In 2018 about one third of the Icelandic population had a long standing illness. Over the past ten years the proportion of individuals limited in their daily life because of health issues has increased. In 2008, the proportion was 16.1% but had risen to 26.0% ten years later. During the past years the annual increase has not been statistically significant while the proportion in 2018 is significantly higher than it was five years ago. These are among the results of the Icelandic Survey on Income and Living Conditions.
Note: The figure shows the percentage of individuals either limited or strongly limited in their daily activities because of health problems.
The percentage of individuals in Iceland limited in their daily activities because of health is similar to countries in the European Union (EU) with an average rate of 24.7%. The lowest rate in the EU was in Malta where 11.9% had limitations because of health issues, while the highest percentage was in Latvia, 40.0% . The measure takes into account both those somewhat limited as well as individuals strongly limited in activities of daily life. In Iceland, the division between those who were somewhat limited and those who were strongly limited because of their health, was more or less even.
Note: The figure shows the percentage of individuals limited in daily life because of health issues, by the severity of their limitations.
Long term illness more common among women
Long-term illness is more common among women, and has been from the beginning of the current series of measurements in 2004. Women are also more likely to be limited in their daily life because of poor health, compared with men. In 2018, one in every three women experienced health limitations in their daily life compared with one in every five men. Older people are more likely to be limited by their health as well as having a higher rate of longstanding illness compared with younger individuals. For example, a third of individuals aged 45 to 54 years had a longstanding illness compared with approximately half of individuals 65 years or older.
Note: The figure shows the percentage of individuals with health limitations with 95% confidence intervals, broken down by sex
Rate of health limitations higher among those with primary education and those with low income
Long-term illness and limitations because of poor health are more common for people with primary education compared with those who have a university degree. In 2018, one in every three individuals with primary education were limited in their daily life because of health compared with one in every five with a university degree. Daily limitations because of poor health are also more common for those in the lowest income bracket, as one of every three in the two lowest income quintiles suffered limitations because of poor health compared with one in four or one in five in the higher income quintiles.
Note: The figure shows the percentage of individuals with limitations because of health with 95% confidence intervals, broken down by education.
About the data
The results are based on data from the Icelandic Survey of Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). In addition to publishing results from 2015-2018, previous results were re-evaluated and brought in line with Eurostat regulations. Due to the re-evaluation a higher percentage of individuals are now defined as being limited because of their health from the year 2007. All results for 2018 are preliminary.
The percentage of individuals limited by health are based on the responses to the following question: For at least the past 6 months, have you been limited in activities people usually do because of a health problem? The percentage is both based on those who are limited and those who are severely limited because of their health.
The Icelandic EU-SILC is a longitudinal survey where five thousand households are contacted every year. Individuals (as well as their household) are selected randomly from the Icelandic National registry. The individual selected for the sample is called the selected respondent and it falls upon him to provide information about the household as well as information about him or herself as well as other members of the household. The results detailed in this release is based on the selected respondent.