Icelandic Population Grows With Help Of Immigrants — The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelandic Population Grows With Help Of Immigrants

Published December 19, 2019

Inês Pereira
Photo by
Bjarni Brynjólfsson

Iceland started 2018 with a population of just 356,991 persons, but by the end of the year this number was 2.5% higher. In addition, this growth is greatly influenced by a positive migration balance, according to Iceland’s Statistics on Population Development of 2018.

Comparatively, more people moved to Iceland than from Iceland. A total of 14,929 immigrants arrived in the country in 2018 against the 14,275 Icelanders that left. In the group of newcomers, the majority were from Poland and Lithuania. In addition, a lot of people came in from the neighboring countries of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Correspondingly, the countries chosen by Icelandic residents were in great part Poland or the Nordic neighbors.

Most emigrants were young, in the age group of 25 to 29 and settled in the capital area. Additionally, Reykjavík saw an increase of 2.6% in the overall population and is now home to 128,793 inhabitants. However, the study shows that the overall flow for migration was lower than in past years.

Identically, at the beginning of this year, more immigrants were registered in the country, immigrants used to make up 12.6% of the Icelandic population but in 2019 the number grew to 14.1%. In contrast, fewer emigrants were granted citizenship last year compared to 2017.

Currently, immigrants are 20% of all working people in Iceland, and the number is increasing. Even though Icelanders have shown to view foreign workers in a positive light, they continue to be the most exploited and underpaid group in the Icelandic labour market.

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