Iceland

source : World Fact Book 2008 (October 2008)

SEE UPDATED INFORMATION HERE

   Introduction    Iceland
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
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:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 0 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing 4,970 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate:
Definition Field Listing temperate; moderated by North Atlantic Current; mild, windy winters; damp, cool summers
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing mostly plateau interspersed with mountain peaks, icefields; coast deeply indented by bays and fiords
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing 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
Total renewable water resources:
Definition Field Listing 170 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
Definition Field Listing total: 0.17 cu km/yr (34%/66%/0%)
per capita: 567 cu m/yr (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing 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, Whaling
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
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 304,367 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing 0-14 years: 21% (male 32,500/female 31,566)
15-64 years: 67% (male 103,231/female 100,545)
65 years and over: 12% (male 16,530/female 19,995) (2008 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing total: 34.8 years
male: 34.4 years
female: 35.3 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing 0.783% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 13.5 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 6.81 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1.13 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 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: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 3.25 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.39 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total population: 80.55 years
male: 78.43 years
female: 82.76 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1.91 children born/woman (2008 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 fewer than 100 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing noun: Icelander(s)
adjective: Icelandic
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norse and Celts 94%, population of foreign origin 6%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing Lutheran Church of Iceland 82.1%, Roman Catholic Church 2.4%, Reykjavik Free Church 2.3%, Hafnarfjorour Free Church 1.6%, other Christian 2.8%, other religions 0.9%, unaffiliated 2.6%, other or unspecified 5.5% (2006 est.)
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.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
Definition Field Listing total: 18 years
male: 17 years
female: 19 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 7.6% of GDP (2004)
   Government    Iceland
Country name:
Definition Field Listing conventional long form: Republic of Iceland
conventional short form: Iceland
local long form: Lydveldid Island
local short form: Island
Government type:
Definition Field Listing constitutional republic
Capital:
Definition Field Listing name: Reykjavik
geographic coordinates: 64 09 N, 21 57 W
time difference: UTC (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing 8 regions; Austurland, Hofudhborgarsvaedhi, Nordhurland Eystra, Nordhurland Vestra, Sudhurland, Sudhurnes, Vestfirdhir, Vesturland
Independence:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 16 June 1944, effective 17 June 1944; amended many times
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing civil law system based on Danish law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing 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 in 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 12 May 2007 (next to be held by May 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - Independence Party 36.6%, Social Democratic Alliance 26.8%, Progressive Party 11.7%, Left-Green Movement 14.3%, Liberal Party 7.3%, other 3.3%; seats by party - Independence Party 25, Social Democratic Alliance 18, Progressive Party 7, Left-Green Alliance 9, 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 H. HAARDE]; Left-Green Movement or LGM [Steingrimur SIGFUSSON]; Liberal Party or LP [Gudjon KRISTJANSSON]; Progressive Party or PP [Gudni AGUSTSSON]; Social Democratic Alliance or SDA [Ingibjorg Solrun GISLADOTTIR] (includes People's Alliance or PA, Social Democratic Party or SDP, Women's List)
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing Icelandic Psychiatric Human Rights Group
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing Arctic Council, Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NATO, NC, NEA, NIB, OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing chief of mission: Ambassador Albert JONSSON
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 Department of State, 5640 Reykjavik Place, Washington, D.C. 20521-5640
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
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 6% 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. Substantial foreign investment in the aluminum and hydropower sectors has boosted economic growth which, nevertheless, has been volatile and characterized by recurrent imbalances. 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. The 2006 closure of the US military base at Keflavik had very little impact on the national economy; Iceland's low unemployment rate aided former base employees in finding alternate employment.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $12.19 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing $20 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 3.8% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $40,400 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing agriculture: 5.2%
industry: 25.7%
services: 69.1% (2007 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 181,000 (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing agriculture: 5.1%
industry: 23%
services: 71.8% (2005)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1% (2007 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%
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing 25 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 5.1% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 27.5% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing revenues: $9.64 billion
expenditures: $8.602 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 27.6% of GDP (2007 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 9% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 8.533 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 8.152 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing 0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 18,460 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 17,450 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order -$3.189 billion (2007 est.)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $4.793 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing fish and fish products 70%, aluminum, animal products, ferrosilicon, diatomite
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing Netherlands 21.3%, Germany 13.3%, UK 13.2%, Ireland 7.7%, US 7.3%, Spain 4.6%, Japan 4.3% (2007)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $6.181 billion (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing machinery and equipment, petroleum products, foodstuffs, textiles
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing US 13.7%, Germany 12.2%, Sweden 10.2%, Denmark 7.5%, Netherlands 5.7%, UK 5.4%, China 5.1%, Norway 4.6% (2007)
Economic aid - donor:
Definition Field Listing $6.7 million (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $2.436 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $3.073 billion (2002)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $NA
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $NA
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $27.8 billion (2005)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing Icelandic krona (ISK)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing Icelandic kronur per US dollar - 63.391 (2007), 70.195 (2006), 62.982 (2005), 70.192 (2004), 76.709 (2003)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing calendar year
   Communications    Iceland
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 186,700 (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 347,500 (2007)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing general assessment: telecommunications infrastructure is modern and fully digitized, with satellite-earth stations, fiber-optic cables, and an extensive broadband network
domestic: liberalization of the telecommunications sector beginning in the late 1990s has led to increased competition especially in the mobile services segment of the market
international: country code - 354; the CANTAT-3 and FARICE-1 submarine cable systems provide connectivity to Canada, the Faroe Islands, UK, Denmark, and Germany; a planned new section of the Hibernia-Atlantic submarine cable will provide additional connectivity to Canada, US, and Ireland; 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 repeaters) (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing .is
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 270,942 (2007)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 202,300 (2007)
   Transportation    Iceland
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 99 (2007)
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 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing total: 94
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 28
under 914 m: 63 (2007)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 13,058 km
paved/oiled gravel: 4,397 km (does not include urban roads)
unpaved: 8,661 km (2007)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 2 ships (1000 GRT or over) 4,704 GRT/729 DWT
by type: passenger/cargo 2
registered in other countries: 45 (Antigua and Barbuda 12, Bahamas 1, Belize 1, Faroe Islands 4, Gibraltar 1, Malta 7, Marshall Islands 3, Norway 3, St Vincent and the Grenadines 13) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing Grundartangi, Hafnarfjordur, Reykjavik
   Military    Iceland
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing no regular military forces; Icelandic National Police (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing males age 16-49: 74,896 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing males age 16-49: 62,342 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
Definition Field Listing male: 2,393
female: 2,317 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0% of GDP (2005 est.)
Military - note:
Definition Field Listing Iceland has no standing military force; under a 1951 bilateral agreement - still valid - its defense was provided by the US-manned Icelandic Defense Force (IDF) headquartered at Keflavik; however, all US military forces in Iceland were withdrawn as of October 2006; although wartime defense of Iceland remains a NATO commitment, in April 2007, Iceland and Norway signed a bilateral agreement providing for Norwegian aerial surveillance and defense of Icelandic airspace (2008)
   Transnational Issues    Iceland
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm


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Source : CIA's World Fact Book 2008

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