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QUALITY OF LIFE

Why are young people in Norway less happy with life? 

New research has found that during a ten-year period from 2009 to 2019, young people in Norway have gone from being the happiest with their quality of life to the least satisfied. 

Pictured is two young people chatting in Oslo.
Research has found that young people are less happy than they were a decade ago. Pictured is two young people chatting in Oslo. Photo by Darya Tryfanava on Unsplash

The happiness and quality of life of young people in Norway declined between 2009 and 2019, new research has shown. 

Over ten years, the happiness of 15-24 year olds and 25-39 year olds declined 11 percent and 14 percent, respectively. This switched their place in the standings from the happiest age groups to the least satisfied. 

The findings came as a surprise to researchers as younger people had traditionally been the happiest in society. 

“The decline in happiness levels for people between the ages of 15 and 39 is particularly surprising because young people have traditionally used to score higher than older people on feelings of happiness,” one of the researchers, Ottar Hellevik, from the University, told public broadcaster NRK

“It is clear that something is happening to young people, which there is every reason to take seriously,” he added. 

The research from Ottar Hellevik, a professor at the University of Oslo and Tale Hellevik of Oslo Metropolitan University analysed data from quality of life surveys dating back to 1985. 

The research pointed to several factors for the decline in happiness, such as concerns around young people’s career opportunities, their financial situation and worries surrounding life-changing events such as climate change. 

“I am worried about the future. We hear about climate change every day,” Hedda Hugdahl Skjold, a student in Trondheim, told NRK. 

READ ALSO: How happy are foreign residents with their quality of life in Norway?

Another worry for young people was getting onto the property ladder. 

“I am worried about getting on the property ladder. My god, it is a crisis. At least in Norway,” Sigrid Jøras Larsen, also a student, told the public broadcaster. 

“These are completely outrageous prices. I do not have a job and haven’t started saving yet. It makes me quite stressed,” she added. 

The pressures of social media were another factor negatively impacting young people’s happiness. 

“I think you are being watched on all fronts. You are expected to excel in many areas—both socially and at school. You become more visible through social media,” Larsen said. 

Hellvik said that the trend of young people becoming unhappier could be reversed, and it wasn’t a given that they would remain less satisfied with life as they grow older. 

“This can be repaired with the right measures. Among other things, this points to the importance of being able to provide start-up loans and mortgages and better young peoples opportunities to enter the housing market,” the professor explained. 

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QUALITY OF LIFE

How happy are foreign residents with their quality of life in Norway? 

Immigrants in Norway have higher average satisfaction with mental health but have lower satisfaction with their place of residence, leisure and financial situation, according to Statistics Norway's Quality of Life Report 2021.

A survey from Statistics Norway has revealed how happy people are with their quality of life in Norway. Pictured is a group of people hiking Ulriken in Bergen.
A survey from Statistics Norway has revealed how happy people are with their quality of life in Norway. Pictured is a group of people hiking Ulriken in Bergen. Photo by Francois Olwage on Unsplash

More than a quarter of people in Norway, 28 percent, have a low level of satisfaction with life in the country in 2021, a new survey on the quality of life conducted by Statistics Norway found. 

This is a rise of 6 percent compared to 2020, while just over a fifth said they are highly satisfied with life in the country. Compared to 2020, there was a decline in ten of the 12 metrics people were surveyed on regarding their happiness. 

There was also an increase in symptoms of anxiety, depression, sleeping problems and feeling lonely and isolated amongst respondents to the survey. 

Respondents were asked to grade their happiness between one and ten. A score of zero to five meant low levels of happiness, six to eight meant fairly satisfied and nine to ten meant highly satisfied.

Foreign residents were marginally less dissatisfied with their quality of life and slightly more happy with their standard of living than the rest of the population, however.

27 percent of foreign residents said they had a low level of satisfaction with their life and 22 percent responded that they were highly pleased with it their quality of life. 

But like the rest of the population, immigrants are also less satisfied with their lives than in 2020. 

While overall, foreigners and the rest of the population may appear pretty similar when it came to their satisfaction with the quality of life in Norway, there were actually big differences between the two groups, with immigrants being less satisfied with their free-time, living conditions and financial situation. 

“Immigrants differ significantly from the population for all areas of life except when it comes to satisfaction with mental health. They have higher average satisfaction with physical health than the rest of the population, but have lower satisfaction with the place of residence, leisure and financial situation,” the findings of the survey outlined. 

READ ALSO: Five signs you’ve settled into life in Norway

The proportion of immigrants unhappy with their financial situation was 39 percent, 9 percent higher than the general population, with less than 20 percent of foreigners being highly satisfied with their finances. 

Among the other metrics where immigrants were less happy with when it came to life in Norway were leisure, rewarding social relationships, and predominance of positive emotions. 

However, there were a couple of areas where foreigners were much happier than their native counterparts. 

“Immigrants score significantly better than the general population on satisfaction with their physical health and optimism,” the report noted. 

The report also found differences between those from different immigrant backgrounds. 

“If we look at the country background of immigrants, we see that immigrants who come from (Europe) have fewer indicators on which they score worse than the population than immigrants from Asia, Africa etc.,” the report outlined. 

The report’s findings also noted that foreign residents from Asia, Africa and Latin America were less likely to be optimistic for the future than their counterparts from other parts of the world. 

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