Iceland Population 2016
Iceland is a land of huge contrasts: On the one hand there is a landscape that hasn’t changed for millions of years with mountains and dangerously active volcanos spread through the land. This, in turn, leads to a sparsely populated country that is also one of the richest and most highly developed in the world.
This Nordic island nation is located between the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans. Iceland has an estimated population of 338,800 in 2015, which ranks 175th in the world.
Overall, Iceland has a surface area of 103,001 square kilometres (39,770 square miles) and it is the 108th largest in this respect. However, that harsh geographical landscape is one of the reasons why it's population remains so low. Iceland has the lowest population density of all European countries at just 3 people per kilometer (8/square mile).
The capital and largest city of Iceland is Reykjavik, which is also the northernmost capital in the world and a major tourist destination. Reykjavik has a population of about 120,000 or 200,00c0 if the larger Capital Region is included. It's believed that the city was the site of the first permanent settlement on the island, founded sometime around AD 870. It's one of the safest, greenest, and cleanest global cities. The Capital Region accounts for 64% of Iceland's total population.
The original population of the island was of Gaelic and Nordic origin based on genetic analysis and literary evidence from the island's settlement. One genetic study of Icelanders found most men were of Nordic origin while most women were of Gaelic origin.
In the island's early history, the harsh winters, volcanic eruptions, and outbreaks of plague affected its growth many times, with 37 famines recorded between 1500 and 1804. The first census of Iceland found a population of more than 50,000 in 1703, which declined to 40,000 after massive eruptions of the Laki volcano between 1783 and 1784. As living conditions improved, the population began to grow, eventually hitting 60,000 in 1850 then 320,000 by 2008.
Iceland's population is fairly young for such a developed country. Iceland is also rare in that it is one of the few European nations with a fertility rate well above the replacement rate at 2.1 children born per woman.
The ethnic composition of Iceland today is 93% Icelandic. The largest ethnic minority is Polish at 3% of the population. There are about 8,000 Poles on the island, accounting for 75% of the workforce in Fjarðabyggð. More than 13% of the population was born abroad while 6% hold foreign citizenship. There is also significant Icelandic dysporia with 88,000 people of Icelandic descent in Canada and more than 40,000 in the United States.
Source: Jóhann Heiðar Árnason