Demographics of Iceland
This article is about the demographic features of the population of Iceland, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.
93% of Iceland residents are Icelandic. Most Icelanders are descendants of Norwegian settlers and Gaels from Ireland and Scotland who were brought over as slaves during the age of settlement. Recent DNA analysis suggests that around 66 percent of the male settler-era population was of Norse ancestry, where as the female population was 60 percent Celtic. Iceland remained remarkably homogenous from Settlement until the 20th century. Around 1% of the population of Iceland in 1900 was of Danish heritage (either born in Denmark or to Danish parents). Due to a shortage of labor, immigration to Iceland will most likely increase in the future. Estimates show that the number of immigrants could be as high as 15% of the total population by 2030.
According to Icelandic government statistics, 99% of the nation's inhabitants live in urban areas (localities with populations greater than 200) and 60% live in the Capital Region. Of the North Germanic languages, the Icelandic language is closest to the Old Norse language and has remained relatively unchanged since the 12th century. Because of its small size and relative homogeneity, Iceland holds all the characteristics of a very close-knit society.
About 84% of the population belong to the state church (the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland), or other Lutheran Churches. However, Iceland has complete religious liberty, and other Protestant and Roman Catholic congregations are present (about 3.5%), along with small communities of major world religions. The most notable new religious community in Iceland, and in 2003 the fastest-growing one, is the Ásatrúarfélagið, a legally recognized revival of the pre-Christian religion of Iceland.
Most Icelandic surnames are based on patronymy, or the adoption of the father's first given name, followed by "son" or "daughter". For example, Magnús and Anna, children of a man named Pétur Jónsson, would have the full name Magnús Pétursson and Anna Pétursdóttir, respectively. Magnús's daughter Sigríður Ásta would be Sigríður Ásta Magnúsdóttir, and would remain so for the rest of her life regardless of marriage. An Icelandic patronymic is essentially only a designation of fatherhood, and is therefore redundant in Icelandic social life except to differentiate people of the same first name – the phone directory, for example, lists people by their given name first, patronymic second. Thus it has little in common with traditional surnames except for its position after the given name. It is legally possible in Iceland to rework the patronymic into a matronymic, replacing the father's name with the mother's. Use of the patronymic system is required by law, except for the descendants of those who had acquired family names before 1913 (about 10% of the population). One notable Icelander who has an inherited family name is football star Eiður Smári Guðjohnsen.
Large numbers of Icelanders began to emigrate from Iceland in the 1850s. It has been estimated that around 17,000 Icelanders emigrated to North America in the period 1870-1914, with some 2,000 people returning to Iceland. A total of around 15,000 individuals amount to roughly 20% of the Icelandic population in 1887. According to historian Gunnar Karlsson, "migration from Iceland is unique in that most went to Canada, whereas from most or all other European countries the majority went to the United States. This was partly due to the late beginning of emigration from Iceland after the Canadian authorities had begun to promote emigration in cooperation with the Allan Line, which already had an agent in Iceland in 1873. Contrary to most European countries, this promotion campaign was successful in Iceland, because emigration was only just about to start from there and Icelandic emigrants had no relatives in the United States to help them take the first steps".
Icelandic National Registry
All living Icelanders, as well as all foreign citizens with permanent residence in Iceland, have a personal identification number (kennitala) identifying them in the National Registry. This number is composed of 10 digits, whereof the first six are made up of the individual's birth date in the format DDMMYY. The next two digits are chosen at random when the kennitala is allocated, the 9th digit is a check digit, and the last digit indicates the period of one hundred years in which the individual was born (for instance, '9' for the period 1900–1999). An example would be 120192-3389. While similar, all-inclusive personal registries exist in other countries, the use of the national registry is unusually extensive in Iceland. For example, video rentals register their customers using the registry identification numbers. It is worth noting that the completeness of the National Registry eliminates any need for census to be performed.
Summary of vital statistics since 1900
- Births from January–September 2015 = 3,170
- Births from January–September 2016 = 3,080
- Deaths from January–September 2015 = 1,650
- Deaths from January–September 2016 = 1,720
- Natural increase from January–September 2015 = 1,520
- Natural increase from January–September 2016 = 1,360
|Total (excluding Icelanders)||22,744||6.98%|
CIA World Factbook demographic statistics
The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.
- Age structure
0–14 years: 19.8% (male 31,675/female 30,852)
15–24 years: 14.6% (male 23,364/female 22,821)
25–54 years: 40.9% (male 65,018/female 63,903)
55–64: 11.4% (male 18,229/female 17,767)
65 years and over: 13.2% (male 19,140/female 22,512) (2013 est.)
- Sex ratio
at birth: 1.04 males: 1 female
under 15 years: 1.03 males: 1 female
15–64 years: 1.03 males: 1 female
65 years and over: 0.83 males: 1 female
total population: 1 male: 1 female (2004 estimate)
- Maternal mortality rate
5 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
- Infant mortality rate
3.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
- Life expectancy at birth
total population: 81.11 years
male: 78.89 years
female: 83.42 years (2013 est.)
- Health expenditures
9.4% of GDP (2010)
- Physicians density
3.93 physicians/1,000 population
- Obesity – adult prevalence rate
- Education expenditures
7.8% of GDP (2009)
- Mother's mean age at first birth
27 (2011 est.)
- Ethnic groups
93% Icelandic, 7.0% other
As of 2002: Lutheran 87.1%, Protestant 4.1%, Roman Catholic 1.7% and other 7.1% (Ásatrú (Germanic Neo-Paganism) is officially recognized, and is the fastest growing religion in Iceland with some 0.6% as of 2012)
- mtDNA and the Islands of the North Atlantic: Estimating the Proportions of Norse and Gaelic Ancestry, Agnar Helgason, Eileen Hickey, Sara Goodacre, Vidar Bosnes, Ka´ri Stefa´nsson, Ryk Ward, and Bryan Sykes, Am. J. Hum. Genet. 68:723–737, 2001, http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/AJHG/journal/issues/v68n3/002146/002146.web.pdf and mtDNA and the Origin of the Icelanders: Deciphering Signals of Recent Population History, Agnar Helgason, Sigrún Sigurðardóttir, Jeffrey R. Gulcher, Ryk Ward, and Kári Stefánsson, Am. J. Hum. Genet., 66:999-1016, 2000, http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/AJHG/journal/issues/v66n3/991226/991226.html
- Karlsson, Gunnar (2000). History of Iceland. p. 234.
- "Efnahagslegt sjónarhorn á móttöku flóttamanna" (PDF). Arion Banki.
- "Ísland að breytast í innflytjendaþjóð". RÚV. Retrieved 2016-01-10.
- Karlsson, Gunnar (2000). History of Iceland. p. 236.
- Statistics Iceland
- "Inhabitants Overview - Quarterly Data". Statistics Iceland. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
- "Population by country of citizenship, sex and age 1 January 1998-2014". Reykjavík, Iceland: Statistics Iceland.