Statistical information Iceland 1994Iceland

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Iceland in the World
Iceland in the World


Iceland - Introduction 1994
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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 1994
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Location: Nordic State, Northern Europe, in the North Atlantic Ocean, between Greenland and Norway

Geographic coordinates

Map referenceArctic Region, Europe, North America, Standard Time Zones of the World

Total area total: 103,000 km²
Land: 100,250 km²

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 4,988 km

Maritime claims
Continental shelf: 200 nm or the edge of continental margin
Exclusive 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, hydropower, geothermal power, diatomite
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 1%
Permanent crops: 0%
Meadows and pastures: 20%
Forest and woodland: 1%
Other: 78%

Irrigated land: NA km²

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: subject to earthquakes and volcanic activity

Note: strategic location between Greenland and Europe; westernmost European country; more land covered by glaciers than in all of continental Europe

Iceland - People 1994
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Population: 263,599 (July 1994 est.)
Note: population data estimates based on average growth rate may differ slightly from official population data because of volatile migration rates
Growth rate: 0.9% (1994 est.)

Nationality: noun:Icelander(s)

Ethnic groups: homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norwegians and Celts

Languages: Icelandic

Religions: Evangelical Lutheran 96%, other Protestant and Roman Catholic 3%, none 1% (1988)

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 0.9% (1994 est.)

Birth rate: 16.41 births/1000 population (1994 est.)

Death rate: 6.72 deaths/1000 population (1994 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.73 migrant(s)/1000 population (1994 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: water pollution from fertilizer runoff; inadequate wastewater treatment

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 4 deaths/1000 live births (1994 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 78.83 years
Male: 76.57 years
Female: 81.21 years (1994 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.11 children born/woman (1994 est.)

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: age 15 and over can read and write (1976 est.)
Total population: 100%
Male: NA%
Female: NA%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Iceland - Government 1994
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of Iceland
Conventional short form:
local long form: Lyoveldio Island
local short form; Island

Government type: republic

Capital: Reykjavik

Administrative divisions: 23 counties (syslar, singular - sysla) and 14 independent towns* (kaupstadhir, singular - kaupstadhur; Akranes*, Akureyri*, Arnessysla, Austur-Bardhastrandarsysla, Austur-Hunavatnssysla, Austur-Skaftafellssysla, Borgarfjardharsysla, Dalasysla, Eyjafjardharsysla, Gullbringusysla, Hafnarfjordhur*, Husavik*, Isafjordhur*, Keflavik*, Kjosarsysla, Kopavogur*, Myrasysla, Neskaupstadhur*, Nordhur-Isafjardharsysla, Nordhur-Mulasys-la, Nordhur-Thingeyjarsysla, Olafsfjordhur*, Rangarvallasysla, Reykjavik*, Saudharkrokur*, Seydhisfjordhur*, Siglufjordhur*, Skagafjardharsysla, Snaefellsnes-og Hnappadalssysla, Strandasysla, Sudhur-Mulasysla, Sudhur-Thingeyjarsysla, Vesttmannaeyjar*, 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: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Vigdis FINNBOGADOTTIR (since 1 August 1980); election last held on 29 June 1988 (next scheduled for June 1996); results - there was no election in 1992 as President Vigdis FINNBOGADOTTIR was unopposed
Head of government: Prime Minister David ODDSSON (since 30 April 1991)

Legislative branch: Police, Coast Guard
Parliament Althing: elections last held on 20 April 1991 (next to be held by April 1995); results - Independence Party 38.6%, Progressive Party 18.9%, Social Democratic Party 15.5%, People's Alliance 14.4%, Womens List 8.3%, Liberals 1.2%, other 3.1%; seats - (63 total) Independence 26, Progressive 13, Social Democratic 10, People's Alliance 9, Womens List 5
Note: no armed forces, Iceland's defense is provided by the US-manned Icelandic Defense Force (IDF) headquartered at Keflavik

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Haestirettur)

Political parties and leaders


Diplomatic representation
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Parker W. BORG
From the us chancery: 2022 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
From the us telephone: [354] (1) 629,100
From the us fax: (202) 265-6,656
From the us consulates general: New York
From the us embassy: Laufasvegur 21, Box 40, Reykjavik
From the us mailing address: US Embassy, PSC 1003, Box 40, Reykjavik; FPO AE 9,728-0340
From the us FAX: [354] (1) 629,139

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 1994
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Economy overview: Iceland's Scandinavian-type economy is basically capitalistic, but with an extensive welfare system, relatively low unemployment, and comparatively even distribution of income. The economy is heavily dependent on the fishing industry, which provides nearly 75% of export earnings and employs 12% of the workforce. In the absence of other natural resources - except energy - Iceland's economy is vulnerable to changing world fish prices. Iceland's economy has been in recession since 1988. The recession continued in 1993 due to a third year of cutbacks in fishing quotas as well as falling world prices for the country's main exports:fish and fish products, aluminum, and ferrosilicon. Real GDP declined 3.3% in 1992 and rose slightly, by 0.4%, in 1993. The center-right government's economic goals include reducing the budget and current account deficits, limiting foreign borrowing, containing inflation, revising agricultural and fishing policies, diversifying the economy, and privatizing state-owned industries. The recession has led to a wave of bankruptcies and mergers throughout the economy, as well as the highest unemployment of the post-World War II period. Inflation, previously a serious problem, declined from double digit rates in the 1980s to only 3.7% in 1992-93.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 0.4% (1993 est.)

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 15% of GDP; fishing is most important economic activity, contributing nearly 75% to export earnings; principal crops - potatoes, turnips; livestock - cattle, sheep; self-sufficient in crops; fish catch of about 1.1 million metric tons in 1992

Industries: fish processing, aluminum smelting, ferro-silicon production, geothermal power

Industrial production growth rate: 1.75% (1991 est.)

Labor force: 127,900
By occupation commerce transportation and services: 60.0%
By occupation manufacturing: 12.5%
By occupation fishingandfishprocessing: 11.8%
By occupation construction: 10.8%
By occupation agriculture: 4.0% (1990)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 4.5% (1993 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Budget: revenues:$1.8 billion

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: $1.5 billion (f.o.b., 1992)
Commodities: fish and fish products, animal products, aluminum, ferrosilicon, diatomite
Partners: EC 68% (UK 25%, FRG 12%), US 11%, Japan 8% (1992)

Imports: $1.5 billion (c.i.f., 1992)
Commodities: machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products, foodstuffs, textiles
Partners: EC 53% (Germany 14%, Denmark 10%, UK 9%), Norway 14%, US 9% (1992)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $3.9 billion (1992 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Icelandic kronur (IKr) per US$1 - 72.971 (January 1994), 67.603 (1993), 57.546 (1992), 58.996 (1991), 58.284 (1990), 57.042 (1989)

Iceland - Energy 1994
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 5.165 billion kWh

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 19,940 kWh (1992)

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 1994
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Iceland - Military 1994
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: none

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Iceland - Transportation 1994
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 90
Usable: 84
With permanentsurface runways: 9
With runways over 3659 m: 0
With runways 2440-3659 m: 1
With runways 1220-2439 m: 12

Airports with paved runways

Airports with unpaved runways






Merchant marine: 8 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 33,212 GRT/47,359 DWT, cargo 2, chemical tanker 1, oil tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 2, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2

Ports and terminals

Iceland - Transnational issues 1994
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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

World Nomads

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