Storting election 2009. Survey Stable and low turnout among immigrants
At the Storting election last year the electoral turnout among Norwegian citizens with an immigrant background was 24 percentage points lower than the total electoral turnout at 76.4 percent. Electors with a background from North and Central America, and Oceania recorded the highest voter turnout with 69 percent. The lowest voter turnout was recorded among electors with a background from Asia, with 50 percent. Immigrants with a European and African background also recorded low turnouts with 53 percent participation. As regards Europe, the survey indicates that immigrants from Eastern Europe and Turkey have a particularly low turnout with 44 and 42 percent participation respectively.
Immigrants with an African background in particular have increased their participation since the Storting election in 2005. The voter turnout for this group increased by 7 percentage points from 2005 to 2009. Only electors with a European background have experienced a decrease in their participation – by 4 percentage points – since the election in 2005.
Participation varies hugely by country background
Among the five immigrant groups with the highest number of electors in the Storting election last year – Pakistan, Vietnam, Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq – the picture is composite. Since the election in 2005, the voter turnout has increased for electors with a background from Iran, Iraq and Pakistan, while it has decreased for electors with a background from Vietnam and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The highest voter turnout of these has electors of Pakistani origin with 55 percent, while electors of Vietnamese origin have the lowest with 36 percent. In total, electors with a background from these countries constitute 1/3 of all the persons with an immigrant background entitled to vote in the Storting election 2009.
The survey indicates – as it did in the corresponding survey in 2005 – that immigrants with a background from Sweden and Denmark have the highest voter turnout of all immigrant groups (81 and 79 percent). This is a small increase since the election in 2005. Electors with a background from Kosovo, Macedonia and Vietnam have the lowest turnout, with 25, 31 and 36 percent respectively. For Macedonia (7 percentage points) and Vietnam (5 percentage points), the voter turnout decreased compared to the election in 2005.
Differences in the voter turnout between women and men evened out
At the Storting Election in 2005, Norwegian females with an immigrant background had a turnout about 4 percentage points higher than the males. At the election in 2009 this difference was evened out and both sexes had a voter turnout of 52 percent. This trend is also noticeable from the election in 2001 to the election in 2005, when the difference between females and males was 5 percentage points. In general, the voter turnout for Norwegian female immigrants decreased and the turnout for Norwegian male immigrants increased.
Female voters with a background from Europe and South America have a higher participation than males from the same area. While males with a background from North and Central America, Africa, Asia and Oceania have a higher participation than females from the same area. Males with a background from North and Central America, and Oceania have the highest participation, while females from Asia have the lowest.
Participation varies by 24 percent
The composition of the group of Norwegian citizens with an immigrant background entitled to vote shows that 84 percent, or 137,000 persons, have a background from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Oceania except Australia and New Zealand, and Europe except the EU/EEA. This group constitutes 4 percent of the total number of persons entitled to vote at the Storting election in 2009, and makes the largest contribution to the overall low participation among persons with an immigrant background who are entitled to vote, compared to other Norwegian voters. The voter turnout for this group was 48 per cent in the Storting election of 2009, while the turnout for the remaining voters with an immigrant background (EU/EEA, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) was 72 percent.
Age and long period of residence increase the turnout
The age distribution and the period of residence are important factors when differences in the voter turnout shall be interpreted. In general, participation increases with higher age and longer period of residence. The three oldest age cohorts have the highest turnout in the Storting election in 2009, with 65 percent as the highest in the cohort 60 years and older. The three oldest age cohorts constitute 55 percent of all persons with an immigrant background who are entitled to vote. The youngest age cohorts have the lowest participation, and the voters between 26 and 29 years old have the lowest turnout with 39 percent.
The participation also normally increases by the period of residence. Immigrants resident for more than 30 years have the highest turnout with 69 percent. However, the immigrants with the shortest period of residence do not have the lowest turnout. In this election it was the group with 10 to 19 years residence that participated least of all (44 percent). The group resident from 0 to 9 years had increased their participation compared to the election in 2005 – from 44 to 50 percent. This group also increased their participation from 2001 to 2005; an increase which strengthens itself further in the last Storting election.
Source: Statistics Norway