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How many foreigners are in Norway's top one percent of earners?

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
How many foreigners are in Norway's top one percent of earners?
The top one percent of earners in Norway comprised about 41,600 people in 2021. Photo by Eirik Skarstein on Unsplash

What's the threshold for joining Norway's top one percent in terms of income? Roughly 1.8 million kroner per year. But who exactly falls into this category?


In most countries, the composition of the income distribution of the upper ranks of high earners often sparks curiosity and debate.

Despite its reputation for equitable wealth distribution and social welfare, Norway is no different.

READ ALSO: How wealthy are Norwegians really?

As we turn the spotlight towards this exclusive club of high earners, a question emerges: How many foreigners are among the upper echelons of income in Norway?

This question is especially pertinent as figures show that foreign residents typically earn considerably less than their Norwegian counterparts, with one notable exception.

The one percent threshold

In order to identify the one percent of top earners in Norway, one needs to look at the income figures of Statistics Norway (SSB).

As Jon Epland, who covers income and living condition statistics at the SSB, told The Local, the top one percent of earners in the country comprised about 41,600 people in 2021 (the most recent available figures).

"If we define income roughly in the same way as in Sweden (i.e., that earnings are the sum of employment income plus taxable pension/transfers), the top one percent comprise about 41,600 persons aged 20 and over, according to 2021 figures.

"The 99th income cut-off, that is, the lowest amount required to be included in the top one percent, was roughly 1,8 million kroner in 2021, slightly higher than in Sweden," Epland said.

The 1.8 million kroner, amounts to 150,000 kroner in income per month. The average monthly wage in Norway was 53,150 kroner in 2022


The composition of top earners in Norway

As is shown in the SSB's tables below, the majority of the top one percent earners in Norway in 2021 were men (83 percent), and their median age was 52.

Few among the top one percent of earners in 2021 were immigrants or from an immigrant background (11.4 percent) - a total of 4,735 people (if we count both immigrants and people born in Norway with immigrant parents). Not all children born in Norway are eligible for citizenship, so children with two foreign born parents are considered foreign residents and not Norwegian nationals. 

While foreign residents and those born to two non-Norwegian nationals make up 11.4 percent of the highest earners, immigrants make up 16 percent of the population, while the children of two immigrant parents born in Norway account for 3.9 percent. This means that while foreigners or those with an immigrant background account for nearly 20 percent of the population, they only make up 11.4 percent of the very highest earners.  


Table 1 - Top 1 percent

Figures: Statistics Norway (SSB)

Among them, immigrants from Sweden (482), the UK (410), Germany (368), Denmark (325), and the USA (240) constituted the largest groups.

They were followed by immigrants from Iran (168), France (148), Poland (139), India (127), The Netherlands (121), Pakistan (110), and Russia (106).

Table 2 - top 1 percent Norway

Figures: Statistics Norway (SSB)


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