New increase in the number of social assistance recipients

In 2009, there were 117,700 recipients of social assistance, or 8,000 more than the previous year. The increase in total payments was more moderate, whereby payments per recipient were somewhat down.

From 1993 to 2008, the number of recipients of social assistance administered by the municipalities went down year by year, from 165,000 to 109,000. In 2009, that number went up by 7.5 per cent, while total payments were up by 4.4 per cent to NOK 4.64 billion.

A total of 2.4 per cent of the Norwegian population received social assistance during 2009. The number of recipients per inhabitant was about twice as high in the northern county of Finnmark compared to the western county of Sogn og Fjordane. Payments per recipient in larger cities are twice as high as payments in rural areas.

Of the recipients, four out of ten were single men and two out of ten were single women. In this group of single persons, men received on average higher payments per month than women. One explanation is that more women recipients also had a salary, while more men depended on social assistance as their main source of income.

A total of 50,000 recipients or 42 per cent were dependent on social assistance as their main source of income. Only 10 per cent had a salary as their main source of income. Seventy per cent were unemployed or not in the labor force.

Source: Statistics Norway

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