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Iceland (2005)

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Iceland 2005 year

Administrative divisions 8 regions; Austurland, Hofudhborgarsvaedhi, Nordhurland Eystra, Nordhurland Vestra, Sudhurland, Sudhurnes, Vestfirdhir, Vesturland
Age structure 0-14 years: 22.1% (male 33,302/female 32,257)

15-64 years: 66.2% (male 99,513/female 96,886)

65 years and over: 11.7% (male 15,723/female 19,056) (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products potatoes, green vegetables, mutton, dairy products, fish
Airports 98 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total: 5

over 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 93

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 29

under 914 m: 61 (2004 est.)
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 13.73 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Budget revenues: $4.154 billion

expenditures: $4.058 billion, including capital expenditures of $467 million (2004 est.)
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; amended many times
Country name conventional long form: Republic of Iceland

conventional short form: Iceland

local long form: Lydhveldidh Island

local short form: Island
Death rate 6.68 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Debt - external $3.073 billion (2002)
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] 562-9100

FAX: [354] 562-9118
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 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
Economic aid - donor $NA
Economy - overview 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 8% 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 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 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.
Electricity - consumption 7.692 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - production 8.271 billion kWh (2002)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Hvannadalshnukur 2,119 m (at Vatnajokull glacier)
Environment - current issues water pollution from fertilizer runoff; inadequate wastewater treatment
Environment - 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

signed, but not ratified: 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 - 70.192 (2004), 76.709 (2003), 91.662 (2002), 97.425 (2001), 78.616 (2000)
Executive branch chief of state: President Olafur Ragnar GRIMSSON (since 1 August 1996)

head of government: Prime Minister Halldor ASGRIMSSON (since 15 September 2004); note - Former Prime Minister David ODDSSON switched positions with former Foreign Minister Halldor ASGRIMMSON

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 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 wins with 85.6% of the vote, Baldur AGUSTSSON 12.5%, Astthor MAGNUSSON 1.9%
Exports 0 kWh (2002)
Exports $2.902 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports 0 bbl/day (2001)
Exports - commodities fish and fish products 70%, aluminum, animal products, ferrosilicon, diatomite
Exports - partners UK 19.1%, Germany 17.2%, Netherlands 11.5%, US 9.8%, Spain 6.8%, Denmark 4.6% (2004)
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 - composition by sector agriculture: 11.2%

industry: 9.6%

services: 79.2% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $31,900 (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 1.8% (2004 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: 13,004 km

paved/oiled gravel: 4,331 km

unpaved: 8,673 km (2004)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%
Imports 0 kWh (2002)
Imports $3.307 billion (2004 est.)
Imports 15,470 bbl/day (2001)
Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, petroleum products; foodstuffs, textiles
Imports - partners Germany 12.3%, US 9.9%, Norway 9.7%, Denmark 7.9%, UK 7.2%, Sweden 6.7%, Netherlands 6% (2004)
Independence 1 December 1918 (became a sovereign state under the Danish Crown); 17 June 1944 (from Denmark)
Industrial production growth rate 8.8% (2004 est.)
Industries fish processing; aluminum smelting, ferrosilicon production, geothermal power; tourism
Infant mortality rate total: 3.31 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 3.45 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.16 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 4% (2004 est.)
International organization participation 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, ISO, ITU, MIGA, NATO, NC, NEA, NIB, OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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 158,100 (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture, fishing and fish processing 10.3%, industry 18.3%, services 71.4% (2003)
Land boundaries 0 km
Land use arable land: 0.07%

permanent crops: 0%

other: 99.93% (2001)
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 10 May 2003 (next to be held by May 2007)

election results: percent of vote by party - Independence Party 33.7%, Social Democratic Alliance 31.0%, Progressive Party 17.7%, Left-Green Alliance 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
Life expectancy at birth total population: 80.19 years

male: 78.13 years

female: 82.34 years (2005 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 territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Merchant marine total: 3 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 4,341 GRT/6,019 DWT

by type: cargo 2, passenger/cargo 1

registered in other countries: 30 (2005)
Military - note defense is provided by the US-manned Icelandic Defense Force (IDF) headquartered at Keflavik
Military branches no regular armed forces; Icelandic National Police, Icelandic Coast Guard (Islenska Landhelgisgaeslan)
Military expenditures - dollar figure 0
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 2.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Political parties and leaders Independence Party or IP [David ODDSSON]; Left-Green Alliance or LGP [Steingrimur SIGFUSSON]; Liberal Party or LP [Gudjon KRISTJANSSON]; 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 [Ingibjorg Solrun GISLADOTTIR]
Political pressure groups and leaders NA
Population 296,737 (July 2005 est.)
Population below poverty line NA%
Population growth rate 0.91% (2005 est.)
Ports and harbors Grundartangi, Hafnarfjordur, Hornafjordhur, Reykjavik, Seydhisfjordhur
Radio broadcast stations AM 3, FM about 70 (including repeaters), shortwave 1 (1998)
Religions 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)
Sex ratio 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 (2005 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: 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)
Telephones - main lines in use 190,700 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular 279,100 (2003)
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 1.92 children born/woman (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate 3.1% (2004 est.)
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