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Iceland Facts
• Introduction
• People
• Government
• Communications
• Transportation
• Military
• Transnational Issues

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Introduction Iceland
Background:
Settled by Norwegian and Celtic (Scottish and Irish) immigrants during the late 9th and 10th centuries A.D., Iceland boasts the world's oldest functioning legislative assembly, the Althing, established in 930. Independent for over 300 years, Iceland was subsequently ruled by Norway and Denmark. Fallout from the Askja volcano of 1875 devastated the Icelandic economy and caused widespread famine. Over the next quarter century, 20% of the island's population emigrated, mostly to Canada and the US. Limited home rule from Denmark was granted in 1874 and complete independence attained in 1944. Literacy, longevity, income, and social cohesion are first-rate by world standards.
People Iceland
Population:
301,931 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 21.4% (male 32,759/female 31,845)
15-64 years: 66.8% (male 102,161/female 99,411)
65 years and over: 11.8% (male 16,162/female 19,593) (2007 est.)
Median age:
total: 34.5 years
male: 34 years
female: 35 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.824% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:
13.57 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:
6.77 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:
1.43 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.029 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.028 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.825 male(s)/female
total population: 1.002 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 3.27 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.41 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 80.43 years
male: 78.33 years
female: 82.62 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.91 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
220 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 100 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Icelander(s)
adjective: Icelandic
Ethnic groups:
homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norse and Celts 94%, population of foreign origin 6%
Religions:
Lutheran Church of Iceland 85.5%, Reykjavik Free Church 2.1%, Roman Catholic Church 2%, Hafnarfjorour Free Church 1.5%, other Christian 2.7%, other or unspecified 3.8%, unaffiliated 2.4% (2004)
Languages:
Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
Government Iceland
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Iceland
conventional short form: Iceland
local long form: Lydveldid Island
local short form: Island
Government type:
constitutional republic
Capital:
name: Reykjavik
geographic coordinates: 64 09 N, 21 57 W
time difference: UTC (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
8 regions; Austurland, Hofudhborgarsvaedhi, Nordhurland Eystra, Nordhurland Vestra, Sudhurland, Sudhurnes, Vestfirdhir, Vesturland
Independence:
1 December 1918 (became a sovereign state under the Danish Crown); 17 June 1944 (from Denmark)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 17 June (1944)
Constitution:
16 June 1944, effective 17 June 1944; amended many times
Legal system:
civil law system based on Danish law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Olafur Ragnar GRIMSSON (since 1 August 1996)
head of government: Prime Minister Geir H. HAARDE (since 7 June 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister
elections: president, largely a ceremonial post, is elected by popular vote for a four-year term (no term limits); election last held 26 June 2004 (next to be held in June 2008); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually the prime minister
election results: Olafur Ragnar GRIMSSON 85.6%, Baldur AGUSTSSON 12.5%, Astthor MAGNUSSON 1.9%
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament or Althing (63 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 10 May 2003 (next to be held by May 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - Independence Party 33.7%, Social Democratic Alliance 31%, Progressive Party 17.7%, Left-Green Movement 8.8%, Liberal Party 7.4%, other 1.4%; seats by party - Independence Party 22, Social Democratic Alliance 20, Progressive Party 12, Left-Green Alliance 5, Liberal Party 4
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Haestirettur (justices are appointed for life by the Minister of Justice); eight district courts (justices are appointed for life by the Minister of Justice)
Political parties and leaders:
Independence Party or IP [Geir H. HAARDE]; Left-Green Movement or LGM [Steingrimur SIGFUSSON]; Liberal Party or LP [Gudjon KRISTJANSSON]; Progressive Party or PP [Jon SIGURDSSON]; Social Democratic Alliance or SDA [Ingibjorg Solrun GISLADOTTIR] (includes People's Alliance or PA, Social Democratic Party or SDP, Women's List)
Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA
International organization participation:
Arctic Council, Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NATO, NC, NEA, NIB, OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Albert JONSSON
chancery: Suite 1200, 1156 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005-1704
telephone: [1] (202) 265-6653
FAX: [1] (202) 265-6656
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Carol VAN VOORST
embassy: Laufasvegur 21, 101 Reykjavik
mailing address: US Department of State, 5640 Reykjavik Place, Washington, D.C. 20521-5640
telephone: [354] 562-9100
FAX: [354] 562-9118
Flag description:
blue with a red cross outlined in white extending to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag)
Communications Iceland
Telephones - main lines in use:
193,900 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
304,000 (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: extensive domestic service
domestic: the trunk network consists of coaxial and fiber-optic cables and microwave radio relay links
international: country code - 354; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions); note - Iceland shares the Inmarsat earth station with the other Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 3, FM about 70 (including repeaters), shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios:
260,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
14 (plus 156 repeaters) (1997)
Televisions:
98,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
.is
Internet hosts:
212,897 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
20 (2001)
Internet users:
258,000 (2005)
Transportation Iceland
Airports:
98 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 93
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 29
under 914 m: 61 (2006)
Roadways:
total: 13,028 km
paved/oiled gravel: 4,241 km (does not include urban roads)
unpaved: 8,787 km (2005)
Merchant marine:
total: 1 ship (1000 GRT or over) 3,354 GRT/480 DWT
by type: passenger/cargo 1
registered in other countries: 34 (Antigua and Barbuda 8, Bahamas 1, Belize 2, Faroe Islands 4, Gibraltar 1, Malta 4, Norway 4, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 10) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Grundartangi, Hafnarfjordur, Hornafjordhur, Reykjavik, Seydhisfjordhur
Military Iceland
Military branches:
no regular armed forces; Icelandic National Police, Icelandic Coast Guard (Islenska Landhelgisgaeslan) subordinate to Ministry of Justice, Icelandic Crisis Response Unit (2006)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 69,038 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 56,777 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
0
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
0% (2005 est.)
Military - note:
under a 1951 bilateral agreement, Iceland's defense was provided by a US-manned Icelandic Defense Force (IDF) headquartered in Keflavik; in October 2006, all US military forces in Iceland were withdrawn; nonetheless, the US and Iceland signed a Joint Understanding to strengthen their bilateral defense relationship, including regular security consultations, military communications in the event of national emergencies, annual bilateral exercises on Icelandic territory, and future bilateral and NATO support to four Iceland Air Defense System (IADS) radar sites
Transnational Issues Iceland
Disputes - international:
Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm

This page was last updated on 17 April, 2007


 

Source: CIA World Factbook










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