European Pension Comparison: Norway

Norway's Pension Comparison

Norwegian Flag. Credit: fotografcic/

Spain is a country where many Europeans come to retire, attracted by its good weather, culture and low cost of living. But how do retiree’s pensions compare, EWN looks at Norway.

In Norway, eligibility for the state pension depends on two primary criteria. Firstly, individuals must have earned pensionable income or have a minimum of five years of National Insurance coverage. This implies that the person must have lived and/or worked in Norway to be eligible for the retirement pension​​.

Retirement Age In Norway

The retirement age in Norway offers flexibility, allowing individuals to start drawing their retirement pension from the month after they turn 62, writes

However, to draw a pension before 67, one must have sufficient earnings. There is no distinction in retirement age between men and women. Currently, there are proposals to increase the retirement age and extend the period for earning pension rights due to longer life expectancies.

This change aims to enhance the economic sustainability of the pension system and increase individual pension amounts through better earnings accumulation​​​​​​.

Average State Pension Amount In Norway

The average state pension in Norway has seen a gradual increase over recent years. From 2018 to 2022, the average annual pensions were NOK 238,159 and NOK 269,504, respectively.

The pension amount does not vary between men and women but depends on one’s earnings and the age at which they start drawing the pension. There are also fixed annual rates like the ‘Ordinary rate’ at NOK 210,418 and the ‘High rate’ at NOK 227,468, which are likely influenced by factors such as marital status and personal circumstances​​​​​​.

Unique Aspects Of Norway’s State Pension Policy

Norway’s state pension system is designed to provide flexibility and security. One unique aspect is the ‘Guarantee Pension’ for those with low or no income, ensuring a minimum pension level. To receive a full guarantee pension, one needs 40 years of national insurance cover.

Another distinctive feature is the ability to draw a partial retirement pension (20, 40, 50, 60, 80, or 100 per cent) and the option to continue working while receiving the pension, which can lead to a higher pension amount. Additionally, pension rights can be accumulated up to and including the year one turns 75​​.

Norway’s Comparison With UK And Spain

Statistics produced in October by Almond Financial gave the following European comparisons, known as the European Pension Breakeven Index. The study looked at 30 countries, their average monthly pensions balanced against the average monthly living costs, based on the recipient being mortgage-free.

European Ranking Country Monthly Pension Monthly Living Costs Percentage Above/Below Breakeven Point
1 Spain €2,625.55 (£2,287.24) €644.35 (£561.43) 407.40%
10 Norway €1,809.35 (£1,579.78) €1101.46 (£961.62) 164.28%
16 UK €920.74 (£802.32) €789.66 (£688.04) 116.61%

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.