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Iceland

 
Flag of Iceland
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Coordinates:
65.00 N  18.00 W

 
 
Introduction  Geography  People  Government  Economy
 
Communications  Transportation  Military  Transnational Issues

Map of Iceland

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Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Iceland Top of Page
Background:
Definition Field Listing
Settled by Norwegian and Celtic (Scottish and Irish) immigrants during the late 9th and 10th centuries A.D., Iceland boasts the world's oldest functioning legislative assembly, the Althing, established in 930. Independent for over 300 years, Iceland was subsequently ruled by Norway and Denmark. Fallout from the Askja volcano of 1875 devastated the Icelandic economy and caused widespread famine. Over the next quarter century, 20% of the island's population emigrated, mostly to Canada and the US. Limited home rule from Denmark was granted in 1874 and complete independence attained in 1944. Literacy, longevity, income, and social cohesion are first-rate by world standards.
   Geography    Iceland Top of Page
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Northern Europe, island between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of the UK
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
65 00 N, 18 00 W
Map references:
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Arctic Region
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 103,000 sq km
land: 100,250 sq km
water: 2,750 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than Kentucky
Land boundaries:
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0 km
Coastline:
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4,970 km
Maritime claims:
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate:
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temperate; moderated by North Atlantic Current; mild, windy winters; damp, cool summers
Terrain:
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mostly plateau interspersed with mountain peaks, icefields; coast deeply indented by bays and fiords
Elevation extremes:
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lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Hvannadalshnukur 2,110 m (at Vatnajokull glacier)
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
fish, hydropower, geothermal power, diatomite
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 0.07%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 99.93% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Natural hazards:
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earthquakes and volcanic activity
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
water pollution from fertilizer runoff; inadequate wastewater treatment
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Transboundary Air Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
strategic location between Greenland and Europe; westernmost European country; Reykjavik is the northernmost national capital in the world; more land covered by glaciers than in all of continental Europe
   People    Iceland Top of Page
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
299,388 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 21.7% (male 33,021/female 32,021)
15-64 years: 66.5% (male 100,944/female 98,239)
65 years and over: 11.7% (male 15,876/female 19,287) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 34.2 years
male: 33.8 years
female: 34.7 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.87% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
13.64 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.72 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.74 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 3.29 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.43 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.14 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 80.31 years
male: 78.23 years
female: 82.48 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.92 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
220 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 100 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
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noun: Icelander(s)
adjective: Icelandic
Ethnic groups:
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homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norse and Celts 94%, population of foreign origin 6%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Lutheran Church of Iceland 85.5%, Reykjavik Free Church 2.1%, Roman Catholic Church 2%, Hafnarfjorour Free Church 1.5%, other Christian 2.7%, other or unspecified 3.8%, unaffiliated 2.4% (2004)
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
   Government    Iceland Top of Page
Country name:
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conventional long form: Republic of Iceland
conventional short form: Iceland
local long form: Lydveldid Island
local short form: Island
Government type:
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constitutional republic
Capital:
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Reykjavik
Administrative divisions:
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8 regions; Austurland, Hofudhborgarsvaedhi, Nordhurland Eystra, Nordhurland Vestra, Sudhurland, Sudhurnes, Vestfirdhir, Vesturland
Independence:
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1 December 1918 (became a sovereign state under the Danish Crown); 17 June 1944 (from Denmark)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 17 June (1944)
Constitution:
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16 June 1944, effective 17 June 1944; amended many times
Legal system:
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civil law system based on Danish law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
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18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
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chief of state: President Olafur Ragnar GRIMSSON (since 1 August 1996)
head of government: Prime Minister Geir H. HAARDE (since 7 June 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister
elections: president, largely a ceremonial post, is elected by popular vote for a four-year term (no term limits); election last held 26 June 2004 (next to be held June 2008); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually the prime minister
election results: Olafur Ragnar GRIMSSON 85.6%, Baldur AGUSTSSON 12.5%, Astthor MAGNUSSON 1.9%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral Parliament or Althing (63 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 10 May 2003 (next to be held by May 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - Independence Party 33.7%, Social Democratic Alliance 31%, Progressive Party 17.7%, Left-Green Movement 8.8%, Liberal Party 7.4%; seats by party - Independence Party 22, Social Democratic Alliance 20, Progressive Party 12, Left-Green Alliance 5, Liberal Party 4
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court or Haestirettur (justices are appointed for life by the Minister of Justice); eight district courts (justices are appointed for life by the Minister of Justice)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Party or IP [Geir HAARDE]; Left-Green Movement or LGM [Steingrimur SIGFUSSON]; Liberal Party or LP [Gudjon KRISTJANSSON]; Progressive Party or PP [Halldor ASGRIMSSON - will step down in August 2006]; Social Democratic Alliance (includes People's Alliance or PA, Social Democratic Party or SDP, Women's List) or SDA [Ingibjorg Solrun GISLADOTTIR]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
NA
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Arctic Council, Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITU, MIGA, NATO, NC, NEA, NIB, OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Helgi AGUSTSSON
chancery: Suite 1200, 1156 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005-1704
telephone: [1] (202) 265-6653
FAX: [1] (202) 265-6656
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Carol VAN VOORST
embassy: Laufasvegur 21, 101 Reykjavik
mailing address: US Embassy, PSC 1003, Box 40, FPO AE 09728-0340
telephone: [354] 562-9100
FAX: [354] 562-9118
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
blue with a red cross outlined in white extending 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    Iceland Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Iceland's Scandinavian-type economy is basically capitalistic, yet with an extensive welfare system (including generous housing subsidies), low unemployment, and remarkably even distribution of income. In the absence of other natural resources (except for abundant geothermal power), the economy depends heavily on the fishing industry, which provides 70% of export earnings and employs 4% of the work force. The economy remains sensitive to declining fish stocks as well as to fluctuations in world prices for its main exports: fish and fish products, aluminum, and ferrosilicon. Government policies include reducing the current account deficit, limiting foreign borrowing, containing inflation, revising agricultural and fishing policies, and diversifying the economy. The government remains opposed to EU membership, primarily because of Icelanders' concern about losing control over their fishing resources. Iceland's economy has been diversifying into manufacturing and service industries in the last decade, and new developments in software production, biotechnology, and financial services are taking place. The tourism sector is also expanding, with the recent trends in ecotourism and whale watching. Growth had been remarkably steady in 1996-2001 at 3%-5%, but could not be sustained in 2002 in an environment of global recession. Growth resumed in 2003, and estimates call for strong growth until 2007, slowly dropping until the end of the decade.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$10.57 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
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$13.05 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.7% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$35,600 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 8.6%
industry: 15%
services: 76.5% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
165,900 (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 10.3%
industry: 18.3%
services: 71.4% (2003)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.1% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
28.7% of GDP (2005 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $6.995 billion
expenditures: $6.761 billion; including capital expenditures of $467 million (2005 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
31.6% of GDP (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
potatoes, green vegetables; mutton, dairy products; fish
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
fish processing; aluminum smelting, ferrosilicon production; geothermal power, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
14.2% (2005 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.619 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.619 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
17,280 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
15,470 bbl/day (2001)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
-$2.607 billion (2005 est.)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$3.215 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
fish and fish products 70%, aluminum, animal products, ferrosilicon, diatomite
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
UK 17.9%, Germany 16.4%, Netherlands 13%, US 8.1%, Spain 7.7%, Denmark 4.3% (2005)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$4.582 billion (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment, petroleum products, foodstuffs, textiles
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 13.4%, US 9.1%, Sweden 8.6%, Denmark 7.3%, Norway 7.2%, UK 5.9%, China 5.3%, Netherlands 5%, Japan 4.7% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.069 billion (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$3.073 billion (2002)
Economic aid - donor:
Definition Field Listing
$NA
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Icelandic krona (ISK)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Icelandic kronur per US dollar - 62.982 (2005), 70.192 (2004), 76.709 (2003), 91.662 (2002), 97.425 (2001)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Iceland Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
190,500 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
290,100 (2004)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: extensive domestic service
domestic: the trunk network consists of coaxial and fiber-optic cables and microwave radio relay links
international: country code - 354; 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:
Definition Field Listing
AM 3, FM about 70 (including repeaters), shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
14 (plus 156 low-power repeaters) (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.is
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
190,140 (2005)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
225,000 (2005)
   Transportation    Iceland Top of Page
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
97 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2005)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 92
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 29
under 914 m: 60 (2005)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 13,028 km
paved/oiled gravel: 4,343 km
unpaved: 8,685 km (2005)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 2 ships (1000 GRT or over) 4,479 GRT/1,296 DWT
by type: cargo 1, passenger/cargo 1
registered in other countries: 30 (Antigua and Barbuda 7, Belize 1, Denmark 1, Faroe Islands 3, Gibraltar 1, Malta 4, Norway 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 10) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Grundartangi, Hafnarfjordur, Hornafjordhur, Reykjavik, Seydhisfjordhur
   Military    Iceland Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
no regular armed forces; Icelandic National Police, Icelandic Coast Guard (Islenska Landhelgisgaeslan) subordinate to Ministry of Justice, Icelandic Crisis Response Unit (2006)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 69,038 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 56,777 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0%
Military - note:
Definition Field Listing
defense is provided by the US-manned Icelandic Defense Force (IDF) headquartered at Keflavik
   Transnational Issues    Iceland Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Iceland disputes Denmark's alignment of the Faroe Islands' fisheries median line; Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm

This page was last updated on 20 July, 2006


Source: CIA Factbook