Today Norwegians are living longer than ever before. A girl born in 2008 can expect to live to nearly 83 years of age, while a boy can expect to reach just over 78 years of age. The general health of the population is very good, and the infant mortality rate is extremely low. Literacy is virtually 100per cent and most of the adult population has completed upper-secondary schooling. There is no extreme poverty in Norway, and the relative poverty level is low compared to other OECD countries.
The GDP per capita is high, and wealth is relatively equally distributed among the population. There is a high degree of gender equality at all levels of society. In keeping with its welfare orientation, Norway has implemented a universal, public health service financed by tax revenues and a national insurance scheme, applicable to all citizens and residents, that provides a host of social benefits.
Both public and private consumption have increased enormously since 1900, and the wealth of the last few decades is primarily due to the discovery and exploitation of subsea oil and natural gas deposits in the North Sea. As a result of modernisation and urbanisation, the stable, traditional settlement patterns of the past have been replaced by a trend towards greater mobility, in which people more frequently move and change jobs.