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Iceland (2001)

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Iceland 2001 year

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

there may be four other counties
Age structure 0-14 years:
23.18% (male 33,238; female 31,191)

15-64 years:
65.01% (male 91,095; female 89,583)

65 years and over:
11.81% (male 14,681; female 18,118) (2001 est.)
Agriculture - products potatoes, turnips; cattle, sheep; fish
Airports 87 (2000 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total:

over 3,047 m:

1,524 to 2,437 m:

914 to 1,523 m:
7 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total:

1,524 to 2,437 m:

914 to 1,523 m:

under 914 m:
52 (2000 est.)
Area total:
103,000 sq km

100,250 sq km

2,750 sq km
Area - comparative slightly smaller than Kentucky
Background 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.
Birth rate 14.62 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Budget revenues:
$3.5 billion

$3.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $467 million (1999)
Capital Reykjavik
Climate temperate; moderated by North Atlantic Current; mild, windy winters; damp, cool summers
Coastline 4,988 km
Constitution 16 June 1944, effective 17 June 1944
Country name conventional long form:
Republic of Iceland

conventional short form:

local long form:
Lyoveldio Island

local short form:
Currency Icelandic krona (ISK)
Death rate 6.89 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Debt - external $2.6 billion (1999)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission:
Ambassador Barbara J. GRIFFITHS

Laufasvegur 21, Reykjavik

mailing address:
US Embassy, PSC 1003, Box 40, FPO AE 09728-0340

[354] 5629100

[354] 5629118
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission:
Ambassador Jon-Baldvin HANNIBALSSON

Suite 1200, 1156 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

[1] (202) 265-6653

[1] (202) 265-6656

consulate(s) general:
New York
Disputes - international Rockall continental shelf dispute involving Denmark and the UK (Ireland and the UK have signed a boundary agreement in the Rockall area); dispute with Denmark over the Faroe Islands fisheries median line boundary within 200 NM; disputes with Denmark, the UK, and Ireland over the Faroe Islands continental shelf boundary outside 200 NM
Economic aid - donor $NA
Economy - overview Iceland's Scandinavian-type economy is basically capitalistic, yet with an extensive welfare system, low unemployment, and remarkably even distribution of income. In the absence of other natural resources (except for abundant hydrothermal and geothermal power), the economy depends heavily on the fishing industry, which provides 70% of export earnings and employs 12% of the work force. 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. 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 has been remarkably steady over the past five years at 4%-5%.
Electricity - consumption 6.574 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (1999)
Electricity - production 7.069 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source fossil fuel:



15.29% (1999)
Elevation extremes lowest point:
Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point:
Hvannadalshnukur 2,119 m
Environment - current issues water pollution from fertilizer runoff; inadequate wastewater treatment
Environment - international agreements party to:
Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified:
Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Marine Life Conservation
Ethnic groups homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norse and Celts
Exchange rates Icelandic kronur per US dollar - 84.810 (January 2001), 78.676 (2000), 72.335 (1999), 70.958 (1998), 70.904 (1997), 66.500 (1996)
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 appointed by the prime minister and approved by Parliament

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 elected president; President GRIMSSON ran unopposed
Exports 0 kWh (1999)
Exports $2 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
Exports - commodities fish and fish products 70%, animal products, aluminum, diatomite, ferrosilicon
Exports - partners EU 64% (UK 20%, Germany 13%, France 5%, Denmark 5%), US 15%, Japan 5% (1999)
Fiscal year calendar year
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)
GDP purchasing power parity - $6.85 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture:
15% (includes fishing 13%)


64% (1999 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $24,800 (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 4.3% (2000 est.)
Geographic coordinates 65 00 N, 18 00 W
Geography - 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 Europe
Highways total:
12,691 km

3,262 km

9,429 km (1999)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%:

highest 10%:
Imports 0 kWh (1999)
Imports $2.2 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, petroleum products; foodstuffs, textiles
Imports - partners EU 56% (Germany 12%, UK 9%, Denmark 8%, Sweden 6%), US 11%, Norway 10% (1999)
Independence 17 June 1944 (from Denmark)
Industrial production growth rate 1.5% (2000 est.)
Industries fish processing; aluminum smelting, ferrosilicon production, geothermal power; tourism
Infant mortality rate 3.56 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 3.5% (2000 est.)
International organization participation Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CCC, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EFTA, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA (observer), IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, NATO, NC, NEA, NIB, OECD, OPCW, OSCE, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNU, UPU, WEU (associate), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 7 (2000)
Irrigated land NA sq km
Judicial branch Supreme Court or Haestirettur (justices are appointed for life by the president)
Labor force 159,000 (2000)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 5.1%, fishing and fish processing 11.8%, manufacturing 12.9%, construction 10.7%, other services 59.5% (1999)
Land boundaries 0 km
Land use arable land:

permanent crops:

permanent pastures:

forests and woodland:

76% (1993 est.)
Languages Icelandic
Legal system civil law system based on Danish law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Legislative branch unicameral Parliament or Althing (63 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

last held on 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
Life expectancy at birth total population:
79.52 years

77.31 years

81.92 years (2001 est.)
Literacy definition:
age 15 and over can read and write

total population:
99.9% (1997 est.)


Location Northern Europe, island between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of the UK
Map references Arctic Region
Maritime claims continental shelf:
200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin

exclusive economic zone:
200 NM

territorial sea:
12 NM
Merchant marine total:
2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 3,435 GRT/4,538 DWT

ships by type:
chemical tanker 1, petroleum tanker 1 (2000 est.)
Military - note defense is provided by the US-manned Icelandic Defense Force (IDF) headquartered at Keflavik
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 expenditures - dollar figure $0
Military manpower - availability males age 15-49:
71,241 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service males age 15-49:
62,704 (2001 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 17 June (1944)
Nationality noun:

Natural hazards earthquakes and volcanic activity
Natural resources fish, hydropower, geothermal power, diatomite
Net migration rate -2.28 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Political parties and leaders Independence Party (conservative) or IP [David ODDSSON]; Left-Green Alliance [Steinsvimur SIGFUSSON]; Liberal Party [Sverrir HERMANNSSON]; People's Party (Social Democratic Party) or SDP [Sighvatyr BJORGIVINSSON]; 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]
Political pressure groups and leaders NA
Population 277,906 (July 2001 est.)
Population below poverty line NA%
Population growth rate 0.54% (2001 est.)
Ports and harbors Akureyri, Hornafjordur, Isafjordhur, Keflavik, Raufarhofn, Reykjavik, Seydhisfjordhur, Straumsvik, Vestmannaeyjar
Radio broadcast stations AM 3, FM about 70 (including repeaters), shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios 260,000 (1997)
Railways 0 km
Religions Evangelical Lutheran 93%, other Protestant and Roman Catholic, none (1997)
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 (2001 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment:
adequate domestic service

the trunk network consists of coaxial and fiber-optic cables and microwave radio relay links

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)
Telephones - main lines in use 168,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular 65,746 (1997)
Television broadcast stations 14 (plus 156 low-power repeaters) (1997)
Terrain mostly plateau interspersed with mountain peaks, icefields; coast deeply indented by bays and fiords
Total fertility rate 2.01 children born/woman (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate 2.7% (January 2001)
Waterways none
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