Nearly 5,000 more people, about half of them foreigners, moved out of the country than moved in in 2009, according to data from the Ministry of Social Affairs.
The matter came up in parliament yesterday, when conservative MP Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir brought up the data, saying the figure was greater than the number of people who left Iceland since the 19th century. She added that the figures were especially troubling as most of those leaving were in the 25 to 29 years old age group.
Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir responded by saying that while she does consider the matter serious, it is worth pointing out that about half of those who left were foreigners. Furthermore, she added, the government has been doing everything in its power to build up job opportunities to keep people here.
Of those foreigners who left Iceland, the majority – 1,580 to be exact – were from Poland.