The Kingdom of Norway, a Nordic country in Northern Europe, is home to more than 5 million people. As one the richest countries in the world, with the world’s fourth highest income per person, Norway has a low rate of poverty and one of the lowest rates of child mortality. Almost 85% of the population live in urban centres. In particular, more than 700,000 people reside in the nation’s capital, Oslo, while over 1 million, a fifth of the population, live in Oslo’s greater urban area.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Norway since the early 1960s.
While experiencing a low rate over poverty, over 10% of children live in low-income households and 1 in 5 in a household unable to afford an unforeseen expense. Despite equating to 18% of all children living in Norway, children with an immigrant background are over-represented, accounting for almost 60% of children in persistently low-income households. Children in poor families live on the margins of society, growing up in families under pressure and at risk of social exclusion.
Young people are almost three times more likely to experience unemployment, with a national rate around 5% while almost 15% of youth are affected. This impacts over 150,000 15–29-year-olds. Most of these young people are also not in education or training, accounting for well over 10% of all young people. Young people who are out of work and education lack opportunities to gain and improve their skills, exacerbating employment and socio-economic challenges, and increasing their risk of poverty.
Around 20% of children and young people do not achieve a minimum proficiency in reading or mathematics and around 40% lack proficiency in both subjects. The consequences of a poor educational background can be profound, from slower progress in learning, and restricted social and emotional development, to worse prospects for future employment as well as a greater likelihood so social exclusion and risk of poverty in adulthood.