Slight fall in Svalbard population

Svalbard has a high level of in- and out-migration, markedly influencing the size of the population. On Jan. 1 2010, 2,481 were registered at Svalbard, 84 fewer than one year earlier. A total of 2,052 of these lived in the Norwegian settlements Longyearbyen and Ny-Ålesund.

During 2009, the number of inhabitants in the Norwegian settlements decreased by 33, whereas the Russian settlement Barentsburg experienced a decrease of 50. The Barentsburg decrease took place during the first half of the year. In the Norwegian settlements, the population increased by 55 during the first half, but decreased by 88 during the second.

The Norwegian settlements experience a population increase some years, whereas in other years there is a decrease. Additionally, there are variations due to the tourist seasons. Barentsburg, on the other hand, experiences a constant downwards trend, and now has less than half the population of just seven years ago.

High level of migration

Those intending to stay in the Norwegian settlements for less than six months are not to register themselves as having migrated to Svalbard, and are therefore not included in the official population statistics. Since at any given time many are at Svalbard for only a brief period, there are always considerably more people at Svalbard than reflected by the statistics.

In the second half of 2009, there were 202 in-migrations and 276 out-migrations, resulting in a net out-migration of 74. In the first half of the year, there was a net in-migration of 37. The year 2009 as a whole therefore saw a net out-migration of 37, referring to the Norwegian settlements. During 2009, 12 persons were born and nine died. The 2009 out-migration corresponds to as much as 21 per cent of the population at the beginning of the year.

Many men above the age of 30

Of the inhabitants in the Norwegian settlements, 57 per cent are men. Except for the age group 20-24 years, there is a male surplus in all age groups. Sixty per cent of those above the age of 30 are men.

Women from Thailand

There are more women than men among the foreign nationals in the Norwegian settlements, and 18 per cent of all women are foreign nationals, compared to 13 per cent of all men. Thai citizens constitute the largest group of the foreign nationals, followed by the Swedes and Russians. Forty per cent of the foreign women and 22 per cent of the foreign men come from Thailand. Excluding the citizens from Thailand and the Philippines, 57 per cent of the remaining foreign nationals are men.

Source: Statistics Norway

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