The number of households in Iceland was 130,849 and the number of families totaled 89,696 according to the census 1 January 2021. The number of both households and families increased by around 10% from the previous census in 2011. Today, Statistics Iceland publishes the results from the census on families and households. This is the fifth release in the thematic series of the census.

The main conclusions in the 2021 census are as follows:

  • The number of families in Iceland was 89,696.
  • There were 130,849 private households.
  • The number of lone mother families was 13,614 and lone father families 2,851.
  • In 2021, there were 2.65 persons per household on average but 2.59 in 2011.
  • 31.5% of men and 25.2% of women aged 18-36 had not started a family and were still living with their parents.
  • A total of 8,679 inhabitants lived in institutions, thereof 3,893 in hospitals and nursing homes.
  • There were 1,272 homeless people in total, of whom 194 were experiencing primary homelessness and 1,078 secondary homelessness.

The number of lone fathers increases
The total number of family nuclei according to the census was 89,696, around 10% increase from the 2011 census. The greatest difference was in the increase in number of married and cohabiting couples, although the greatest percentage increase was in the number of lone fathers.

Of the total number of inhabitants in Iceland (359,122) 1 January 2021, the largest number of individuals were in a family of married couples or just over 49%. The second largest group were those who were alone and did not belong to a family (around 24%).

The highest number of lone parents in a MSOA in Reykjanesbær
The number of lone parent families was 16,465 (13,614 mothers and 2,851 fathers) in the 2021 census. The proportion of lone parents was highest within two Minor Statistical Output Areas in Reykjanesbær (Ásbrú), 36% and 33%. An area within Grafarvogur north came second and then Digranes in Kópavogur and an area in Vesturbær north. The lowest proportion of lone parents was in Seltjarnarnes (8.8%), the West excluding Akranes and in Garðabær.

The number of multiperson households doubled
The number of households according to the 2021 census was 130,849, an increase of 10.4% from the 2011 census when they were 118,565. The greatest percentage increase was in the number of multiperson households.

There were 2.65 persons per household on average in 2021, compared with 2.59 in 2011. The number of households varies by MSOAs, thus the average household size was 1.80 in one area in central Reykjavík, while the largest households on average were in an area in Mosfellsbær and Kjós, 3.85 on average.

The proportion of women living with their parents increased since the last census
A total of 27,615 persons aged 18-36 lived in parental homes according to the 2021 census, or 31.5% of men and 25.2% of women (15,954 men and 11,661 women). The gender gap has decreased since the 2011 as the proportion of women living with parents increased according to the 2021 census while the proportion of men declined. However, the proportion of men living at home was still significantly higher than for women.

A comparison of individuals living with their parents by background, i.e. domestic or immigrants, shows that a much higher proportion of domestic individuals live with their parents than immigrants.

Inhabitants of hospitals and nursing homes increased by over 30%
The population in institutional households, i.e. households that are not considered private households, totalled 8,679 in the 2021 census, with a percentage increase from the last census of 16%. The proportion of the population of the total population living in institutional households was 2.4%. The highest number of people was in hospitals and nursing homes, a percentage increase by over 30% from the 2011 census. The population in assisted living facilities decreased in the period. The smallest population was in what falls under other institutions, where there was the greatest percentage increase. These institutions include, e.g. work camps and prisons, with a great proportional increase between censuses in the population of work camps.

The number of homeless men increased by 71%
The total number of homeless people in the country according to the 2021 census was 1,272. Homelessness is divided into two categories, i.e. primary and secondary homelessness. Primary homelessness is individuals who are on the street. Secondary homelessness are persons who are frequently resettled or are on a waiting list for social housing due to lack of housing. The total number of homeless people increased proportionally by over 67% between the 2011 and 2021 censuses. The number of men in primary homelessness increased the most.


Statistical Series – Population and housing census 1 January 2021 (published 14 November 2022)

Earlier releases from the 2021 census - modified:
The Icelandic population 359,122 in the 2021 census
The number of immigrants has doubled since the 2011 census
More than a third of the population with tertiary education
The labour market according to the 2021 census

Further Information

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