Over one in ten children live in low-income households in Norway

Over one in ten children live in low-income households in Norway
Photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash
The proportion of children who live in low-income households has increased steadily since 2011, rising to just over one-in-ten, according to a report from Statistics Norway.

The report found that there a total of 115,000 children belong to households in low-income groups. This is around 11 percent of all children in Norway.

“Studies show that people born into low-income families have in increased risk of being left behind in several areas of living, among other things, growing up in low-income shows a connection with negative health outcomes. It has been shown that young people’s mental health is affected by belonging to a low-income family,” the report states.

In its article on the data, Statistics Norway defines “persistent low income” households as having “under 60 percent of [national] median average [income] over three years”.

Children with an immigrant background have accounted for more than half the children from persistent low-income groups since 2013. This is despite only accounting for 18 percent of all children. Nearly 40 percent of children with immigrant backgrounds belong to low-income households, according to the Statistics Norway figures.

“This has a clear connection with the fact that households with a weak connection to the labour market are exposed to low income,” the report said.

Families with a Syrian background had the highest proportion of low-income households with almost nine-out-of-ten children coming from low-income families. Meanwhile, the largest group of children in number are those with a Somali background with over 11,000 of these children living in low-income households. Children with an Eritrean background saw the largest jump.

READ ALSO: Immigrants in Norway more likely to be affected by loneliness 

The report indicated that the reason behind these groups having large numbers of children belonging to low-income households was because the average number of people in the household with an occupation was less than one between 2017 and 2019.

Those with Lithuanian and Polish backgrounds saw decreases of children in low-income households. Children from these countries, as well as Sri Lanka, India and Bosnia-Herzegovina averaged 1.5 people employed in the household in the same period.  

Single parents are much more likely to be found in low-income groups, as are families with three or more children. 

The areas with the largest municipalities were most exposed to low income. Sarpsborg, in southern Norway, overtook Drammen as the municipality with the largest proportion of low-income children with 19.1 percent.


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