SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Norway)

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.

Children are at risk

There are 1.1 million children aged 0-17 years, equating to 21% of the population. In a study focused on 12–16-year-olds, about 1 in 5 reported experiencing psychological violence from parents, including being belittled and threatened. A similar number reported witnessing physical and/or psychological violence at home. Over 5% of adolescents in the study had experienced sexual abuse by an adult, with a quarter of those being carried out by a parent. Around half of adolescents who had been exposed to abuse, had not told anyone.
1 in 10
Children live in low-income households

Low-income households

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.

1 in 6
Young people are unemployed

Youth unemployment

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.

1 in 5
Children are struggling at school


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.

Together we can make a difference for children in Norway

Children and adults
Are supported through our programmes
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
(Symbolic picture: Roksolyana Trush)