Facts & Figures Iceland


Geography

Location: European island in the North Atlantic (3 hours' flight from London, 5 ½ hours from New York).
Capital: Reykjavik (population 120.000 approx.)
Total area: 103,000 km² (39,756 square.miles); vegetation: 23.1%, lakes: 2.7%, glaciers: 11.6%, wasteland: 62.6%. Sea area within fishing limits: 758,000 km². Coastline: 4,970 km.

People

Population: about 318.000 (3.1 per sq. km). / Population Growth Rate - 0.65%
Biggest cities: Reykjavík (120,000)* / Kópavogur (32,000)* / Hafnarfjördur (27,000)* / Akureyri (18,000) / Reykjanesbær (14,000) *Cities in the capital region
Ethnic groups: Homogeneous mixture of descendants of the original Nordic and Celtic settlers. (93% Icelandic, 7.0% other)
Religion: State Lutheran Church 80.7%, Roman Catholic Church 2.5%, other 16.8%
Language: Icelandic. English is widely spoken and understood.
Average Life Expectancy: 81.22 years

Government

Type: Republic since 17 June 1944. Independent since 1 December 1918.
President: Mr. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson since 2016. The cabinet is responsible to the legislature (Althingi).

Nature in Iceland

In environmental terms, Iceland is unique. Iceland is a large country (103,000 km², about the same surface area as Ireland, Portugal, Cuba or the State of Virginia), but is sparsely populated, with only 3 persons per km² living mostly along the coast. The interior of the country contains stunning contrasts. It is largely an arctic desert, punctuated with mountains, glaciers, volcanoes and waterfalls. Most of the vegetation and agricultural areas are in the lowlands close to the coastline. Iceland has very mild, coastal weather. The average summer temperature in Reykjavik, the capital, is 11.8°C/53°F in July, with average highs of 24.3°C/76°F. Iceland has a pure, pollution-free environment. Industry is operated almost exclusively with clean hydroelectric and geothermal power.

More Facts

Monetary Unit: Icelandic króna

Tim Zone: Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) throughout the year. Unlike most states in Europe, Summer (Daylight-Saving) time is not observed in Iceland.

National Flag: Blue with a red cross outlined in white. The colors of the flag are symbolic for Iceland: red is for the volcanic fires, white recalls the snow and glaciers, and blue is for sky and ocean.

Natural Resources: Fish, hydropower, geothermal power

Agriculture: Potatoes, green vegetables; mutton, chicken, pork, beef, dairy products; fish

Industry: Fish processing; aluminium smelting, geothermal power, hydropower, tourism

Neighboring Countries: None (island)

Highest Mountain: Hvannadalshnukur (2,110m)

Longest River: Þjórsá (230 Km)

Climate: Mild, windy winters -2°C to 5°C; damp, cool summers - 5°C to 14°C,

Yearly Rainfall: 457 cm (approx)

Plant Life: Ash, aspen, birch, willow, heather, grasses, mosses and 340+ flower species

Animal Life: Wild reindeer, polar fox

Bird Life: Eiderduck, ptarmigan, swan, eagle, falcon, and gannet

Marine Life: Whales, seals, dolphins, porpoise, cod, haddock, herring