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Countries > Iceland Iceland Flag
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Capital: Reykjavik
Population: 275,000
Click to Listen Play the National Anthem
Iceland Map

Geography

Location: Northern Europe, island between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of the UK

Geographic coordinates: 65 00 N, 18 00 W

Map references: Arctic Region

Area:
total: 103,000 sq km
land: 100,250 sq km
water: 2,750 sq km

Area - 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

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

Natural resources: fish, hydropower, geothermal power, diatomite

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops : 0%
permanent pastures: 23%
forests and woodland: 1%
other: 76% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: earthquakes and volcanic activity

Environment - current issues: water pollution from fertilizer runoff; inadequate wastewater treatment

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation

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

People

Population: 279,384 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 23% (male 33,189; female 31,155)
15-64 years: 65.1% (male 91,704; female 90,199)
65 years and over: 11.9% (male 14,828; female 18,309) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.52% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 14.37 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:6.93 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: -2.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years : 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over:0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 3.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population:79.66 years
male:77.42 years
female: 82.07 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate:1.99 children born/woman (2002 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Icelander(s)
adjective: Icelandic

Ethnic groups: homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norwegians and Celts

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

Languages: Icelandic

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.9% (1997 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Iceland
conventional short form: Iceland
local long form : Lyoveldio Island
local short form: Island

Data code: IC

Government type: constitutional republic

National 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

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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Olafur Ragnar GRIMSSON (since 1 August 1996)
head of government: Prime Minister David ODDSSON (since 30 April 1991)
cabinet : Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 29 June 1996 (next to be held NA June 2004); President GRIMSSON ran unopposed in June 2000 so there were no elections; prime minister appointed by the president
election results : Olafur Ragnar GRIMSSON ran unopposed in 2000 and was reelected

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Althing (63 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections : last held 8 May 1999 (next to be held by April 2003)
election results: percent of vote by party - Independence Party 40.7%, The Alliance (PA, People's Party, Women's List) 26.8%, Progressive Party 18.4%, Left-Green Alliance 9.1%, Liberal Party 4.2%; seats by party - Independence Party 26, The Alliance 17, Progressive Party 12, Left-Green Alliance 6, Liberal Party 2

Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Haestirettur, justices are appointed for life by the president

Political parties and leaders:Independence Party (conservative) or IP [David ODDSSON]; Left-Green Alliance [Steingrimur SIGFUSSON]; Liberal Party [Sverrir HERMANNSSON]; People's Party (Social Democratic Party) or SDP [Sighvatur BJORGVINSSON]; Progressive Party (liberal) or PP [Halldor ASGRIMSSON]; The Alliance (includes People's Alliance or PA, Social Democratic Party or SVP, People's Movement, Women's List) [Ossur SKARPHEDINSSON]; Women's List or WL [Kristin ASTGEIRSDOTTIR]

International organization participation:Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CCC, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EFTA, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA (observer), IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, NATO, NC, NEA, NIB, OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNU, UPU, WEU (associate), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jon-Baldvin HANNIBALSSON
chancery : Suite 1200, 1156 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005
telephone: [1] (202) 265-6653 through 6655
FAX: [1] (202) 265-6656
consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Barbara J. GRIFFITHS
embassy: Laufasvegur 21, Reykjavik
mailing address : US Embassy, PSC 1003, Box 40, FPO AE 09728-0340
telephone: [354] 5629100
FAX: [354] 5629118

Flag description: 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)

Economy

Economy - overview: Iceland's Scandinavian-type economy is basically capitalistic, yet with an extensive welfare system, low unemployment, and remarkably even distribution of income. The economy depends heavily on the fishing industry, which provides 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 remains sensitive to declining fish stocks as well as to drops in 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 remains opposed to EU membership, primarily because of Icelanders' concern about losing control over their fishing resources.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $24,800 (2000 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:4.3% (2000 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $24,800 (2000 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 15% (includes fishing 13%)
industry: 21%
services: 64% (1999 est.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 3.5% (2000 est.)

Labor force:
total: 159,000 (2000)
by occupation: agriculture 5.1%, fishing and fish processing 11.8%, manufacturing 12.9%, construction 10.7%, other services 59.5% (1999)

Unemployment rate: 1% (April 2001 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $3.5 billion
expenditures: $3.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $467 million (1999)

Industries: fish processing; aluminum smelting, ferrosilicon production, geothermal power; tourism

Industrial production growth rate: 1.5% (2000 est.)

Electricity - capacity: 1.1 million kW (1994)

Electricity - production: 7.549 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 7.02 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: potatoes, turnips; cattle, sheep; fish

Exports:
total value: $2 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
commodities: fish and fish products 70%, animal products, aluminum, diatomite, ferrosilicon
partners: EU 64% (UK 20%, Germany 13%, France 5%, Denmark 5%), US 15%, Japan 5% (1999)

Imports:
total value:$2.2 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
commodities:machinery and equipment, petroleum products; foodstuffs, textiles
partners: EU 56% (Germany 12%, UK 9%, Denmark 8%, Sweden 6%), US 11%, Norway 10% (1999)

Debt - external: $2.6 billion (1999)

Economic aid: $NA

Currency: 1 Icelandic krona (ISK) = 100 aurar

Exchange rates:Icelandic kronur per US dollar - 102.430 (January 2002), 97.425 (2001), 78.616 (2000), 72.335 (1999), 70.958 (1998), 70.904 (1997)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones: 168,000 (1997)

Telephone system: 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)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM about 70 (including repeaters), shortwave 1 (1998)

Radios: 260,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 214 (plus 156 low-power repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 98,000 (1997)

Transportation

Railways: 0 km

Highways:
total: 12,691 km
paved: 3,262 km
unpaved : 9,429 km (1999)

Ports and harbors: Akureyri, Hornafjordur, Isafjordhur, Keflavik, Raufarhofn, Reykjavik, Seydhisfjordhur, Straumsvik, Vestmannaeyjar

Merchant marine:
total:1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,816 GRT/2,500 DWT
ships by type: chemical tanker 1 (2002 est.)

Airports:86 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total :13
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 8 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 73
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 21
under 914 m: 49 (2001)

Military

Military branches: no regular armed forces; Police, Coast Guard; note - Iceland's defense is provided by the US-manned Icelandic Defense Force (IDF) headquartered at Keflavik

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 71,142 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: 62,556 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: none

Transnational Issues

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)