0. Registration entry for subjects

0.1 Name


0.2 Subject area


0.3 Responsible authority; office, division, person etc.

Ómar Harðarson
Guðjón Hauksson
Brynjólfur Sigurjónsson
Hagstofa Íslands

0.4 Purpose and history

Statistics Iceland began publishing figures on migration in 1961, before which the main source of information on migration was censuses. Until the end of 1985 figures on migration were processed once per year, thus all persons who moved residence over the course of the year were only counted as moving once. It was measured based on change of residence from December of the previous year to December of the current year. With the founding of the Register of Migration Data in 1986 figures on migration were processed monthly, based on individuals having to be resident for at least one month in the same place before being considered as having moved.

0.5 Users and application

Ministries, municipalities, institutions, companies, organisations and individuals.

0.6 Sources

Statistics Icelands National Register of Persons registers migration, among other information.

0.7 Legal basis for official statistics

Act on Statistics Iceland no. 24/1913.
Act on National Register of Persons and civil registration, no. 54/1962.

0.8 Response burden

0.9 EEA and EU obligations

1. Contents

1.1 Description of content

Statistics Iceland annually publishes a number of tables showing migration, internal as well as external. In most tables figures on net immigration are shown. However, there is also information on net migration.
With the founding of the Register of Migration Data at the end of March 1986 the definition of migration was changed. Instead of being based on migration from year to year, migration within a single year was taken into account.The following information appears in the published press releases:

  • External migration
  • Internal migration, by immigration / emigration region
  • Domestic migration, by municipalities and regions
  • External migration by citizenship

1.2 Statistical concepts

Migration rate: Shown as net immigration per 1,000 inhabitants in immigration region.

Total Migration Rate: Total migration (immigrants + emigrants) per 1,000 inhabitants in immigration region.

2. Time

2.1 Reference periods

Statistics on migration are processed at the end of each month.

2.2 Process time

Press releases on migration are published every three months.

2.3 Punctuality

Statistics on migration are published five times annually on Mondays as set out in the release plan for each year.

2.4 Frequency of releases

Statistics on migration are published every three months in press releases as well as once per year in the Statistical Yearbook of Iceland.

3. Reliability and security

3.1 Accuracy and reliability

Late registration of change of residence is the main cause of errors in migration figures.

Migration is calculated for each month and thus a final figure is available for each month on its own; the figures for that month are not changed at any point after that. If a change of residence is registered a month or more late it is added to the month during which it was received.

When considering all moves over the past five years (from 1996-2000) only around 55% of registrations were received within a month of moving. After two months 96% of all registrations had been received by Statistics Iceland and within six months 98% had been received.

3.2 Sources of errors

Errors in published migration data appear due to delays in registration of change of residence.

3.3 Measures on confidence limits/accuracy

Confidence limits are not calculated.

4. Comparison

4.1 Comparison between periods

At the founding of the Register of Migration Data at the end of March 1986 the definition of migration was changed. Instead of being based on the whole year it is based on one month, which means that if an individual moves twice during the same month he is only counted as having moved once. It must be stressed that figures on migration after 1986 are not comparable with older figures.

4.2 Comparison with other statistics

4.3 Coherence between preliminary and final statistics

No preliminary statistics are released on migration.

5. Access to information

5.1 Forms of dissemination

  • News, released on Statistics Iceland's website
  • Statistics, categorised statistical web tables
  • Statistical Series, Hagtíðindi
  • Statistical Yearbook of Iceland, Landshagir
  • Population statistics until 1980, in the series Hagskýrslur Íslands
  • Hagskinna. Icelandic historical statistics

5.2 Basic data; storage and usability

Data stored in digital format by the Population Statistics Department of Statistics Iceland. No access is provided to data relating to individuals, though it is possible to have it especially processed.

5.3 Reports

5.4 Other information

Further information is available from the Population Statistics Department of Statistics Iceland.

© Hagstofa �slands, �ann 27-1-2009