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Daily Archives: 11. February 2014 − News & Stories


Decline of population in Longyearbyen

Against a long-term trend, the population in Longyearbyen fell by 47 to the number of 2043 in 2013. This is indicated by the annual report of the Sysselmannen for 2013. As Svalbardposten reports, amongst these 47 there are 17 children in pre-school age, which equals 36%.

Compared to places of similar size on the Norwegian mainland, the number of inhabitants in Longyearbyen can face stronger variations, as those who are registered as residents usually live there for a limited period of time, mostly in accordance to their jobs. Working contracts are temporary, rotations amongst the employees are usual and often desired by employers and many wish to return back home after one season in the arctic. For these reasons, a high fluctuation is quite typical for Longyearbyen.

However, in the last years the number of inhabitants increased permanently. In 2010 there were 1966 people registered in Longyearbyen, in 2011 the number was 2063 and in 2012 it was 2090. Therefore the local government is not concerned about the single decline in 2013, it is not seen as a sign for a long lasting negative trend.

Svalbardposten discusses possible reasons for the current decline of inhabitants: Restructurings at the mining company Store Norske are mentioned, which led to staff reduction. On the other hand the relatively high decline among young children leads to the assumption that many of the new inhabitants came without families. As the reference date for the evaluation of the number of inhabitants is the 31st of December, it is possible that the divergence equalizes again during this year.

In his annual report the Sysselmannen publishes the number of inhbitants for all settlements in Spitsbergen. These are, in addition to Longyearbyen, the settlements of Ny Ålesund (34) and Barentsburg (419), the hotel at Kapp Linné (Isfjord Radio) (1), the four trapper stations Kapp Wijk (1), Akseløya (1), Kapp Schollin (1) and Farmhamna (1) and the polish polar station at Hornsund (10). The workers of the coalmines at Sveagruva, Svea Nord and Lunckefjell, are not registered there, their residences are in Longyearbyen or on the mainland. In 2013 the average number of workers in Sveagruva was 208.

Has currently a few pupils less: school in Longyearbyen.

school Longyearbyen

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