Half of Norwegians don't want more immigrants

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Oslo schoolchildren in a Constitution Day parade, May 17th (Photo: Vegard Grøtt/Scanpix)
14:00 CEST+02:00
Attitudes towards immigrants have softened slightly in the last two years, a new study shows, but almost half of Norwegians still see major room for improvement in the integration process.

Some 46 percent of Norwegians believe the integration process is functioning quite badly or very badly, according to the latest “integration barometer”.

Two years ago, this figure was three percentage points higher. In 2005, however, just 37 percent of respondents expressed dissatisfaction with how immigrants were adapting to life in Norway.  

Similarly, 46 percent of respondents were opposed to the idea of letting more immigrants into Norway. This too represented an improvement in attitudes towards immigrants: in 2010, 53 percent were opposed to welcoming more newcomers, newspaper Aftenposten reports.

Slightly more than a third of the 1,400 people who took part in the survey said they regarded immigration as a serious threat to commonly held Norwegian values. In 2010, the last time the survey was carried out by the the Directorate of Integration and Diversity, the equivalent figure was ten points higher.

In a further example of a slight improvement in attitudes towards new arrivals, 40 percent said they were sceptical of people with Islamic beliefs, a figure that was 11 points lower than in 2010.

A clear majority said immigrants themselves should bear the responsibility for their own integration, by taking measures such as finding work and learning Norwegian.

More than half of respondents were critical of efforts by government agencies and the general public to help immigrants integrate.

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The survey also showed that 40 percent of respondents would find it difficult to live in an area with a large immigrant population, although 80 percent said children benefited from attending schools with pupils from other cultures.

Norway is home to a total of 650,000 first and second-generation immigrants, a figure that has more than doubled since 2000.

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