The number of foreign nationals legally registered as living in Iceland has nearly doubled over the past ten years.
While immigration to Iceland has been on a relatively steady incline since the mid-90s – with the exception of a small dip during the financial crisis – the percentage of people living in Iceland who are foreign nationals still remains in the single digits. In 2002, foreign nationals comprised 3.4% of Iceland’s population. Today, they comprise 6.6%, or 20,957 people total, Vísir reports.
According to data from Statistics Iceland, Poles are the largest ethnic minority in Iceland, numbering 9,049, or 43.2% of all foreigners living here. This is followed by Lithuanians, at 7,7%, and then Germans, at 4.4%. The other 44.7% of foreigners living in Iceland comprise nationalities totaling less than 4.4% each.
Proportionally, the greatest numbers of foreigners live in either Suðurnes or the Westfjords, where they comprise about 9% of the population in both regions. The lowest percentage of foreigners can be found in the northeast, where they only make up about 3.6% of the residents there.
Despite this, fewer people are getting citizenship. 450 people received citizenship in 2010, but only 370 received it last year. This would be the lowest number of people awarded citizenship for a given year since 2002.