Demographics of Western Norway

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A picture from Bergen fish market, taken between 1890 and 1905
Buøy, a neighbourhood in Stavanger
Some parts of western Norway have small populations, such as here at Stalheim, Voss.

The Western Norway region of Norway showed the highest population growth rate in Norway in 2010, at 1.44%. The fertility rate in this region is higher than in other parts of Norway. The population as of 1 January 2010 was 1,263,464, with 37.7% of the population living in Hordaland, 33.8% in Rogaland, 19.8% in Møre og Romsdal, and 8.4% in Sogn og Fjordane. 60% of the population is under 40 years old, and 30% is under 20 years old. Many of the historical immigrants in Western Norway came from countries like Scotland, England, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Western Norway is the part of Norway which has the largest immigration from the western world.

The following demographic statistics are from the Statistics Norway, unless otherwise indicated.

Historical population[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1769 193,259 —    
1801 230,053 +19.0%
1855 392,588 +70.7%
1900 560,765 +42.8%
1950 811,411 +44.7%
1955 846,977 +4.4%
1960 887,537 +4.8%
1965 919,909 +3.6%
1970 961,676 +4.5%
1975 1,002,465 +4.2%
1980 1,033,902 +3.1%
1985 1,061,367 +2.7%
1990 1,089,763 +2.7%
1995 1,124,756 +3.2%
2000 1,159,176 +3.1%
2001 1,164,937 +0.5%
2002 1,170,763 +0.5%
2003 1,178,263 +0.6%
2004 1,185,699 +0.6%
2005 1,193,168 +0.6%
2006 1,201,833 +0.7%
2007 1,212,856 +0.9%
2008 1,228,392 +1.3%
2009 1,245,439 +1.4%
2010 1,263,464 +1.4%
2015? 1,330,975 +5.3%
2020? 1,397,393 +5.0%
2025? 1,464,086 +4.8%
2030? 1,525,853 +4.2%
Source: Statistics Norway [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9].

Age and sex distribution[edit]

Age structure[edit]

Norway[edit]

(2010 estimate)
0–14 years: 18.9% (male 470,253; female 447,472)
15–64 years: 66.2% (male 1,641,821; female 1,575,980)
65 years and over: 14.9% (male 314,678; female 407,995)

Western Norway[edit]

(2010 estimate)
0–14 years: 19.9% (male 128,405; female 123,094)
15–64 years: 65.8% (male 429,302; female 401,410)
65 years and over: 14.3% (male 79,008; female 102,245)

Population[edit]

    • 1,159,176 (1 January 2000)
    • 1,263,464 (1 January 2010)
  • Population growth
    • 104,288 (8.9%)
    • 1,263,464 (1 January 2010)
    • 1,397,393 (1 January 2020)
  • Population growth
    • 133,929 (10.6%)
    • 1,397,393 (1 January 2020)
    • 1,525,853 (1 January 2030)
  • Population growth
    • 128,460 (9.1%)

Population – comparative[edit]

Slightly larger than East Timor and Swaziland, but slightly smaller than Hawaii and Estonia.

Population growth rate[edit]

1.44% (in 2010)

Population growth rate – comparative[edit]

Slightly larger than El Salvador and Iran, but slightly smaller than India.

Births and deaths[edit]

Births Deaths Birth surplus Birth rate Death rate Net migration rate
2000 16,345 10,405 5,940 14.1 8.9 -0.1
2008 16,644 10,028 6,616 13.5 8.1 8.5

Life expectancy at birth[edit]

(2008)
total population: 80.4 years
male: 77.8 years
female: 83.0 years

Total fertility rate[edit]

Western Norway has a higher fertility rate than Iran, Iceland, France and the United States, and it is the highest in Norway.

County Fertility rate (2009)
Rogaland 2.18
Møre og Romsdal 2.13
Sogn og Fjordane 2.10
Hordaland 2.03

Language[edit]

Main article: Norwegian language

Literacy[edit]

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: NA%
female: NA%

Immigration[edit]

Country of origin  Norway Immigrants Eastern Europe Asia Western Europe Africa Nordic countries Latin America North America Oceania Total
Population [1] 1,148,324 115,140 35,913 33,154 16,726 11,085 10,103 5,082 2,588 489 1,263,464
Percent of total 90.88% 9.11% 2.84% 2.62% 1.32% 0.87% 0.79% 0.40% 0.20% 0.03% 100%
Percent of immigrants 100% 31.19% 28.79% 14.52% 9.62% 8.77% 4.41% 2.24% 0.42% 9.11%
Country of origin  Norway Immigrants Asia Eastern Europe Western Europe Africa Nordic countries Latin America North America Oceania Total
Hordaland [1] 434,081 42,374 12,292 13,065 5,325 4,740 3,405 2,497 872 178 477,175
Rogaland [1] 378,956 48,991 14,989 14,334 7,465 4,391 4,447 1,758 1,370 237 427,947
Møre og Romsdal [1] 234,477 16,785 6,143 4,338 2,680 1,287 1,541 496 243 57 251,262
Sogn og Fjordane [1] 100,090 6,990 2,489 1,417 1,256 667 710 331 103 17 107,080

Immigrants in Bergen and Stavanger[edit]

Many people had emigrated from the neighbour to the west, Scotland.
Country Inhabitants[2]
Total 380,450
Ethnic Norwegians 331,209
Immigrants 49,241
 Poland 5,085
 United Kingdom 2,336
 Iraq 2,067
 Germany 1,890
 Vietnam 1,827
 Sweden 1,780
 Turkey 1,769
 Somalia 1,746
 Denmark 1,382
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1,327

Religion[edit]

Bakka kirke in Aurland, Sogn.
Religion in Western Norway
religion percent
Christianity
  
88.65%
Irreligion
  
10.23%
Islam
  
0.85%
Buddhism
  
0.16%
Bahá'í Faith, Judaism, Sikhism
  
0.11%
A liturgy in Stavanger Cathedral.
Saint Paul Church, a Catholic church in Western Norway.

Christianity is the largest religion. 1,054,573 people are members of the Church of Norway. There is also 52,365 members in other Christian churches. Islam has 10,685 adherents in Western Norway, Buddhism has 2,082. 1,171 are of the Bahá'í Faith, Judaism, Sikhism and other religions.

There are more than thousand Protestant churches (in all municipalities), six Catholic churches (in Bergen, Stavanger, Haugesund, Ålesund, Molde and Kristiansund), two mosques (in Bergen and Stavanger), two Orthodox churches (in Bergen and Stavanger), and one Hindu temple (in Bergen).

The name "Bible Belt" has been applied historically to the Southern and Western parts of Norway. The region thus defined included most of Western Norway, especially Rogaland, Møre og Romsdal and some parts of Hordaland. Notably absent from this belt are bigger cities like Bergen and Stavanger where many people identify themselves as non-religious or with other religions. In these areas the conservative branch of the Church of Norway has a stronghold and the members usually associate themselves to Indremisjonen (Inner Mission). There are also numerous Pentecostals and members of the Free Churches, but these movements are also strongly represented in the rest of the country. The Bible Belt in Norway traditionally reflects the support for the Christian Democratic Party. However, especially since the first decade of the 21st century, conservative bible belt Christians unhappy with the more liberal development of the party have increasingly turned to the Progress Party.[3][4]

Christianity[edit]

Christianity is the largest religious group. Although more and more ethnic Norwegians are less religious, Christian immigrants have increased the population. Many known Christian missionaries came from Western Norway, for example Torill Selsvold Nyborg, who is now the county mayor of Hordaland.

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009
Christianity in Western Norway 1,099,277 1,103,804 1,105,047 1,104,127
Percent 91.4% 91.0% 89.9% 88.6%

Protestantism[edit]

Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Den norske kirkes våpen.svgMembers of the Church of Norway 1,062,634 1,051,209 1,053,114 1,054,573 1,051,762
Percent of total population 89.0% 87.4% 86.8% 85.8% 84.4%
Statue of Saint Sunniva, the patron saint of the Norwegian Diocese of Bjørgvin. According to legend, Sunniva was the heir of an Irish kingdom, but had to flee when a heathen king, who wanted to marry her, invaded. At the Norwegian island of Selja, in the present-day municipality of Selje, she and her followers took refuge in a cave. The locals suspected the foreigners of stealing their sheep, and the ruler Håkon Jarl was sent for. Sunniva and her followers prayed to God that they should not fall into the hands of the heathens, upon which rocks fell down blocking the entrance to the cave.

Protestantism is the majority religion in Norway. Most Norwegians are Lutheran and members of the Church of Norway. Over 85% of the population is member here. Every municipalities have a protestant churches. Many municipalities, for example Austevoll, a small municipality with around 4,000 inhabitants, have over 13 church buildings. Most Norwegians are not active in the church. Nevertheless, there are many who participate to worship at Christmas Eve. People outside the cities are often more religious than the population in the cities, although there are many religious Christians immigrants in the cities.

Catholicism[edit]

Catholicism increased its members in Western Norway due to immigration from Poland, the Philippines, Chile, and other Latin American and European countries. There are six Catholic churches (as of 2004), in Bergen (4,925 members), Stavanger (2,863 members), Haugesund (822 members), Ålesund (595 members), Molde (289) and Kristiansund (212). The largest church is St. Paul church in Bergen. The number of Catholics increased rapidly from 2005, because of immigration (mainly Polish). The capacity in the region is too small for all Catholics, and it is therefore planned to build several Catholic churches in the region, in addition to Orthodox churches.[5]

Year 1995 2000 2004
Members in the Catholic Church 7,760 8,721 9,706
Percent 0.68% 0.75% 0.81%

Orthodoxy[edit]

There are only two Orthodox congregations in Western Norway, in Bergen and Stavanger. 368 people are members in Stavanger, but not all of them live in Rogaland. Congregations in some churches in Bergen have Orthodox worship in different languages. The numbers of Orthodox Christians in the region due to increased immigration from countries such as Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe.[5]

Smaller denominations[edit]

Islam[edit]

The mosque of The Islamic Association of Bergen (Det Islamske Forbundet i Bergen), like most Norwegian mosques situated in a regular town house.

While as many as 7.2% of Oslo's population are Muslims, this figure is only 0.85% in Western Norway. There are two mosques, one in Bergen and Stavanger. In total, 10,685 people members of this religious community.[6]

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009
Islam in Western Norway 8,697 9,540 9,578 10,685
Percent 0.72% 0.78% 0.77% 0.85%

Buddhism[edit]

Buddhism increased its number of adherents from 0 in 2004 to 2,082 in 2009.

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009
Buddhism in Western Norway 1,489 1,583 1,689 2,082
Percent 0.12% 0.13% 0.13% 0.16%

Others[edit]

Year 2006 2007 2008 2009
Bahá'í Faith, Judaism, Sikhism in Western Norway 1,140 1,181 1,171 1,397
Percent 0.09% 0.09% 0.09% 0.11%

Judaism[edit]

Western Norway has a small Jewish coummunity. There has never been a synagogue in this part of the country, but before World War II, there was one congregation in Bergen and one in Kristiansund.

See also[edit]

References[edit]