Reykjavik is Iceland's capital and largest city. The city, which has an area of 200 square kilometres, has a population of approximately 123,000, with 216,940 living in the Capital Region (Greater Reykjavik, which refers to Reykjavik itself and the six municipalities around it).
The city is thought to be Iceland's very first settlement, established in AD874. Urban development in Reykjavik didn't commence until the 1800s; it was founded in 1786 as a trading town and grew at a steady pace over the years. It gradually became a national centre of commerce as well as a hub for governmental activity. It is one of the greenest, cleanest and safest cities in the world.
City Size and Population Density
The city of Reykjavik covers a total surface area of 273 kilometer squared (105 square mile). The population density comes to approximately 451.5 peple living per square kilometer (1,169 people living per square mile).
Reykjavík and its surrounding areas make up the largest urban area in the country. Population density is more concentrated here, with an average of 1,100 inhabitants per square mile (450 per square kilometer). Density is an average 500 people per square mile (200 per square kilometer) over the larger Capital Region. The five districts of Reykjavik with the highest population density (all above 3000 inhabitants per square kilometer) are Laugardalur vestur, Vesturbær Norður, Vesturbær suður, Digranes and Efra og Neðra-Breiðholt. Several of the outer districts surrounding Reykjavik have a much lower population density, with fewer than 500 inhabitants per square kilometer. There are a number of areas of very high population density outside the inner city centre, including Hafnarfjörður norður, which is located along the coast in the western part of the capital.
Reykjavik is the largest settlement in Iceland, with people from over 100 countries calling the city home.
Poles, Danes and Lithuanians are the most common ethnic minorities living in Reykjavik, and in 2009 as much as 8% of the population was made up of non-natives. Foreign-born children (a lot of whom have been adopted) make up approximately a third of places in the city's schools. Reykjavik is a very popular destination for tourists, as well as students and many other temporary residents. These groups often outnumber the natives in the city's centre.
Tourism in Reykjavik
There has been a dramatic rise in tourism since 2010, and in 2016 the number of American tourists exceeded the number of Icelandic residents for the first time. Figures from the Icelandic Tourist Board show 325,522 visitors from the US, while the total Icelandic population is 332,000.
Growth in Reykjavik
Reykjavik's population has grown year on year and by as much as 4.14% since 1960. This growth shows no sign of slowing as Iceland's capital becomes a magnet for foreign-born individuals. Westfjords shrank by 1.2%.