norwegian society and no longer speak Finnish.

The Kvenen are also of Finnish descent. About 10,000 live in Norway. Most of them came to Norway in the 18th and 19th centuries, but before 1945. Their language is Kven, which is related to Finnish, but is also very different.

Languages in Norway

In Norway they speak Norwegian. Along with Danish, Swedish and Icelandic, Norwegian is one of the Scandinavian languages. They originated from Old Norse, the language of the Teutons in Northern Europe. With Swedes and especially with Danes, Norwegians can communicate quite well if they speak slowly.

Bokmål and Nynorsk

There are two forms of Norwegian that are considered standard Norwegian (as opposed to dialects). Most Norwegians (85 to 90 percent) use Bokmål, which translates as “book language”. It is based on Danish. The second form is the Nynorsk (“New Norwegian”). Nynorsk is primarily used in the southwest and is based on rural Norwegian dialects. You can see the distribution in the country on the map.

Incidentally, both variants are taught in school. Here is an example: “What’s your name?” is heter you on Bokmål Hva? and on Nynorsk Kva you serene? The difference is small, but there is. Both are written languages. On the other hand, the dialects of Norwegian are mainly spoken.

By the way, Norwegian has the letter Æ for our ä (lower case: æ) and for ö there is Ø (lower case: ø). The o is usually given as Å and å. If there is an o in the word, it is usually pronounced like u. Oslo speaks more like “Uslu”. For ü there is the y.

Minority languages

In addition to Norwegian, the minorities in the country also speak their own languages: the Sami speak Sami and the Kveni speak Kven. Only the forest fins have adapted completely and no longer speak Finnish. Sami children have the right to school in Sami if they live in Sami areas or if more than ten children are Sami.

Religions in Norway

79 percent of Norwegians belong to the Evangelical Church, the Norwegian Church. As the largest religious community, it is considered a people’s church. 2 percent of Norway’s residents are Catholics and Muslims. Around 13 percent have no religious affiliation.

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