A significant shift in demographics in parts of the countryside has led to some towns growing older without enough births to replace them.
While there have been upswings from time to time, for the most part many towns and villages in the remote countryside of Iceland have been experiencing a gradual drop in population. Bæjarins bestu, the news website of the Westfjords, reports that in some cases, there are towns where there are more people dying than being born.
In the Westfjords alone, this phenomenon can be seen. In Ísafjörður, Bolungarvík and Súðavík, the population has declined from 6,300 to 4,830 from 1994 to 2011. This marks a reduction of about 23%.
A closer look at the demographics showed that the drop in population was not due solely to people moving away from these towns. The decrease varied by age group, but those under 40 decreased by 1,800 while those over 40 increased by 300. This indicates that the populations of these towns are growing older, while the number of births to replenish the area have been on the wane.
Should this trend continue, these towns and villages will continue to get older while the population declines, which could even spell the end of some villages as independent municipalities. In all likelihood, they would then be incorporated into larger, neighbouring municipalities.