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Iceland (2008)

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Iceland 2008 year

Administrative divisions 8 regions; Austurland, Hofudhborgarsvaedhi, Nordhurland Eystra, Nordhurland Vestra, Sudhurland, Sudhurnes, Vestfirdhir, Vesturland
Age structure 0-14 years: 21.4% (male 32,759/female 31,845)

15-64 years: 66.8% (male 102,161/female 99,411)

65 years and over: 11.8% (male 16,162/female 19,593) (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products potatoes, green vegetables; mutton, dairy products; fish
Airports 99 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways 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 total: 94

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 28

under 914 m: 63 (2007)
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 13.57 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Budget revenues: $9.495 billion

expenditures: $8.432 billion (2007 est.)
Capital name: Reykjavik

geographic coordinates: 64 09 N, 21 57 W

time difference: UTC (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Climate temperate; moderated by North Atlantic Current; mild, windy winters; damp, cool summers
Coastline 4,970 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: Lydveldid Island

local short form: Island
Death rate 6.77 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Debt - external $3.073 billion (2002)
Diplomatic representation from the US 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
Diplomatic representation in the US 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
Disputes - international Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm
Economic aid - donor $6.7 million (2004)
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 nearly 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.
Electricity - consumption 8.152 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - production 8.533 billion kWh (2005)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Hvannadalshnukur 2,110 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, Whaling

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 - 63.391 (2007), 70.195 (2006), 62.982 (2005), 70.192 (2004), 76.709 (2003)
Executive branch 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%
Exports 0 kWh (2005)
Exports $4.569 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Exports 0 bbl/day (2004)
Exports - commodities fish and fish products 70%, aluminum, animal products, ferrosilicon, diatomite
Exports - partners Netherlands 16.5%, UK 15.7%, Germany 15%, US 10.8%, Spain 6.4% (2006)
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: 5.3%

industry: 26.3%

services: 68.4% (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 1.8% (2007 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
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%
Imports 0 kWh (2005)
Imports $5.777 billion (2007 est.)
Imports 0 cu m (2005)
Imports 17,450 bbl/day (2004)
Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, petroleum products, foodstuffs, textiles
Imports - partners US 12.8%, Germany 12.3%, Norway 7.1%, Sweden 6.9%, Denmark 6.1%, UK 5.3%, China 5.3%, Netherlands 4.8%, Japan 4.1% (2006)
Independence 1 December 1918 (became a sovereign state under the Danish Crown); 17 June 1944 (from Denmark)
Industrial production growth rate 9% (2007 est.)
Industries fish processing; aluminum smelting, ferrosilicon production; geothermal power, tourism
Infant mortality rate total: 3.27 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 3.41 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 4.9% (2007 est.)
International organization participation 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
Irrigated land NA
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 180,000 (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture: 5.1%

industry: 23%

services: 71.4% (2005)
Land boundaries 0 km
Land use arable land: 0.07%

permanent crops: 0%

other: 99.93% (2005)
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 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
Life expectancy at birth total population: 80.43 years

male: 78.33 years

female: 82.62 years (2007 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99%

male: 99%

female: 99% (2003 est.)
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: 2 ships (1000 GRT or over) 4,704 GRT/729 DWT

by type: passenger/cargo 2

registered in other countries: 41 (Antigua and Barbuda 9, Bahamas 1, Belize 1, Faroe Islands 4, Gibraltar 1, Malta 7, Norway 3, St Vincent and The Grenadines 15) (2007)
Military - note under a 1951 bilateral agreement, Iceland's defense was provided by a US-manned Icelandic Defense Force (IDF) headquartered in Keflavik; in October 2006, all US military forces in Iceland were withdrawn; nonetheless, the US and Iceland signed a Joint Understanding to strengthen their bilateral defense relationship, including regular security consultations, military communications in the event of national emergencies, annual bilateral exercises on Icelandic territory, and future bilateral and NATO support to four Iceland Air Defense System (IADS) radar sites
Military branches no regular military forces; Icelandic National Police (2006)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 0% (2005 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 1.43 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Political parties and leaders 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 NA
Population 301,931 (July 2007 est.)
Population below poverty line NA%
Population growth rate 0.824% (2007 est.)
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: 1.029 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.028 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.825 male(s)/female

total population: 1.002 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system 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)
Telephones - main lines in use 193,700 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular 328,500 (2006)
Television broadcast stations 14 (plus 156 repeaters) (1997)
Terrain mostly plateau interspersed with mountain peaks, icefields; coast deeply indented by bays and fiords
Total fertility rate 1.91 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate 1% (2007 est.)
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