Navigation and service

Lars Østby (2001)

The Norwegian Survey - Living Conditions among Immigrants 1996: Background and Correlation to other Surveys and Register Statistics*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 26, 3-4/2001, p. 433-442, Opladen: Verlag Leske + Budrich, ISSN: 0340-2398

The Scandinavian welfare states have a long tradition of carrying out surveys of their populations' living conditions. After several rounds of improvements had been achieved in the general population statistics on immigrants, Statistics Norway was asked to conduct a comprehensive survey in 1996 on the living conditions of non-Western immigrants in Norway. A representative sample was drawn of 3,835 immigrants (defined as persons with two foreign-born parents) aged 16-70 from the Former Yugoslavia, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Viet Nam, Sri Lanka, Somalia and Chile. The following variables were covered: country of birth, language, housing conditions, internal migration in Norway, plans for the future, household composition, education, voluntary (unpaid) work, labour market activity, working environment, unemployment, economic conditions, health, violence and danger, social contacts, help between neighbours and use of free time. The interview data were also supplemented with data from registers. The goal of the survey was to register all main aspects of the living conditions of different immigrant groups in Norway in order to achieve comparability with surveys relating to the total population.

The survey revealed,

  • that immigrants were less highly educated than Norwegians. Their labour market participation was generally lower, and their unemployment was much higher. Three per cent of the Norwegian population was actively seeking work, as against 15 per cent of immigrants. Immigrants had substantially lower income than Norwegians, and they relied upon transfers from the government to a higher degree.
  • that one immigrant in five reported having been discriminated against on the housing market; one in seven reported discrimination at the workplace.
  • that the immigrants felt lonely more often than Norwegians.
  • that the reported prevalence of reported illness was somewhat higher among Norwegians than among immigrants because of the greater reported prevalence of allergic illnesses. Immigrants, for their part, reported a greater prevalence of nervous illness than Norwegians.

The reactions to this survey are reported at the end of the article.

* Original title: Die norwegische Erhebung – Lebensbedingungen unter Migranten 1996: Hintergrund sowie Bezug zu anderen Erhebungen und zu den Registerstatistiken (full text in German only)

This Page

© Federal Institute for Population Research - 2017