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Poverty in Norway
USA Today ranked Norway, a European nation known for its beautiful national parks, winter sports and northern lights, eighth on the list of Top 25 Richest Countries in the World. The average life expectancy for a Norwegian at birth is 82.5 years, over a decade more than the global average. Norway is also one of the countries with the lowest child mortality rate. Impressively, Norway also has a very low poverty rate (at 0.5% as of 2017). However, contrary to the conventional image of Norway being a very affluent country, many Norwegians still live in poverty. Here are four facts about poverty in Norway.

4 Facts About Poverty in Norway

  1. Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, the unemployment rate in Norway was 15.7% as of June 2020. The unemployment rate in Norway is at its highest since WWII. Pre-COVID-19, however, the unemployment rate in Norway had been already decreasing since 2016, from 4.68% (the nation’s highest unemployment rate since 2005) to 3.97% in a matter of three years. The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration has a website for unemployed Norwegians to use in order to seek unemployment benefits.
  2. As of 2016, 36% of children born to immigrants were living in poverty in Norway, compared to 5% of children with parents native to Norway. This economic discrepancy is due to Norwegian immigrants often having large families but only one source of income. Many immigrants also have skills that their home countries considered valuable but inapplicable in the Norwegian job market. Another factor to consider is how common it is for Norwegian children in poverty to lack access to proper education, perpetuating issues related to poverty as they become adults and for families of their own.
  3. The age range with the highest risk of being in poverty in Norway is 18-34 years of age. Poverty affects many people in this age group the most because they are graduating from universities with debt, have large families and/or cannot find suitable employment within the Norwegian job market. There is also a sharp increase in poverty rates for elderly Norwegians (from 70 to 90 years of age) because they are past the typical working age. Other determinants of poverty include education level, family size, employment and marital status.
  4. Poverty is low in Norway due to the nation’s emphasis on collectivism and efficiency with job placement. The nation places major significance on cultural identity, values and practices, all of which add to their homogenous society that allows for many native Norwegian people to prosper socioeconomically. The country also has a rather small population (5.4 million as of 2020) even though Norway has a large amount of landmass. Norway also significantly contributes to petroleum export, which improves its economy greatly. Sustained tourism also positively adds to the nation’s wealth. Norway has a lesser rate of migration compared to other nations such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The nation has a stable democratic system of government with highly effective and trustworthy politicians who are extremely proactive in handling the welfare system. Reasons such as these have contributed to recent miscellaneous surveys citing Norway as “the best country to live in.” While this may be true for some, this ranking does not take into account the voices of those who live in poverty.

Looking Ahead

Although Norway has a very small poverty rate, the nation still experiences poverty: more specifically, poverty in Norway’s immigrant communities. One way Norway can address poverty is by helping ease the transition of immigrants. Potential methods include more school funding, free or low-cost language lessons and an expansion of the job market. An example of a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Norway’s poor is Care International’s Norwegian chapter, a global group whose volunteers participate in humanitarian aid and poverty-fighting projects. Being such an affluent and progressive country, with some more money, time and energy, Norway can be on the track to lowering its poverty rate to zero.

Kia Wallace
Photo: Pixabay

Poverty-in-Norway
The world’s richest country is Norway. The population of Norway is 4.5 million people. Despite the wealth of the country due to oil commodities, poverty in Norway still exists. In the capital of Oslo, 8.3 percent of the population suffers from poverty. The populations that are affected the most by poverty are immigrants, families with children and single parents, and those who are on social security.

As of 2014, child poverty is on the rise in Norway. It is estimated that 78,000 children are suffering at this time. Three point four percent of children are living in a state of ‘relative’ poverty. In Norway, it is defined as households with income below 50 per cent of the national median.

Of the children of Norway, 3.4 percent of children live below 50 percent of the poverty level, 1.6 percent of the children live below 40 percent of the poverty level and 7.5 percent live 60 percent below the poverty level.

In Norway, the defining features of their national estimates of the percentage of the population falling below the poverty line are based on surveys of sub-groups. The results are then adjusted based upon the number in each group. However, it is important to remember that wealthier nations generally employ more generous standards of poverty than poorer nations.

 

Poverty in Norway

 

Norway is considered to be a relatively rural country as compared to other countries within the EU. Only half of its population lives in cities and towns that have above 8,000 residents. Living conditions are said to be an issue for the impoverished. Overcrowded living conditions accompanies economic straddles in their cities. There are many problems in northern Norway, among their municipalities.

In Norway, a long standing and successful social welfare system exists. It has strong fiscal redistribution mechanisms designed to aim both at the impoverished and at a regional level. It is for this reason alone, that it is said that absolute poverty is rare. As it stands, Norway has 11 percent of the population under low-income level.

In comparison to the other European Union countries, the household poverty threshold is higher in Norway. In Norway, elderly people have a higher low-income risk than comparative age groups, compared to other European countries. In stark contrast, the vulnerable groups of Norway experience the opposite.

The contrast is even starker in oil-rich Norway, where the poorest 38 percent of the people fare better, on average, than the poorest 38 percent of Americans, despite a lower median per capita GDP.

-Erika Wright

Sources: CS Monitor, Index Mundi, News in English, Panam Post, UNICEF,
Photo: Romania Insider