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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 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. 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. Literacy, longevity, and social cohesion are first rate by world standards.


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People And Society

Nationality
Noun Icelander(s)
Adjective Icelandic

Ethnic groups
Homogeneous mixture of descendants of Norse and Celts 94%, population of foreign origin 6%

Languages
Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken

Religions
Lutheran Church of Iceland (official) 80.7%, Roman Catholic 2.5%, Reykjavik Free Church 2.4%, Hafnarfjorour Free Church 1.6%, other religions 3.6%, unaffiliated 3%, other or unspecified 6.2% (2006 est.)

Population World Ranking: 179
313,183 (July 2012 est.)

Age structure
0-14 years
20.2% (male 31,929/female 31,034)
15-64 years
67.1% (male 105,541/female 103,202)
65 years and over
12.7% (male 17,974/female 21,378) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 35.9 years
Male 35.4 years
Female 36.3 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 141
0.674% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 149
13.23 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 132
7.02 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 62
0.53 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Urbanization
Urban population 93% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
1.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
REYKJAVIK (capital) 198,000 (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.04 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.85 male(s)/female
Total population 1 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate World Ranking: 176
5 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 215
Total 3.18 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 3.33 deaths/1,000 live births
Female
3.03 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 19
Total population 81 years
Male 78.81 years
Female 83.29 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 140
1.89 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 156
4.2% of GDP (2009)

Physicians density
3.934 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital bed density
5.79 beds/1,000 population (2007)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 85
0.3% (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids World Ranking: 142
Fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - deaths World Ranking: 136
Fewer than 100 (2009 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 46
12.4% (2002)

Education expenditures World Ranking: 14
7.4% of GDP (2007)

Literacy
Definition
Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population 99%
Male 99%
Female 99% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 18 years
Male 17 years
Female 20 years (2008)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 World Ranking: 72
Total 16%
Male 19.9%
Female 12% (2009)


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  Iceland (Reykjavik):


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