Definition of Youth

There is no legal classification of youth, however according to the Youth Policy in Norway (2004), the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs note that youth “might be viewed as the period between the ages of 12 and 29”.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 16
  • 18
  • Female
  • 18
  • 16
  • 18

  • Same-sex marriage legal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  Penal Code of Norway

Majority Age


Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • -- Male (15-24) %
  • -- Female (15-24) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 94.28%Male %
  • 95.54% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • -- Male (13-15) %
  • -- Female (13-15) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Norway has a national youth policy from 2002. A 2004 review and 2012 briefing have details.

The National Report on Youth Policy in Norway (2003) identifies that the goal of youth policy in Norway is to provide secure living conditions and a safe environment for children and young people as they grow up.

The Youth Policy (2002) has six main areas; 1) Comprehensive preventative work; 2) Education and Schools; 3) Efforts aimed at leisure and community; 4) Support of children and adolescents with serious behavioral problems; 5) Follow-up of young offenders and criminal youth gangs; 6) Knowledge and Research.

The report notes that the challenge of youth policy is to equip young people with skills that will be valuable in later life, focusing on equipping young people with the skills to face challenges and solve problems rather than relieving them of them.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
Within the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion lies the Department of Family, Children and Youth. The highest body within the Department is the Directorate of Children, Youth and Family Affairs, which is responsible for providing children, young people and families with help and support.

Whilst central government has overall responsibility for youth, the National Report on Youth Policy in Norway (2003) notes that,
“[r]esponsibility for the practical implementation of child and youth policy rests primarily with the municipalities.”

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The Norwegian Children and Youth Council (LNU) is an umbrella organisation of more than 90 NGOs. Its work focuses on three areas: advocacy and representation through political programs; a resource for members by offering courses; administering of schemes that contribute to the development of youth nationally and abroad. It seeks to represent the views of youth organisations “towards authorities and other important institutions.”   LNU is a member of the European Youth Forum and works with the Nordic Council of Ministers for Children and Young People.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
According to the State Budget 2014, the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion was allocated NOK 34.8 million (USD 5.7 million). The proportion specifically for youth is unknown. Youth policy implementation is decentralised with municipalities responsible for implementing national policies and objectives. According to the World Bank, Norway spent 15.23% of its government expenditure and 6.87% of its GDP on education provision in 2010.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

According to the Council Of Europe report Youth Policy in Norway (2004):  
By most standards, young people in Norway benefit on their journey from childhood to adult life from respect, concern and opportunity within both family and public life. Generous resources are allocated by the public administration to their aspirations and needs.
Norway was the first country in the world to appoint an Ombudsman for Children, in 1981. The international review team met the current ombudsman during its second visit. He talked with pride about the imminent establishment of the European Network for Ombudsmen for Children (ENOC). This network of children’s commissioners’ demonstrates how far the issue of children’s voice, rights and participation has come in a relatively short time.
The social welfare system has a long history and was consolidated during the period following the Second World War. It comprises public child support, free education, health services, old age pensions and unemployment support. Governance of Norway is routinely through coalition governments, and broad support for the social welfare system has been sustained – despite the tax burden and taxation concerns – as it is so firmly embedded within the psyche of Norwegian culture.
Young people in Norway are more or less dependent up to the age of 18 or even much longer. Legal parental responsibility ends at 18, but morally, parental responsibility for each child may last for many more years. Decreasing possibilities for learning to take on responsibility and the shortage of jobs for young people make the transition from child to adult last longer and it is less clearly defined. The situation can breed interpersonal as well as intrapersonal conflict, particularly if the young adult, still occupying the “nursery”, has his or her spouse, co-habitant or sweetheart move in too. With the rising cost of housing, this is not an uncommon situation, but one for which neither parents nor homes are prepared.