A welfare state is a social welfare system in which important aspects of the inhabitants’ standard of living, education and health care are funded through general tax revenues. Public benefits are offered to all, i.e. they are universal. In a welfare state, the government distributes resources to allow all inhabitants access to basic goods like housing, food, medical assistance and schooling.
Norway is called a welfare state because the government, both federal and local, has primary responsibility for the welfare of its citizens.
The welfare state is mainly financed by taxes and duties paid by inhabitants. The government also uses export income from, for example, the sale of oil and gas, to finance social benefits.
Even though the government has primary responsibility for social benefits, volunteer organisations and private individuals also make a substantial and important contribution.