Introduction ::IcelandBackground: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. Denmark granted limited home rule in 1874 and complete independence in 1944. The second half of the 20th century saw substantial economic growth driven primarily by the fishing industry. The economy diversified greatly after the country joined the European Economic Area in 1994, but Iceland was especially hard hit by the global financial crisis in the years following 2008. Literacy, longevity, and social cohesion are first rate by world standards.Geography ::IcelandLocation:Northern Europe, island between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of the United KingdomGeographic coordinates:65 00 N, 18 00 WArea:total: 103,000 sq kmcountry comparison to the world: 108land: 100,250 sq kmwater: 2,750 sq kmArea - comparative:slightly smaller than KentuckyLand boundaries:0 kmCoastline:4,970 kmMaritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nmexclusive economic zone: 200 nmcontinental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental marginClimate:temperate; moderated by North Atlantic Current; mild, windy winters; damp, cool summersTerrain:mostly plateau interspersed with mountain peaks, icefields; coast deeply indented by bays and fiordsElevation extremes:lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 mhighest point: Hvannadalshnukur 2,110 m (at Vatnajokull glacier)Natural resources:fish, hydropower, geothermal power, diatomiteLand use:arable land: 1.19%permanent crops: 0%other: 98.81% (2011)Irrigated land:NATotal renewable water resources:170 cu km (2011)Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):total: 0.17 cu km/yr (49%/8%/42%)per capita: 539.2 cu m/yr (2005)Natural hazards:earthquakes and volcanic activityvolcanism: Iceland, situated on top of a hotspot, experiences severe volcanic activity; Eyjafjallajokull (elev. 1,666 m) erupted in 2010, sending ash high into the atmosphere and seriously disrupting European air traffic; scientists continue to monitor nearby Katla (elev. 1,512 m), which has a high probability of eruption in the very near future, potentially disrupting air traffic; Grimsvoetn and Hekla are Iceland's most active volcanoes; other historically active volcanoes include Askja, Bardarbunga, Brennisteinsfjoll, Esjufjoll, Hengill, Krafla, Krisuvik, Kverkfjoll, Oraefajokull, Reykjanes, Torfajokull, and VestmannaeyjarEnvironment - current issues:water pollution from fertilizer runoff; inadequate wastewater treatmentEnvironment - international agreements: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, Whalingsigned, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life ConservationGeography - note: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 EuropePeople and Society ::IcelandNationality:noun: Icelander(s)adjective: IcelandicEthnic groups:homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norse and Celts 94%, population of foreign origin 6%Languages:Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spokenReligions:Lutheran Church of Iceland (official) 80.7%, Roman Catholic 2.5%, Reykjavik Free Church 2.4%, Hafnarfjorour Free Church 1.6%, other religions 3.6%, unaffiliated 3%, other or unspecified 6.2% (2006 est.)Population:315,281 (July 2013 est.)country comparison to the world: 179Age structure:0-14 years: 19.8% (male 31,675/female 30,852)15-24 years: 14.6% (male 23,364/female 22,821)25-54 years: 40.9% (male 65,018/female 63,903)55-64 years: 11.4% (male 18,229/female 17,767)65 years and over: 13.2% (male 19,140/female 22,512) (2013 est.)Dependency ratios:total dependency ratio: 50.4 %youth dependency ratio: 31.1 %elderly dependency ratio: 19.3 %potential support ratio: 5.2 (2013)Median age:total: 36.2 yearsmale: 35.7 yearsfemale: 36.6 years (2013 est.)Population growth rate:0.66% (2013 est.)country comparison to the world: 144Birth rate:13.15 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)country comparison to the world: 152Death rate:7.07 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)country comparison to the world: 130Net migration rate:0.53 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)country comparison to the world: 66Urbanization:urban population: 93% of total population (2010)rate of urbanization: 1.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)Major urban areas - population:REYKJAVIK (capital) 198,000 (2009)Sex ratio:at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female55-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/femaletotal population: 1 male(s)/female (2013 est.)Mother's mean age at first birth:27 (2011 est.)Maternal mortality rate:5 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)country comparison to the world: 178Infant mortality rate:total: 3.17 deaths/1,000 live birthscountry comparison to the world: 217male: 3.31 deaths/1,000 live birthsfemale: 3.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)Life expectancy at birth:total population: 81.11 yearscountry comparison to the world: 19male: 78.89 yearsfemale: 83.42 years (2013 est.)Total fertility rate:1.88 children born/woman (2013 est.)country comparison to the world: 142Health expenditures:9.4% of GDP (2010)country comparison to the world: 37Physicians density:3.93 physicians/1,000 population (2008)Hospital bed density:5.79 beds/1,000 population (2007)Drinking water source:improved:urban: 100% of populationrural: 100% of populationtotal: 100% of population (2010 est.)Sanitation facility access:improved:urban: 100% of populationrural: 100% of populationtotal: 100% of population (2010 est.)HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:0.3% (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 86HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 142HIV/AIDS - deaths:fewer than 100 (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 117Obesity - adult prevalence rate:23.2% (2008)country comparison to the world: 76Education expenditures:7.8% of GDP (2009)country comparison to the world: 14Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and writetotal population: 99%male: 99%female: 99% (2003 est.)School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):total: 18 yearsmale: 17 yearsfemale: 20 years (2010)Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:total: 14.6%country comparison to the world: 88male: 18.4%female: 10.7% (2011)Government ::IcelandCountry name:conventional long form: Republic of Icelandconventional short form: Icelandlocal long form: Lydveldid Islandlocal short form: IslandGovernment type:constitutional republicCapital:name: Reykjavikgeographic coordinates: 64 09 N, 21 57 Wtime difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)Administrative divisions:8 regions; Austurland, Hofudhborgarsvaedhi, Nordhurland Eystra, Nordhurland Vestra, Sudhurland, Sudhurnes, Vestfirdhir, VesturlandIndependence:1 December 1918 (became a sovereign state under the Danish Crown); 17 June 1944 (from Denmark; birthday of Jon SIGURDSSON leader of Iceland's 19th Century independence movement)National holiday:Independence Day, 17 June (1944)Constitution:16 June 1944, effective 17 June 1944; amended many timesLegal system:civil law system influenced by the Danish modelInternational law organization participation:has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdictionSuffrage:18 years of age; universalExecutive branch:chief of state: President Olafur Ragnar GRIMSSON (since 1 August 1996)head of government: Prime Minister Sigmundur David GUNNLAUGSSON (since 23 May 2013)cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister(For more information visit the World Leaders website )elections: president is elected by popular vote for a four-year term (no term limits); election last held on 30 June 2012 (next to be held in June 2016); note - following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually the prime ministerelection results: Olafur Ragnar GRIMSSON elected president; percent of vote - Olafur Ragnar GRIMSSON 52.8%, Thora ARNORSDOTTIR 33.2%, Ari Trausti GUDMUNDSSON 8.6%, other 5.4%Legislative branch:unicameral Althingi (parliament) (63 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)elections: last held on 27 April 2013 (next to be held in 2017)election results: percent of vote by party - SDA 30.16%, IP 25.4%, LGM 17.46%, PP 14.29%, Bright Future 3.18%, Dawn 3.18%, Rainbow 3.18%, Pirate Party 1.59%, Solidarity 1.59%; seats by party - SDA 19, IP 16, LGM 11, PP 9, Bright Future 2, Dawn 2, Rainbow 2, Pirate Party 1, Solidarity 1Judicial branch:highest court(s): Supreme Court or Haestirettur (consists of 9 judges)judge selection and term of office: judges proposed by Ministry of Interior selection committee and appointed by the president; judges appointed for an indefinite periodsubordinate courts: 8 district courts; Labor CourtPolitical parties and leaders:Bright Future [Guomundur STEINGRIMSSON] [Robert MARSHALL]Dawn [Margret Tryggvadottir Por SAARI]Independence Party (Sjalfstaedisflokkurinn) or IP [Bjarni BENEDIKTSSON]Left-Green Movement or LGM [Steingrimur SIGFUSSON]Pirate Party [Biritta JONSDOTTIR]Progressive Party (Framsoknarflokkurinn) or PP [Sigmundur David GUNNLAUGSSON]Rainbow [Atli GISLASON] [Jon BJARNASON]Social Democratic Alliance or SDA [Johanna SIGURDARDOTTIR]Solidarity [Lilja MOSESDOTTIR]International organization participation:Arctic Council, Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CD, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, EU (candidate country), FAO, FATF, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, NC, NEA, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTODiplomatic representation in the US:chief of mission: Ambassador Gudmundur A. STEFANSSONchancery: House of Sweden, 2900 K Street NW #509, Washington, DC 20007telephone:  (202) 265-6653FAX:  (202) 265-6656consulate(s) general: New YorkDiplomatic representation from the US:chief of mission: Ambassador Luis E. ARREAGAembassy: Laufasvegur 21, 101 Reykjavikmailing address: US Department of State, 5640 Reykjavik Place, Washington, D.C. 20521-5640telephone:  595-22 00FAX:  562-9118Flag description: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); the colors represent three of the elements that make up the island: red is for the island's volcanic fires, white recalls the snow and ice fields of the island, and blue is for the surrounding oceanNational symbol(s):gyrfalconNational anthem:name: ""Lofsongur"" (Song of Praise)lyrics/music: Matthias JOCHUMSSON/Sveinbjorn SVEINBJORNSSONnote: adopted 1944; the anthem, also known as ""O, Gud vors lands"" (O, God of Our Land), was originally written and performed in 1874Economy ::IcelandEconomy - overview:Iceland's Scandinavian-type social-market economy combines a capitalist structure and free-market principles with an extensive welfare system. Prior to the 2008 crisis, Iceland had achieved high growth, low unemployment, and a remarkably even distribution of income. The economy depends heavily on the fishing industry, which provides 40% of export earnings, more than 12% of GDP, and employs nearly 5% of the work force. It 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. Iceland's economy has been diversifying into manufacturing and service industries in the last decade, particularly within the fields of software production, biotechnology, and tourism. Abundant geothermal and hydropower sources have attracted substantial foreign investment in the aluminum sector, boosted economic growth, and sparked some interest from high-tech firms looking to establish data centers using cheap green energy, although the financial crisis has put several investment projects on hold. Much of Iceland's economic growth in recent years came as the result of a boom in domestic demand following the rapid expansion of the country's financial sector. Domestic banks expanded aggressively in foreign markets, and consumers and businesses borrowed heavily in foreign currencies, following the privatization of the banking sector in the early 2000s. Worsening global financial conditions throughout 2008 resulted in a sharp depreciation of the krona vis-a-vis other major currencies. The foreign exposure of Icelandic banks, whose loans and other assets totaled more than 10 times the country's GDP, became unsustainable. Iceland's three largest banks collapsed in late 2008. The country secured over $10 billion in loans from the IMF and other countries to stabilize its currency and financial sector, and to back government guarantees for foreign deposits in Icelandic banks. GDP fell 6.8% in 2009, and unemployment peaked at 9.4% in February 2009. GDP rose 2.7% in 2012 and unemployment declined to 5.6%. Since the collapse of Iceland's financial sector, government economic priorities have included: stabilizing the krona, implementing capital controls, reducing Iceland's high budget deficit, containing inflation, addressing high household debt, restructuring the financial sector, and diversifying the economy. Three new banks were established to take over the domestic assets of the collapsed banks. Two of them have foreign majority ownership, while the State holds a majority of the shares of the third. Iceland began making payments to the UK, the Netherlands, and other claimants in late 2011 following Iceland's Supreme Court ruling that upheld 2008 emergency legislation that gives priority to depositors for compensation from failed Icelandic banks. Iceland owes British and Dutch authorities approximately $5.5 billion for compensating British and Dutch citizens who lost deposits in Icesave when parent bank Landsbanki failed in 2008. Iceland began accession negotiations with the EU in July 2010; however, public support has dropped substantially because of concern about losing control over fishing resources and in reaction to worries over the ongoing Eurozone crisis.GDP (purchasing power parity):$13.04 billion (2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 147$12.83 billion (2011 est.)$12.47 billion (2010 est.)note: data are in 2012 US dollarsGDP (official exchange rate):$13.65 billion (2012 est.)GDP - real growth rate:1.6% (2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 1432.9% (2011 est.)-4.1% (2010 est.)GDP - per capita (PPP):$39,900 (2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 28$39,400 (2011 est.)$38,600 (2010 est.)note: data are in 2012 US dollarsGross national saving:9.7% of GDP (2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 1278.2% of GDP (2011 est.)4.4% of GDP (2010 est.)GDP - composition, by end use:household consumption: 53.6%government consumption: 25.5%investment in fixed capital: 14.4%investment in inventories: 0.2%exports of goods and services: 59.2%imports of goods and services: -52.9%(2012 est.)GDP - composition, by sector of origin:agriculture: 5.8%industry: 23.6%services: 70.7% (2012 est.)Agriculture - products:potatoes, green vegetables; mutton, chicken, pork, beef, dairy products; fishIndustries:fish processing; aluminum smelting, ferrosilicon production; geothermal power, hydropower, tourismIndustrial production growth rate:-2.4% (2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 155Labor force:180,100 (2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 175Labor force - by occupation:agriculture: 4.8%industry: 22.2%services: 73% (2008)Unemployment rate:6% (2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 617.4% (2011 est.)Population below poverty line:NA%note: 332,100 families (2011 est.)Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA%highest 10%: NA%Distribution of family income - Gini index:28 (2006)country comparison to the world: 12325 (2005)Budget:revenues: $5.796 billionexpenditures: $6.051 billion (2012 est.)Taxes and other revenues:42.5% of GDP (2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 34Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):-1.9% of GDP (2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 83Public debt:124.7% of GDP (2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 8128.4% of GDP (2011 est.)Fiscal year:calendar yearInflation rate (consumer prices):5.2% (2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 1514% (2011 est.)Central bank discount rate:5.4% (31 January 2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 625.75% (31 December 2010 est.)Commercial bank prime lending rate:8.33% (31 December 2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 1197.7% (31 December 2011 est.)Stock of narrow money:$3.562 billion (31 December 2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 109$4.053 billion (31 December 2011 est.)Stock of broad money:$12.57 billion (31 December 2010 est.)country comparison to the world: 97$12.68 billion (31 December 2010 est.)Stock of domestic credit:$18.98 billion (31 December 2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 86$19.64 billion (31 December 2011 est.)Market value of publicly traded shares:$2.021 billion (31 December 2011)country comparison to the world: 98$1.996 billion (31 December 2010)$1.128 billion (31 December 2009)Current account balance:-$700 million (2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 105-$953 million (2011 est.)Exports:$5.049 billion (2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 113$5.344 billion (2011 est.)Exports - commodities:fish and fish products 40%, aluminum, animal products, ferrosilicon, diatomiteExports - partners:Netherlands 30.1%, Germany 12.9%, UK 9.8%, Norway 5%, US 4.5%, France 4.4% (2012)Imports:$4.443 billion (2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 133$4.506 billion (2011 est.)Imports - commodities:machinery and equipment, petroleum products, foodstuffs, textilesImports - partners:Norway 16.6%, US 10.1%, Germany 9.2%, China 7.1%, Brazil 6.6%, Netherlands 5.7%, Denmark 5.6%, UK 4.7% (2012)Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$4.192 billion (31 December 2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 97$8.55 billion (31 December 2011 est.)Debt - external:$100.2 billion (31 December 2012)country comparison to the world: 47$110.8 billion (31 December 2011 est.)Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:$9.2 billion (31 December 2008)Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:$8.8 billion (31 December 2008)Exchange rates:Icelandic kronur (ISK) per US dollar -125.08 (2012 est.)115.95 (2011 est.)122.24 (2010 est.)123.64 (2009)85.619 (2008)Energy ::IcelandElectricity - production:16.77 billion kWh (2010 est.)country comparison to the world: 78Electricity - consumption:15.98 billion kWh (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 74Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2010 est.)country comparison to the world: 207Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2010 est.)country comparison to the world: 198Electricity - installed generating capacity:2.571 million kW (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 92Electricity - from fossil fuels:4.7% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 198Electricity - from nuclear fuels:0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 107Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:72.9% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 20Electricity - from other renewable sources:22.4% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 6Crude oil - production:0 bbl/day (2011 est.)country comparison to the world: 147Crude oil - exports:0 bbl/day (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 127Crude oil - imports:0 bbl/day (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 199Crude oil - proved reserves:0 bbl (1 January 2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 146Refined petroleum products - production:0 bbl/day (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 190Refined petroleum products - consumption:20,770 bbl/day (2011 est.)country comparison to the world: 127Refined petroleum products - exports:1,209 bbl/day (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 105Refined petroleum products - imports:15,530 bbl/day (2009 est.)country comparison to the world: 117Natural gas - production:0 cu m (2010 est.)country comparison to the world: 144Natural gas - consumption:0 cu m (2010 est.)country comparison to the world: 155Natural gas - exports:0 cu m (2010 est.)country comparison to the world: 116Natural gas - imports:0 cu m (2010 est.)country comparison to the world: 206Natural gas - proved reserves:0 cu m (1 January 2012 est.)country comparison to the world: 149Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:3.357 million Mt (2010 est.)country comparison to the world: 137Communications ::IcelandTelephones - main lines in use:191,100 (2011)country comparison to the world: 127Telephones - mobile cellular:344,100 (2011)country comparison to the world: 172Telephone system:general assessment: telecommunications infrastructure is modern and fully digitized, with satellite-earth stations, fiber-optic cables, and an extensive broadband networkdomestic: liberalization of the telecommunications sector beginning in the late 1990s has led to increased competition especially in the mobile services segment of the marketinternational: 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) (2011)Broadcast media:state-owned public TV broadcaster operates 1 TV channel nationally; several privately owned TV stations broadcast nationally and roughly another half-dozen operate locally; about one-half the households utilize multi-channel cable or satellite TV services; state-owned public radio broadcaster operates 2 national networks and 4 regional stations; 2 privately owned radio stations operate nationally and another 15 provide more limited coverage (2007)Internet country code:.isInternet hosts:369,969 (2012)country comparison to the world: 56Internet users:301,600 (2009)country comparison to the world: 129Transportation ::IcelandAirports:96 (2013)country comparison to the world: 59Airports - with paved runways:total: 7over 3,047 m: 11,524 to 2,437 m: 3914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2013)Airports - with unpaved runways:total: 891,524 to 2,437 m: 3914 to 1,523 m: 26under 914 m:60 (2013)Roadways:total: 12,890 kmcountry comparison to the world: 127paved/oiled gravel: 4,782 km (does not include urban roads)unpaved: 8,108 km (2012)Merchant marine:total: 2country comparison to the world: 144by type: passenger/cargo 2registered in other countries: 19 (Antigua and Barbuda 10, Belize 1, Faroe Islands 4, Finland 1, Gibraltar 1, Norway 2) (2010)Ports and terminals:Grundartangi, Hafnarfjordur, ReykjavikMilitary ::IcelandMilitary branches:no regular military forces; Icelandic National Police; Icelandic Coast Guard (2013)Manpower available for military service:males age 16-49: 75,337 (2010 est.)Manpower fit for military service:males age 16-49: 62,781females age 16-49: 61,511 (2010 est.)Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:male: 2,277female: 2,200 (2010 est.)Military expenditures:0% of GDP (2005 est.)country comparison to the world: 172Military - note:Iceland has no standing military force; all US military forces in Iceland were withdrawn as of October 2006; defense of Iceland remains a NATO commitment and NATO maintains an air policing presence in Icelandic airspace; Iceland participates in international peacekeeping missions with the civilian-manned Icelandic Crisis Response Unit (ICRU) (2011)Transnational Issues ::IcelandDisputes - international:Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm; the European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority filed a suit against Iceland, claiming the country violated the European Economic Area agreement in failing to pay minimum compensation to Icesave depositorsRefugees and internally displaced persons:stateless persons: 119 (2012)"
The World Factbook. 2014.