Immigration In Iceland On The Rise - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Immigration In Iceland On The Rise

Published October 30, 2015

Photos by
Paul Fontaine

The immigrant population of Iceland has increased by half a percentage in the past year, and now comprises 8.9% of the whole, new data from Statistics Iceland finds.

According to the latest statistics, there are 29,192 immigrants in Iceland, comprising 8.9% of the population. This is up from 8.4% the previous year, and 8% in 2012.

Second-generation immigrants (defined as people born in Iceland to non-Icelandic parents who were both born overseas) increased slightly between the years, from 3,534 to 3,846. When combined with the population of immigrants – that is, people in Iceland born overseas to non-Icelandic parents and grandparents – the first and second generation immigrants of Iceland comprise 10% of the population.

Individuals of foreign extraction, who are defined as people born in Iceland who have one foreign-born non-Icelandic parent, also increased slightly between the years, from 6.5% of the population to 6.6% today.

Within the immigrant population, Poles represented the largest demographic, and comprise 37.5% of all immigrants. Trailing far behind in second place were Lithuanians (5.1% of all immigrants) and people from the Philippines (5% of all immigrants).

Although nearly half of Iceland’s total population lives in the capital area, the largest concentration of immigrants can be found in the Westfjords and Suðurnes, where they comprise around 15% of the total population in these areas. The lowest concentration of immigrants, or about 5% of the total population for the region, can be found in northwest Iceland.

The number of immigrants granted citizenship did not change much between the years. Last year, 595 immigrants were given citizenship – this year, that number only rose by 2 people, to 597.


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