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The first census which was taken in 1769, recorded 723,618 residents.
For most of the nineteenth century, the population grew at an average annual rate of 1.7 percent in spite of substantial migration to the United States during the second half of that century.
Spitsbergen, a group of islands four hundred miles to the north in the Arctic Ocean, is a Norwegian dependency.
The country also shares borders with Finland and Russia in its northern regions.
The northern region constitutes the largest part of the country, with 35 percent of the land area and only 12 percent of the population.
Fishing has been the major traditional occupation in this region.
The flag (a red background with blue stripes outlined in white) is owned and flown not only by public agencies but by many private individuals.
The post–World War II growth rate declined to about 0.2 percent annually.
Immigrants constitute just under 6 percent of the total population.
Among the recent refugees, the largest groups are from Bosnia (11,000), Vietnam (10,500), and Iran (8,100).
Refugees are concentrated in and around the largest cities, with approximately one-third living in the Oslo area. The major languages of the indigenous minority and majority populations are Samisk (Lappish), a Finnic language, and two official Norwegian languages, Bokmål and Nynorsk, both of which are Germanic languages.
This unusual growth is accounted for by the arrival of 19,300 persons from abroad.