The Washerwoman statue in the Botanic Gardens in Reykjavik honors women who used to use the island's geothermal springs to clean clothes.
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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 Althingi, 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. Denmark granted limited home rule in 1874 and complete independence in 1944. The second half of the 20th century saw substantial economic growth driven primarily by the fishing industry. The economy diversified greatly after the country joined the European Economic Area in 1994, but Iceland was especially hard hit by the global financial crisis in the years following 2008. The economy is now on an upward trajectory, fueled primarily by a tourism and construction boom. Literacy, longevity, and social cohesion are first rate by world standards.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Northern Europe, island between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of the United Kingdom

Geographic coordinates

65 00 N, 18 00 W

Map references

Arctic Region


total: 103,000 sq km

land: 100,250 sq km

water: 2,750 sq km

country comparison to the world: 108

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Pennsylvania; about the same size as Kentucky

<p>slightly smaller than Pennsylvania; about the same size as Kentucky</p>

Land boundaries

total: 0 km


4,970 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


temperate; moderated by North Atlantic Current; mild, windy winters; damp, cool summers


mostly plateau interspersed with mountain peaks, icefields; coast deeply indented by bays and fiords


highest point: Hvannadalshnukur (at Vatnajokull Glacier) 2,110 m

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 557 m

Natural resources

fish, hydropower, geothermal power, diatomite

Land use

agricultural land: 18.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 17.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 0.3% (2018 est.)

other: 81% (2018 est.)

Population distribution

Iceland is almost entirely urban with half of the population located in and around the capital of Reykjavik; smaller clusters are primarily found along the coast in the north and west

Natural hazards

earthquakes and volcanic activity

volcanism: Iceland, situated on top of a hotspot, experiences severe volcanic activity; Eyjafjallajokull (1,666 m) erupted in 2010, sending ash high into the atmosphere and seriously disrupting European air traffic; scientists continue to monitor nearby Katla (1,512 m), which has a high probability of eruption in the very near future, potentially disrupting air traffic; Grimsvoetn and Hekla are Iceland's most active volcanoes; other historically active volcanoes include Askja, Bardarbunga, Brennisteinsfjoll, Esjufjoll, Hengill, Krafla, Krisuvik, Kverkfjoll, Oraefajokull, Reykjanes, Torfajokull, and Vestmannaeyjar

Geography - note

strategic location between Greenland and Europe; westernmost European country; Reykjavik is the northernmost national capital in the world; more land covered by glaciers than in all of continental Europe

People and Society


noun: Icelander(s)

adjective: Icelandic

Ethnic groups

Icelandic 81.3%, Polish 5.6%, Danish 1%, other 12.1% (2021 est.)

note: data represent population by country of birth


Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German


Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland (official) 62.3%, Roman Catholic 4%, Independent Congregation of Reykjavik 2.7%, Independent Congregation of Hafnarfjordur 2%, pagan worship 1.4%, Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association 1.1%, other (includes Zuist and Pentecostal) or unspecified 19%, none 7.6% (2021 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 20.31% (male 36,394/female 34,837)

15-24 years: 12.85% (male 22,748/female 22,317)

25-54 years: 39.44% (male 70,227/female 68,095)

55-64 years: 11.94% (male 20,762/female 21,111)

65 years and over: 15.47% (male 25,546/female 28,697) (2020 est.)

This is the population pyramid for Iceland. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 54

youth dependency ratio: 29.9

elderly dependency ratio: 24.1

potential support ratio: 4.2 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 37.1 years

male: 36.6 years

female: 37.7 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 74

Birth rate

13.12 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 139

Death rate

6.56 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 134

Net migration rate

3.09 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 36

Population distribution

Iceland is almost entirely urban with half of the population located in and around the capital of Reykjavik; smaller clusters are primarily found along the coast in the north and west


urban population: 93.9% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.74% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

216,000 REYKJAVIK (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

28.7 years (2019 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

4 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 173

Infant mortality rate

total: 1.66 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 1.85 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 1.47 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 225

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 83.45 years

male: 81.21 years

female: 85.79 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

4.08 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

2.8 beds/1,000 population (2019)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

<500 (2020)

note: estimate does not include children

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<100 (2020)

note: estimate does not include children

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 19 years

male: 18 years

female: 20 years (2019)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 10%

male: 11.1%

female: 9% (2020 est.)


Environment - current issues

water pollution from fertilizer runoff

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Heavy Metals, Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 5.94 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 2.06 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.59 megatons (2020 est.)


temperate; moderated by North Atlantic Current; mild, windy winters; damp, cool summers

Land use

agricultural land: 18.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 17.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 0.3% (2018 est.)

other: 81% (2018 est.)


urban population: 93.9% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.74% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 113

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 525,000 tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 293,003 tons (2013 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 55.8% (2013 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 80 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 198 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 300,000 cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

170 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Iceland

conventional short form: Iceland

local long form: Lydveldid Island

local short form: Island

etymology: Floki VILGERDARSON, an early explorer of the island (9th century), applied the name "Land of Ice" after spotting a fjord full of drift ice to the north and spending a bitter winter on the island; he eventually settled on the island, however, after he saw how it greened up in the summer and that it was, in fact, habitable

Government type

unitary parliamentary republic


name: Reykjavik

geographic coordinates: 64 09 N, 21 57 W

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name means "smoky bay" in Icelandic and refers to the steamy, smoke-like vapors discharged by hot springs in the area

Administrative divisions

69 municipalities (sveitarfelog, singular - sveitarfelagidh); Akrahreppur, Akranes, Akureyri, Arneshreppur, Asahreppur, Blaskogabyggdh, Blonduosbaer, Bolungarvik, Borgarbyggdh, Dalabyggdh, Dalvikurbyggdh, Eyjafjardharsveit, Eyja-og Miklaholtshreppur, Fjallabyggdh, Fjardhabyggdh, Fljotsdalshreppur, Floahreppur, Gardhabaer, Grimsnes-og Grafningshreppur, Grindavikurbaer, Grundarfjardharbaer, Grytubakkahreppur, Hafnarfjordhur, Helgafellssveit, Horgarsveit, Hrunamannahreppur, Hunathing Vestra, Hunavatnshreppur, Hvalfjardharsveit, Hveragerdhi, Isafjardharbaer, Kaldrananeshreppur, Kjosarhreppur, Kopavogur, Langanesbyggdh, Mosfellsbaer, Mulathing, Myrdalshreppur, Nordhurthing, Rangarthing Eystra, Rangarthing Ytra, Reykholahreppur, Reykjanesbaer, Reykjavik, Seltjarnarnes, Skaftarhreppur, Skagabyggdh, Skeidha-og Gnupverjahreppur, Skorradalshreppur, Skutustadhahreppur, Snaefellsbaer, Strandabyggdh, Stykkisholmur, Sudhavikurhreppur, Sudhurnesjabaer, Svalbardhshreppur, Svalbardhsstrandarhreppur, Sveitarfelagidh Arborg, Sveitarfelagidh Hornafjordhur, Sveitarfelagidh Olfus, Sveitarfelagidh Skagafjordhur, Sveitarfelagidh Skagastrond, Sveitarfelagidh Vogar, Talknafjardharhreppur, Thingeyjarsveit, Tjorneshreppur, Vestmannaeyjar, Vesturbyggdh, Vopnafjardharhreppur


1 December 1918 (became a sovereign state under the Danish Crown); 17 June 1944 (from Denmark; birthday of Jon SIGURDSSON, leader of Iceland's 19th Century independence movement)

National holiday

Independence Day, 17 June (1944)


history: several previous; latest ratified 16 June 1944, effective 17 June 1944 (at independence)

amendments: proposed by the Althingi; passage requires approval by the Althingi and by the next elected Althingi, and confirmation by the president of the republic; proposed amendments to Article 62 of the constitution – that the Evangelical Lutheran Church shall be the state church of Iceland – also require passage by referendum; amended many times, last in 2013

Legal system

civil law system influenced by the Danish model

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Iceland

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 3 to 7 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Gudni Thorlacius JOHANNESSON (since 1 August 2016)

head of government: Prime Minister Katrin JAKOBSDOTTIR (since 30 November 2017)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president upon the recommendation of the prime minister 

elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 4-year term (no term limits); election last held on 27 June 2020 (next to be held in 2024); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition becomes prime minister

election results: Gudni Thorlacius JOHANNESSON reelected president; percent of vote - Gudni Thorlacius JOHANNESSON (independent) 92.2%, Gudmundur Franklin JONSSON (independent) 7.8%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Althingi or Parliament (63 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by closed-list proportional representation vote using the D'Hondt method; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 25 September 2021 (next to be held in 2025)

election results:

percent of vote by party - IP 24.4%, PP 17.3%, LGM 12.6%, SDA 9.9%, People's Party 8.8%, Pirate Party 8.6%, Reform Party 8.3%. CP 5.4%, other 4.7%; seats by party - IP 16, PP 13, LGM 8, SDA 6, People's Party 6, Pirate Party 6, Reform Party 5, CP 3; composition - men 33, women 30; percent of women 47.6%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court or Haestirettur (consists of 9 judges)

judge selection and term of office: judges proposed by Ministry of Interior selection committee and appointed by the president; judges appointed for an indefinite period

subordinate courts: Appellate Court or Landsrettur; 8 district courts; Labor Court

Political parties and leaders

Centrist Party (Midflokkurinn) or CP [Sigmundur David GUNNLAUGSSON]
Independence Party (Sjalfstaedisflokkurinn) or IP [Bjarni BENEDIKTSSON] 
Left-Green Movement (Vinstrihreyfingin-graent frambod) or LGM [Katrin JAKOBSDOTTIR]
People's Party (Flokkur Folksins) [Inga SAELAND]
Pirate Party (Piratar) [Halldora MOGENSEN]
Progressive Party (Framsoknarflokkurinn) or PP [Sigurdur Ingi JOHANNSSON]
Reform Party (Vidreisn) [Thorgerdur Katrin GUNNARSDOTTIR]
Social Democratic Alliance (Samfylkingin) or SDA [Logi Mar EINARSSON]

International organization participation

Arctic Council, Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CD, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, FAO, FATF, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, NC, NEA, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Bergdis ELLERTSDOTTIR (since 16 September 2019)

chancery: House of Sweden, 2900 K Street NW, #509, Washington, DC 20007

telephone: [1] (202) 265-6653

FAX: [1] (202) 265-6656

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Michelle YERKIN (since June 2021)

embassy: Engjateigur 7, 105 Reykjavik

mailing address: 5640 Reykjavik Place, Washington, D.C. 20521-5640

telephone: [354] 595-2200

FAX: [354] 562-9118

email address and website:

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); the colors represent three of the elements that make up the island: red is for the island's volcanic fires, white recalls the snow and ice fields of the island, and blue is for the surrounding ocean

National symbol(s)

gyrfalcon; national colors: blue, white, red

National anthem

name: "Lofsongur" (Song of Praise)

lyrics/music: Matthias JOCHUMSSON/Sveinbjorn SVEINBJORNSSON

note: adopted 1944; also known as "O, Gud vors lands" (O, God of Our Land), the anthem was originally written and performed in 1874


Economic overview

Iceland's economy combines a capitalist structure and free-market principles with an extensive welfare system. Except for a brief period during the 2008 crisis, Iceland has in recent years achieved high growth, low unemployment, and a remarkably even distribution of income. Iceland's economy has been diversifying into manufacturing and service industries in the last decade, particularly within the fields of tourism, software production, and biotechnology. Abundant geothermal and hydropower sources have attracted substantial foreign investment in the aluminum sector, boosted economic growth, and sparked some interest from high-tech firms looking to establish data centers using cheap green energy.

Tourism, aluminum smelting, and fishing are the pillars of the economy. For decades the Icelandic economy depended heavily on fisheries, but tourism has now surpassed fishing and aluminum as Iceland’s main export industry. Tourism accounted for 8.6% of Iceland’s GDP in 2016, and 39% of total exports of merchandise and services. From 2010 to 2017, the number of tourists visiting Iceland increased by nearly 400%. Since 2010, tourism has become a main driver of Icelandic economic growth, with the number of tourists reaching 4.5 times the Icelandic population in 2016. Iceland remains sensitive to fluctuations in world prices for its main exports, and to fluctuations in the exchange rate of the Icelandic Krona.

Following the privatization of the banking sector in the early 2000s, domestic banks expanded aggressively in foreign markets, and consumers and businesses borrowed heavily in foreign currencies. Worsening global financial conditions throughout 2008 resulted in a sharp depreciation of the krona vis-a-vis other major currencies. The foreign exposure of Icelandic banks, whose loans and other assets totaled nearly nine times the country's GDP, became unsustainable. Iceland's three largest banks collapsed in late 2008. GDP fell 6.8% in 2009, and unemployment peaked at 9.4% in February 2009. Three new banks were established to take over the domestic assets of the collapsed banks. Two of them have majority ownership by the state, which intends to re-privatize them.

Since the collapse of Iceland's financial sector, government economic priorities have included stabilizing the krona, implementing capital controls, reducing Iceland's high budget deficit, containing inflation, addressing high household debt, restructuring the financial sector, and diversifying the economy. Capital controls were lifted in March 2017, but some financial protections, such as reserve requirements for specified investments connected to new inflows of foreign currency, remain in place.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$19.16 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$20.52 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$20.01 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 151

Real GDP growth rate

1.94% (2019 est.)

3.88% (2018 est.)

4.57% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 141

Real GDP per capita

$52,300 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$56,900 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$56,700 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 24

GDP (official exchange rate)

$24.614 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3% (2019 est.)

2.6% (2018 est.)

1.7% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 147

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: A (2017)

Moody's rating: A2 (2019)

Standard & Poors rating: A (2017)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 5.8% (2017 est.)

industry: 19.7% (2017 est.)

services: 74.6% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 50.4% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 23.3% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 22.1% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 47% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -42.8% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

milk, mutton, poultry, potatoes, barley, pork, eggs, beef, other meat, sheep skins


tourism, fish processing; aluminum smelting;; geothermal power, hydropower; medical/pharmaceutical products

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 4.8%

industry: 22.2%

services: 73% (2008)


revenues: 10.39 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 10.02 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

40% of GDP (2017 est.)

51.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 126

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$1.496 billion (2019 est.)

$814 million (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 47


$7.43 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2020 est.)

$11.01 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$12.26 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 113

Exports - partners

Netherlands 23%, United Kingdom 9%, Germany 9%, Spain 8%, United States 7%, France 7%, Canada 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

aluminum and aluminum products, fish products, aircraft, iron alloys, animal meal (2019)


$7.55 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2020 est.)

$9.76 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$11.34 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 120

Imports - partners

Norway 11%, Netherlands 10%, Germany 8%, Denmark 8%, United States 7%, United Kingdom 6%, China 6%, Sweden 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, aluminum oxide, carbon/graphite electronics, cars, packaged medicines (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$6.567 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$7.226 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 89

Debt - external

$19.422 billion (2019 est.)

$22.055 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 94

Exchange rates

Icelandic kronur (ISK) per US dollar -

127.05 (2020 est.)

121.68 (2019 est.)

121.86 (2018 est.)

131.92 (2014 est.)

116.77 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 107,032 (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 31.37 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 135

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 421,384 (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 123.5 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 177

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: small but most progressive telecom market in Europe; telecom infrastructure is modern and fully digitized, with satellite-earth stations, fiber-optic cables, and an extensive broadband network; near universal fixed broadband service of at least 100Mb/s by the end of 2021; operator aims for national 5G coverage by end of 2022; good competition among mobile and broadband markets; investment by operators and government in support of NGN, particularly in rural areas; submarine cable to Ireland; importer of broadcasting equipment from Vietnam and China (2020)

domestic: liberalization of the telecommunications sector beginning in the late 1990s has led to increased competition especially in the mobile services segment of the market; 37 per 100 for fixed line and 122 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2019)

international: country code - 354; landing points for the CANTAT-3, FARICE-1, Greenland Connect and DANICE submarine cable system that provides connectivity to Canada, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, UK, Denmark, and Germany; 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) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

state-owned public TV broadcaster (RUV) operates 21 TV channels nationally (RUV and RUV 2, though RUV 2 is used less frequently);  RUV broadcasts nationally, every household in Iceland is required to have RUV as it doubles as the emergency broadcast network; RUV also operates stringer offices in the north (Akureyri) and the east (Egilsstadir) but operations are all run out of RUV headquarters in Reykjavik;  there are 3 privately owned TV stations;  Stod 2 (Channel 2) is owned by Syn, following 365 Media and Vodafone merger, and is headquartered in Reykjavik;  Syn also operates 4 sports channels under Stod 2;  N4 is the only television station headquartered outside of Reykjavik, in Akureyri, with local programming for the north, south, and east of Iceland;  Hringbraut is the newest station and is headquartered in Reykjavik;  all of these television stations have nationwide penetration as 100% of households have multi-channel services though digital and/or fiber-optic connections

RUV operates 3 radio stations (RAS 1, RAS2, and Rondo) as well as 4 regional stations (but they mostly act as range extenders for RUV radio broadcasts nationwide);  there is 1 privately owned radio conglomerate, Syn (4 stations), that broadcasts nationwide, and 3 other radio stations that broadcast to the most densely populated regions of the country.  In addition there are upwards of 20 radio stations that operate regionally


Internet users

total: 338,900 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 98.26% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 170

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 141,816 (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 41.56 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 121


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 6 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 63

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 7,819,740 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 163.65 million mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 7

over 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 89

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 26

under 914 m: 60 (2013)


total: 12,898 km (2012)

paved/oiled gravel: 5,647 km (excludes urban roads) (2012)

unpaved: 7,251 km (2012)

country comparison to the world: 129

Merchant marine

total: 41

by type: general cargo 5, oil tanker 2, other 34 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 124

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Grundartangi, Hafnarfjordur, Reykjavik

Military and Security

Military and security forces

no regular military forces; Ministry of Interior: Icelandic Coast Guard (includes both air and maritime elements); Icelandic National Police (2021)

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Icelandic Coast Guard has approximately 250 personnel (2021)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Icelandic Coast Guard's inventory consists of equipment from mostly European suppliers (2021)

Military - note

Iceland was one of the original 12 countries to sign the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty) in 1949; Iceland is the only NATO member that has no standing military force; defense of Iceland remains a NATO commitment and NATO maintains an air policing presence in Icelandic airspace; Iceland participates in international peacekeeping missions with the civilian-manned Icelandic Crisis Response Unit (ICRU)

Iceland cooperates with the militaries of other Nordic countries through the Nordic Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO), which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden; areas of cooperation include armaments, education, human resources, training and exercises, and operations; NORDEFCO was established in 2009


Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm; the European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority filed a suit against Iceland, claiming the country violated the Agreement on the European Economic Area in failing to pay minimum compensation to Icesave depositors

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 65 (2020)