The Norwegian population has continued to grow, but at an increasingly contained rate (in the last decade, approximately 4 ‰ of annual increase): the 1980 census recorded 4,091,000 residents, which rose in 1992 to 4,274,030. With the exception of Finnmark, which has been experiencing a slight continuous demographic decline for some time, and part of the inland mountainous areas, the increase in population affects the whole territory, especially the coastal areas. Population between rural and urban areas appears even more unbalanced than in the past: the urban population, which had remained under 50% of the total for a long time, in 1991 was estimated at around 75%, without however being the main centers benefit from this thickening.
While Oslo for over thirty years has kept its population stationary around 460,000 residents (but its metropolitan area has grown a lot), other among the most populous cities, such as Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger, Kristiansand, Drammen, Tromsø experienced phases of intense growth up to the mid-seventies, only to stop or even regress. Due to the smallness of internal movements, small and medium-sized cities have welcomed most of the demographic increase and have strengthened their respective productive systems (manufacturing activities, exploitation of hydroelectric resources, etc.).
Well underway from the postwar period to a growing socio-economic development, thanks to a rational use of fish, water and mineral resources, Norway has found in the hydrocarbons of the North Sea the element that has allowed to rebalance the dependence on foreign products primarily food. Agriculture has a modest economic role, not so much for the share of the population involved (about 5.8% in 1991), or for the scarce agricultural area (2.7%), but because it essentially supplies cereals for food. animal or industrial processing (oats, barley); these productions, however, along with that of wheat, have increased considerably in recent years. Stable or slightly downsized, but still of great importance, are the livestock activities (especially sheep – 2.2 million head -; decreasing cattle.
The Norwegian industry – almost entirely based on the availability of electricity (just over 121 million kWh produced in 1990), and this, in turn, almost exclusively of water origin – has increasingly oriented itself towards those sectors that can make use of national electrification and natural resources.
Among the industries, the transformation of iron into steel and ferroalloys (which partly uses Swedish ore), shipbuilding, electrometallurgy of zinc and aluminum (for which bauxite is fully imported) play an important role. For their part, pyrites and hydrocarbons feed the chemical industry, while, in a completely different sector, the availability of more than 11 million m 3 of wood allows a decent production to the paper industry. For the rest, industrial activity is not very developed, except in some particular sectors, such as that of the construction of oil platforms or support ships, for which Norway has a leading position in world production.
As mentioned, the Norwegian economic situation was significantly affected by the discovery of oil (93 million t in 1991) and natural gas (27,278 million m 3) in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, mostly exported, with the achievement of balance or – in certain years – even of a surplus in the trade balance. Negative effects, however, were not lacking: a certain abandonment of traditional economic sectors (fishing, manufacturing industry) to the advantage of activities induced by oil extraction, a significant increase in prices with a loss of international competitiveness, and perhaps an excessive expansion of public expenditure supported by exports. It is estimated that, at the current rates of exploitation, hydrocarbon reserves can run out in 20-25 years, so their extraction is strictly controlled.
Finally, in recent years there has been a strong increase in trade, especially with EU Europe, despite the substantial contraction of the merchant fleet, which is still among the first in the world.
Economic and financial policy
After a long period characterized by sustained growth in income and domestic demand, sizeable current surpluses, public sector surpluses of the order of 5% of GDP per year and high employment rates, towards the middle of the year Eighties the Norwegian economy showed signs of crisis.
Driven by expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, domestic demand grew by more than 8% in 1986. In the same period, private consumption increased by more than 10% in real terms, causing a sharp rise in imports. The economic overheating, in the presence of high employment, has caused severe pressure on wages. This was reflected in the trend in the inflation rate, which rose to 7.7%, a level higher than that recorded by Norway’s main economic partners. These difficulties were accentuated by the sharp fall in the price of oil which reduced disposable income by about 10% in 1986. In May of that year, the krona was devalued by 10.5% while some measures were introduced. tax restriction. For Norway public policy, please check petsinclude.com.
The adjustment of the Norwegian economy following the fall in the price of energy products led to a slowdown in growth in 1987 and a recession in 1988. The more restrictive monetary policy strongly compressed domestic demand, whose growth has been negative since from 1987 and until 1991; in particular, higher taxes and interest rates have reduced private consumption and investments. However, also due to the sustained trend in wages, the inflation rate remained at higher levels than those of the main partners. economic benefits of Norway, partially reducing the benefits deriving from the devaluation of the crown. Nevertheless, the export performance in real terms remained satisfactory also due to the rapid economic growth recorded by the industrial countries in the period 1987-89. In March 1988, the Norwegian government introduced measures to limit the annual increase in wages to 5%. Given the low level reached by the price of oil, the public surplus, however, contracted. In the most recent period, the growth rate of the Norwegian economy has been increasing, reaching 3.3% in 1992, the highest value since 1986. The rate of inflation has gradually decreased, while large current account surpluses have been recorded.. On the other hand, the situation of public finances has worsened.