Statistical information Iceland 1990Iceland

Map of Iceland | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Energy | Communication
Military | Transportation | Transnational Issues | Year:  | More stats

Iceland in the World
Iceland in the World

Iceland - Introduction 1990
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Background: Iceland boasts the oldest surviving parliament in the world, the Althing, established in 930. Subsequently this Nordic island, whose small population has largely depended on fishing and sheep-herding for a living, came under the rule of Norway and then Denmark. It gained home rule in 1874 and full independence in 1944. Literacy, longevity, and social cohesion are topnotch by world standards. Tensions continue with Norway, Russia, and other nearby countries over fishing rights in the North Atlantic and adjacent seas.

Iceland - Geography 1990
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Geographic coordinates

Map reference


Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 4,988 km

Maritime claims
Continental shelf: edge of continental margin or 200 nm
Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: temperate; moderated by North Atlantic Current; mild, windy winters; damp, cool summers

Terrain: mostly plateau interspersed with mountain peaks, icefields; coast deeply indented by bays and fiords


Natural resources: fish, hydroelectric and geothermal power, diatomite
Land use

Land use: NEGL% arable land; 0% permanent crops; 23% meadows and pastures; 1% forest and woodland; 76% other

Irrigated land

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards

Note: strategic location between Greenland and Europe; westernmost European country

Iceland - People 1990
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Population: 257,023 (July 1990), growth rate 1.1% (1990)

Nationality: noun--Icelander(s; adjective--Icelandic

Ethnic groups: homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norwegians and Celts

Languages: Icelandic

Religions: 95% Evangelical Lutheran, 3% other Protestant and Roman Catholic, 2% no affiliation

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate

Birth rate: 18 births/1000 population (1990)

Death rate: 7 deaths/1000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1000 population (1990)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: subject to earthquakes and volcanic activity

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 7 deaths/1000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 75 years male, 80 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.2 children born/woman (1990)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Literacy: 100%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Iceland - Government 1990
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Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Iceland

Government type: republic

Capital: Reykjavik

Administrative divisions: 23 counties (syslar, singular--sysla) and 14 independent towns* (kaupstadar, singular--kaupstadur; Akranes*, Akureyri*, Arnessysla, Austur-Bardhastrandarsysla, Austur-Hunavatnssysla, Austur-Skaftafellssysla, Borgarfjardharsysla, Dalasysla, Eyjafjardharsysla, Gullbringusysla, Hafnarfjordhur*, Husavik*, Isafjordhur*, Keflavik*, Kjosarsysla, Kopavogur*, Myrasysla, Neskaupstadhur*, Nordhur-Isafjardharsysla, Nordhur-Mulasysla, Nordhur-Thingeyjarsysla, Olafsfjordhur*, Rangarvallasysla, Reykjavik*, Saudharkrokur*, Seydhisfjordhur*, Siglufjordhur*, Skagafjardharsysla, Snaefellsnes-og Hanppadalssysla, Strandasysla, Sudhur-Mulasysla, Sudhur-Thingeyjarsysla, Vestmannaeyjar*, Vestur-Bardhastrandarsysla, Vestur-Hunavatnssysla, Vestur-Isafjardharsysla, Vestur-Skaftafellssysla

Dependent areas

Independence: 17 June 1944 (from Denmark)

National holiday: Anniversary of the Establishment of the Republic, 17 June (1944)

Constitution: 16 June 1944, effective 17 June 1944

Legal system: civil law system based on Danish law; does not accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

International law organization participation


Suffrage: universal at age 20

Executive branch: Chief of State--President Vigdis FINNBOGADOTTIR (since 1 August 1980; Head of Government--Prime Minister Steingrimur HERMANNSSON (since 28 September 1988)

Legislative branch: Police, Coast Guard

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Haestirettur)

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: CCC, Council of Europe, EC (free trade agreement pending resolution of fishing limits issue), EFTA, FAO, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICES, IDA, IFC, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IPU, ITU, IWC--International Whaling Commission, NATO, Nordic Council, OECD, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO, WSG

Diplomatic representation
In the us: Ambassador Ingvi S. INGVARSSON; Chancery at 2022 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC 20,008; telephone (202) 265-6,653 through 6,655; there is an Icelandic Consulate General in New York; US--Ambassador Charles E. COBB; Embassy at Laufasvegur 21, Reykjavik (mailing address is FPO New York 9,571-0001; telephone p354o (1) 29,100

Flag descriptionflag of Iceland: blue with a red cross outlined in white that extends to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag)

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Iceland - Economy 1990
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Economy overview: Iceland's prosperous Scandinavian-type economy is basically capitalistic, but with extensive welfare measures, low unemployment, and comparatively even distribution of income. The economy is heavily dependent on the fishing industry, which provides nearly 75% of export earnings. In the absence of other natural resources, Iceland's economy is vulnerable to changing world fish prices. National output declined for the second consecutive year in 1989, and two of the largest fish farms filed for bankruptcy. Other economic activities include livestock raising and aluminum smelting. A fall in the fish catch is expected for 1990, resulting in a continuation of the recession.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: accounts for about 25% of GDP (including fishing; fishing is most important economic activity, contributing nearly 75% to export earnings; principal crops--potatoes and turnips; livestock--cattle, sheep; self-sufficient in crops; fish catch of about 1.6 million metric tons in 1987

Industries: fish processing, aluminum smelting, ferro-silicon production, hydropower

Industrial production growth rate: 4.7% (1987 est.)

Labor force: 134,429; 55.4% commerce, finance, and services, 14.3% other manufacturing, 5.8% agriculture, 7.9% fish processing, 5.0% fishing (1986)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 1.3% (1989 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Budget: revenues $1.5 billion; expenditures $1.7 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA million (1988)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $1.4 billion (f.o.b., 1988)
Commodities: fish and fish products, animal products, aluminum, diatomite
Partners: EC 58.9% (UK 23.3%, FRG 10.3%), US 13.6%, USSR 3.6%

Imports: $1.6 billion (c.i.f., 1988)
Commodities: machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, textiles
Partners: EC 58% (FRG 16%, Denmark 10.4%, UK 9.2%), US 8.5%, USSR 3.9%

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $1.8 billion (1988)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Icelandic kronur (IKr) per US$1--60.751 (January 1990), 57.042 (1989), 43.014 (1988), 38.677 (1987), 41.104 (1986), 41.508 (1985)

Iceland - Energy 1990
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Electricity access

Electricity production

Electricity consumption

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Iceland - Communication 1990
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Iceland - Military 1990
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Military expenditures
Percent of gdp: none

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Iceland - Transportation 1990
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 99 total, 92 usable; 4 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 14 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Airports with paved runways

Airports with unpaved runways






Merchant marine: 18 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 62,867 GRT/87,610 DWT; includes 9 cargo, 2 refrigerated cargo, 1 container, 2 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 1 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 1 chemical tanker, 2 bulk

Ports and terminals

Iceland - Transnational issues 1990
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Disputes international: Rockall continental shelf dispute involving Denmark, Ireland, and the UK (Ireland and the UK have signed a boundary agreement in the Rockall area)

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs


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