In 2004, the National registry recorded 65,576 changes of residence in Iceland where the population counts 292,587 inhabitants (mid-year population). Internal migration was registered in 55,613 cases, 5,199 individuals immigrated whereas 4,764 emigrated.

Measured in relation to the population, internal migration has increased slightly in recent years. Internal migration rate amounted to 190.1 per 1,000 population, as compared to 184.2 in 2003 and 167.9 in the early 1990s. There was a steady increase in internal long distance migration (migration between the country's eight regions) during the 1990s, long distance migration rate being 30.0 per 1,000 population in 1991 and 33.6 in 1999. There was a slight decline in long distance migration between 2000 and 2003, the rate was 29.6 in 2003 and 30.5 in 2004. The most notable decline in long distance migration has been in migration flows towards the Capital region (höfuðborgarsvæði), net internal migration towards this area was 8.9 in 1996-2000 compared to 3.1 during the period 2001-2003 and 3.4 in 2004.

As a rule, areas outside the capital area reveal prevalent negative net-migration, and during the entire period 1996-2003, the capital area was the only region with positive internal net-migration rate. In 2004 internal net-migration rate towards the Capital region was 3.4 per 1,000 inhabitants. Net gains were reported for two regions outside the capital area, in the South (Suðurland) and in the South West (Suðurnes) 2.8 per 1,000. Net out-flow was most pronounced in the Vestfjords (Vestfirðir) -27.6 and the North West (Norðurland vestra) -14.6. Both regions have experienced high out-migration rates at least since 1986. This is in particular true with Vestfjords where mean internal net migration was -39.5 during the period 1996-2000.

International migration has been prone to more annual fluctuations than is the case with internal migration. Between 1986 and 1995 net-immigration rate was negative (-0.4). In the late 1990s there was a steady increase in the number of immigrants, whereas the number of emigrants declined slightly. A peak was reached in 2000 when net-immigration rate was 6.1 per 1,000. Immigration declined between 2000 and 2003. Internal net-migration rate was negative in 2002 (-1.0) and 2003 (-0.5). In 2004 international migration rate was positive (1.5).

In 2004, the number of foreign citizens moving to Iceland from abroad was 2,416 as compared to 2,783 Icelandic nationals. Most immigrants of foreign nationality were from Portugal (520), followed by immigrants from Poland (233), Italy (164), and Denmark (154). Emigrants of foreign nationality were 1,526 compared to 3,238 Icelanders. The most common destinations of Icelandic emigrants are the other Nordic countries (above all Denmark, Norway and Sweden), the United Kingdom and the USA.


Further Information

For further information please contact 528 1100 , email


Use of this press release is free. Please quote the source.