Statistical information Iceland 1996Iceland

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Iceland in the World
Iceland in the World


Iceland - Introduction 1996
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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 1996
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Location: Northern Europe, island between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of the U.K.

Geographic coordinates

Map reference

Total: data estimates based on average growth rate may differ slightly from official population data because of volatile migration rates
Land: 100,250 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than Kentucky

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 4,988 km

Maritime claims
Continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the 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

Extremes lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Extremes highest point: Hvannadalshnukur 2,119 m

Natural resources:
Geothermal power

Land use

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

Irrigated land: NA

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards


Iceland - People 1996
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270,292 (July 1996 est.)
265,998 (July 1995 est.)

Growth rate:
0.83% (1996 est.)
0.92% (1995 est.)

Noun: Icelander(s)
Adjective: Icelandic

Ethnic groups: Homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norwegians and Celts

Languages: Icelandic

Evangelical Lutheran 96%
Other Protestant and Roman Catholic 3%
None 1% (1988)

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years:
24% (male 33,605; female 31,933) (July 1996 est.)
24% (male 32,912; female 31,482) (July 1995 est.)

15-64 years:
64% (male 88,064; female 85,724) (July 1996 est.)
65% (male 87,089; female 84,559) (July 1995 est.)

65 years and over:
12% (male 13,916; female 17,050) (July 1996 est.)
11% (male 13,402; female 16,554) (July 1995 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate:
0.83% (1996 est.)
0.92% (1995 est.)

Birth rate:
16.94 births/1000 population (1996 est.)
15.85 births/1000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate:
6.17 deaths/1000 population (1996 est.)
6.7 deaths/1000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate:
-2.5 migrant(s)/1000 population (1996 est.)
0 migrant(s)/1000 population (1995 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: water pollution from fertilizer runoff; inadequate wastewater treatment
Current issues Natural hazards: earthquakes and volcanic activity
International agreements: party to_Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified_Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
International agreements note: Strategic location between Greenland and Europe; westernmost European country; more land covered by glaciers than in all of continental Europe

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
All ages:
1.01 male(s)/female (1996 est.) Infant Mortality Rate:4.3 deaths/1000 live births (1996 est.)
4 deaths/1000 live births (1995 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 80.08 years (1996 est.), 78.98 years (1995 est.)
Male: 77.68 years (1996 est.), 76.69 years (1995 est.)
Female: 82.6 years (1996 est.), 81.39 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate:
2.24 children born/woman (1996 est.)
2.06 children born/woman (1995 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

Definition: age 15 and over that can read and write (1976 est.)
Total population: 100%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Iceland - Government 1996
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of Iceland
Conventional short form: Iceland
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)
Cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by the president

Legislative branch: Unicameral Parliament (Althing):Elections last held on 8 April 1995 (next to be held by April 1999; results_Independence Party 37.1%, Progressive Party 23.3%, Social Democratic Party 11.4%, Socialists 14.3%, People's Movement 7.2%, Women's Party 4.9%; seats_(63 total) Independence 25, Progressive 15, Social Democratic 7, Socialists 9, People's Movement 4, Women's Party 3

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Haestirettur)

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CE, EBRD, ECE, EFTA, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, MTCR, NACC, NATO, NC, NEA, NIB, OECD, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNU, UPU, WEU (associate), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation

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 1996
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Economy overview: Iceland's Scandinavian-type economy is basically capitalistic, but with an extensive welfare system, 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 work force. In the absence of other natural resources_except energy_Iceland's economy is vulnerable to changing world fish prices. The economy, in recession since 1988, began to recover in 1993, posting 0.4% growth, but was still hampered by cutbacks in fish quotas as well as falling world prices for its main exports:fish and fish products, aluminum, and ferrosilicon. The center-right government plans to continue its policies of 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 government, however, remains divided on the issue of EU membership, primarily because of Icelanders' concern about losing control over their fishing resources.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate:
3.2% (1995 est.)
2.4% (1994 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; fish catch of about 1.1 million metric tons in 1992

Fish processing
Aluminum smelting
Ferro-silicon production
Geothermal power

Industrial production growth rate: 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%
By occupation other: 0.9% (1990)
Labor force

Unemployment rate:
3.9% (December 1995)
7% (1994 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $1.9 billion
Expenditures: $2.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $297 million (1994 est.)

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

total value. $1.6 billion (f.o.b., 1994)
$1.4 billion (f.o.b., 1993)

Fish and fish products
Animal products

EU 68% (U.K. 25%, Germany 12%)
U.S. 11%
Japan 8% (1992)

Total value:
$1.5 billion (c.i.f., 1994)
$1.3 billion (c.i.f., 1993)

Machinery and transportation equipment
Petroleum products

EU 53% (Germany 14%, Denmark 10%, U.K. 9%)
Norway 14%
U.S. 9% (1992)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $2.5 billion (1993 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Icelandic kronur (IKr) per US$1_65.970 (January 1996), 64.692 (1995), 69.944 (1994), 67.603 (1993), 57.546 (1992), 58.996 (1991), 58.284 (1990)

Iceland - Energy 1996
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 4.7 billion kWh

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 16,458 kWh (1993)

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 1996
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: 143,600 telephones (1993 est.); adequate domestic service
Domestic: the trunk network consists of coaxial and fiber-optic cables and microwave radio relay links
International: satellite earth stations_2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean Regions); note_Iceland shares the Inmarsat earth station with the other Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Iceland - Military 1996
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Military expenditures

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Iceland - Transportation 1996
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 84
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 3
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 22 (1995 est.)
With paved runways under 914 m: 49
With paved runways With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 4

Airports with paved runways
Over 3047 m: 1
15-24 to 2437 m: 3
914 to 1523 m: 22 (1995 est.)
Under 914 m: 49
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 4

Airports with unpaved runways






Merchant marine
Total: 6 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 30,025 GRT/40,410 DWT
Ships by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 1, oil tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2

Ports and terminals

Iceland - Transnational issues 1996
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs

Crystal Travel

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