Population projections

0. Registration entry for subjects

0.1 Name

Population projections

0.2 Subject area


0.3 Responsible authority; office, division, person etc.

Ómar Harðarson
Brynjólfur Sigurjónsson

0.4 Purpose and history

The first projection of population in Iceland was carried out in 1961 for the state's execution plan and extended to 2000. Statistics Iceland carried out parallel projections in 1972, 1986, 1995, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008 and 2010. Regular projections are now planned. Information on population development in Iceland is necessary; in the future Statistics Iceland will revise the population projection annually for use in policy development, as well as planning for vocational execution.

0.5 Users and application

Local authorities, companies, organisations and individuals. Population projection is very useful for a variety of purposes such as policy development, planning, as well as for vocational execution.

0.6 Sources

The population projection is based on information from the National Register of Persons on population, births, deaths, migration and projected average life expectancy for the coming years.

0.7 Legal basis for official statistics

Act on Public statistics No. 163/2007.

0.8 Response burden

0.9 EEA and EU obligations

1. Contents

1.1 Description of content

The following factors appear in the published material:

  • Population 2010-2060; including births, deaths, migration and population growth.
  • Population by sex and age groups 2010-2060

1.2 Statistical concepts

Statistics Iceland uses the component method for projecting the population. It takes into account demographic changes (ie. births, deaths and migration). Underlying causes of the population development are itemised and added up in the final stage. Thus the population projection is an easily understandable and analytical conclusion for the whole country.

2. Time

2.1 Reference periods

Annual projection of population 1 January 45-50 years ahead.

2.2 Process time

2.3 Punctuality

According to advance release calendar.

2.4 Frequency of releases


3. Reliability and security

3.1 Accuracy and reliability

There is much uncertainty about the future development of population change and thus errors in projections are usually significant when considering a longer period of time. In the latest projection, Statistics Iceland publishd for this reason a low, medium and high variants. The greatest uncertainty is with regard to the younger age groups, who are not yet born at the time of the projection. Some uncertainty, though not as great, is connected to the older age groups. The projection is more reliable for other age groups.

Live births
: The future number of live births is conditional upon fertility. This leads to significant uncertainty as to the number of births, since it is difficult to project future fertility.

Deaths: The number of deaths is decided by mortality rates, which change little from year to year. Thus the error in the number of deaths is not as great as that in the number of live births.

Migration: The greatest uncertainty is with regard to the external migration, which is affected by, among other factors, the economic situation in Iceland and neighbouring countries.

3.2 Sources of errors

3.3 Measures on confidence limits/accuracy

In a survey of older projections it appears that the error margin is, on average, 1.2% after five years, just under 3% after 10 years and about 9% after 20 years.

4. Comparison

4.1 Comparison between periods

All the projections mentioned above (1961, 1972, 1986, 1995, 2001, 2002, 2007 and 2008) were solely based on demographic changes such as the age composition of the population, migration, age linked fertility of women and mortality. The latest projection (2010) models the migration 2010-2015 on a study of the relationship between economic factors and the external migration.

Projections are all based on the same basic framework. Comparisons between projections show different conditions for the future values of demographic change.

4.2 Comparison with other statistics

4.3 Coherence between preliminary and final statistics

No preliminary statistics are published for the population projection.

5. Access to information

5.1 Forms of dissemination

  • Website of Statistics Iceland
  • Press releases
  • Statistical Yearbook of Iceland, Landshagir
  • Statistical Series, Hagtíðindi
  • Population statistics until 1980, in the series Hagskýrslur Íslands.
  • Hagskinna. Icelandic historical statistics.

5.2 Basic data; storage and usability

Data is stored in digital format by the Demography and census unit of Statistics Iceland. No access is provided to information regarding individuals, though it is possible to have data especially processed.

5.3 Reports

Ómar Harðarson: Athugun á búferlaflutningum til og frá Íslandi 1961-2009", júlí 2010. Veffang:
www.hagstofa.is/Utgafur/Greinar-og-erindi-starfsmanna. (Study of external migration in Iceland 1961-2009. Icelandic only).

5.4 Other information

Further information is available from the Demography and Census unit of Statistics Iceland.

© Hagstofa �slands, �ann 12-10-2010