The latest figures from Statistics Iceland show that the Icelandic population has declined for the first time since the late 19th century.
The cause of the decline is, as to be expected, people moving out of the country. It is estimated that about 5,000 people have left the country than have moved to it.
Up until 2009, Iceland’s population had been steadily increasing, with record highs shown in 2006 and 2007, when about 7,800 were born in or arrived in Iceland each year. By January 2009, over 1,700 people had left the country, or about half of one percent. The number is significant, as it represents the first time since the late 19th century that the population has taken a sharp decline.
At the same time, Iceland’s foreign population has increased. Where in January 2009 foreigners comprised 6.8% of the population, they now make up 7.6%. This is due in part to Icelanders leaving the country, and to people moving to Iceland.