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Iceland (2002)

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Iceland 2002 year

Administrative divisions 23 counties (syslur, 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

note: there may be four other counties
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.)
Agriculture - products potatoes, turnips; cattle, sheep; fish
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 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 73

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 21

under 914 m: 49 (2002)
Area total: 103,000 sq km

land: 100,250 sq km

water: 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 14.37 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Budget revenues: $3.5 billion

expenditures: $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: Iceland

local long form: Lydhveldidh Island

local short form: Island
Currency Icelandic krona (ISK)
Death rate 6.93 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Debt - external $2.6 billion (1999)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador James I. GADSDEN

embassy: Laufasvegur 21, 101 Reykjavik

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

telephone: [354] 5629100

FAX: [354] 5629139
Diplomatic representation in the US 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
Disputes - international Rockall continental shelf dispute involving Denmark, Iceland, 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, providing 70% of export earnings and employing 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. Consumption, investment, and exports should recover moderately in 2003.
Electricity - consumption 7.02 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - production 7.549 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source fossil fuel: 0%

hydro: 83%

nuclear: 0%

other: 17% (2000)
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, 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, Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
Ethnic groups homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norse and Celts 94%, population of foreign origin 6%
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)
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 prime minister and approved by Parliament

elections: president, which is largely a ceremonial post, 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
Exports 0 kWh (2000)
Exports $2 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Exports - commodities fish and fish products 70%, animal products, aluminum, diatomite, ferrosilicon
Exports - partners UK 18.2%, Germany 14.9%, Netherlands 10.9, US 10.3%, Portugal 5.5%, Spain 5.4%, Norway 5.3% (2001)
Fiscal year calendar year
Flag 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)
GDP purchasing power parity - $7.7 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 14% (includes fishing 12%)

industry: 21%

services: 65% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $27,100 (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate -0.7% (2002 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

paved: 3,262 km

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

highest 10%: NA%
Imports 0 kWh (2000)
Imports $2 billion (2002)
Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, petroleum products; foodstuffs, textiles
Imports - partners Germany 12.2%, US 11.1%, Denmark 8.6%, Norway 7.8%, UK 7.5%, Netherlands 6.6% (2001)
Independence 1 December 1918 (became a sovereign state under the Danish Crown); 17 June 1944 (from Denmark)
Industrial production growth rate 0.2% (2001 est.)
Industries fish processing; aluminum smelting, ferrosilicon production, geothermal power; tourism
Infant mortality rate 3.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 5% (2001 est.)
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
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 20 (2001)
Irrigated land NA sq km
Judicial branch 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)
Labor force 159,000 (2000)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 5%, fishing and fish processing 12%, manufacturing 13%, construction 11%, other services 60% (1999)
Land boundaries 0 km
Land use arable land: 0.06%

permanent crops: 0%

other: 99.94% (23% permanent pastures) (1998 est.)
Languages Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken
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)

elections: last held 8 May 1999 (next to be held by April 2003)

election results: percent of vote by party - Independence Party 40.7%, Social Democratic Alliance (PA, Social Democratic 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, Social Democratic Alliance 17, Progressive Party 12, Left-Green Alliance 6, Liberal Party 2
Life expectancy at birth total population: 79.66 years

male: 77.42 years

female: 82.07 years (2002 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.9% (1997 est.)

male: NA%

female: NA%
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: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,816 GRT/2,500 DWT

ships by type: chemical tanker 1 (2002 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
Military expenditures - dollar figure $0
Military manpower - availability males age 15-49: 71,142 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service males age 15-49: 62,556 (2002 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 17 June (1944)
Nationality noun: Icelander(s)

adjective: Icelandic
Natural hazards earthquakes and volcanic activity
Natural resources fish, hydropower, geothermal power, diatomite
Net migration rate -2.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Political parties and leaders Independence Party or IP [David ODDSSON]; Left-Green Alliance or LGP [Steingrimur SIGFUSSON]; Liberal Party or LP [Sverrir HERMANNSSON]; Progressive Party or PP [Halldor ASGRIMSSON]; Social Democratic Alliance (includes People's Alliance or PA, Social Democratic Party or SDP, Women's List)or SDA [Ossur SKARPHEDINSSON]; Social Democratic Party or SDP [Sighvatur BJORGVINSSON]; Women's List or WL [Kristin ASTGEIRSDOTTIR]
Political pressure groups and leaders NA
Population 279,384 (July 2002 est.)
Population below poverty line NA%
Population growth rate 0.52% (2002 est.)
Ports and harbors Akureyri, Hornafjordhur, Isafjordhur, Keflavik, Raufarhofn, Reykjavik, Seydhisfjordhur, Straumsvik, Vesttmannaeyjar
Radio broadcast stations AM 3, FM about 70 (including repeaters), shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios 260,000 (1997)
Railways 0 km
Religions Evangelical Lutheran 87.1%, other Protestant 4.1%, Roman Catholic 1.7%, other 7.1% (2002)
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.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: extensive 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)
Telephones - main lines in use 196,984 (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular 248,131 (221,231 GSM, 26,900 NMT) (2001)
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 1.99 children born/woman (2002 est.)
Unemployment rate 2.8% (2002 est.)
Waterways none
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