Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Demographics of a Doomed City

Cultural Enrichment News

Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer has translated an article about the emptying out of Oslo’s native Norwegian population and its replacement by immigrants and their descendants.

The translator includes this introductory note:

I have abbreviated and translated this article from yesterday’s VG which describes the depressing demographic trends in Oslo. It confirms what Norwegians have known for years now: areas where ethnics move in are left behind by the natives.

Notice that the Council leader interviewed in this article is happy that the population is rising at such a rapid pace, and doesn’t mind that the number of Norwegians in the city is dwindling (he definitely should, because they are taxpayers). Surely he must be aware of the disastrous consequences of this madness.

The city of Oslo will have to invest billions of dollars on infrastructure projects in the next few decades in order to keep up with the population explosion, money that they simply haven’t got, the spending of which will eventually financially cripple the city. Not to mention that the city is not able to keep up to speed on these infrastructure projects.

Another thing worth keeping in mind is that the SSB (State Statistics Bureau) doesn’t classify ethnic Norwegians as “ethnic Norwegians”; they only classify people as immigrants, children born to immigrant parents, or others. Which basically means that the Norwegian-born child of a Somali father born in Somalia and a Somali mother born in Norway would be classified as other, and that it more than likely would be classified as ‘ethnic Norwegian’ by Norwegian newspapers unless they had hard facts proving otherwise.

The professor interviewed in the article also mentions that house prices could ‘drive’ people out of Oslo (read: Norwegians). But this simply doesn’t make sense, as Norwegians in general are more affluent than immigrants, which basically means that if house prices are too high in Oslo the immigrants would be the ones moving out and the Norwegians moving in. Real estate is more affordable once you’re outside the Oslo city limits.

Below is the translated article from E24, a VG subsidiary. Notice the lemming-like formula: “All the other cities in Europe are filling up with immigrants, so it’s only natural for Oslo to do the same thing!”

Ethnic Norwegians move out of the capital

Data released by SSB (Norwegian Bureau of Statistics) show that the number of ethnic Norwegians is declining in Oslo. At the same time the city of Oslo is growing rapidly.

In May SSB presented its report on relocation patterns in Norway for 2011. The report includes among other things data on domestic relocation trends. The statistics are divided into “immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents” and “general population”.

The report shows that 22,239 ethnic Norwegians moved away from Oslo to other Norwegian municipalities in 2011. At the same time 21,594 ethnic Norwegians moved to Oslo from other Norwegian municipalities.

Oslo had a net reduction of 745 ethnic Norwegians in 2011

An examination of similar statistics from previous years shows that this is an established trend. The statistics show that similar numbers for 2010 were 1216, and that the net loss of ethnic Norwegians moving away from the city in 2008 was 804.

For “immigrants and Norwegian-born to immigrant parents” there was a net increase. The figures show that 328 more immigrants moved to Oslo from other Norwegian municipalities than immigrants moved away from Oslo to other municipalities.

This is also an established trend. The similar number from 2010 was 250, and 513 in 2008.

Another report from SSB shows that 18,744 newly arrived immigrants settled in the capital in 2011, while 10,002 immigrants moved abroad in the same period. This means that there was a net immigration to Oslo of 8,742 people.

Council leader is happy

“I’m happy that Oslo is growing so fast, and I’m not worried that more Norwegians move away from Oslo than into Oslo,” says council leader Stian Berger Røsland to E24.

“Oslo is becoming more international and diverse. This is a trend that we recognise from other cities in Europe. It would be strange if Oslo didn’t experience the same trend,” he says.

Don’t like to be a minority

Associate Professor, Erling Dokk Holm from Markedshøyskolen (School of Marketing) believes that one of the reasons for this trend is that ethnic Norwegians have never been minorities before.

“Everybody wants to live where their ethnic group make up the majority. We see this in other countries too, such as the United States. Norwegians have never been minorities, and when they sense that this is happening to them many decide to move to areas where they are part of the majority population,” Dokk Holm tells E24.

He also believes that many decide to move when the situation reaches a tipping point.

“That point is reached when a neighbourhood reaches a certain proportion of ethnic minorities, which means that some might find the neighbourhood less attractive and decide to move elsewhere.”

Dokk Holm also believes that house prices have an impact on why some decide to move.

For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.