According to revised figures from Statistics Iceland on localities and urban nuclei, 5.9% of the population lived in rural areas on 1 January 2020. Rural areas are agricultural areas or villages with less than 200 inhabitants. Males are more likely than females to live in rural areas, even if the difference is small. On 1 January 11,748 males (6.3% of all males) lived in rural areas, compared to 9,885 females (5.6% of all females).

Localities with 200 or more inhabitants were 63 on 1 January 2020. By far the largest was Greater Reykjavik with 228,418 inhabitants. The Keflavik/Njardvik locality came second with 19,311 inhabitants, and Akureyri third with 18,893 inhabitants on 1 January 2020.

A new definition of urban nuclei and localites
In 2015 a new definition of urban nuclei and localites came into force. Statistics Iceland has now revised the method of implementation, adopting a geographical approach. This was enabled by completing the geographically coding most of the addresses dating back to 1990. The new implementation draws a geographical boundary around the localities and urban nuclei according to the definition. New boundaries are drawn every five years in the years divisible by 5. A locality that has at least 50 inhabitants will be in the data for the next two five year period.

If needed, new boundaries are drawn even if the year is not divisible by 5, e.g, when new neighborhoods are populated or other changes have occurred that have a major impact on the data.

The new implementation will allow for greater precision of the data on urban nuclei and localites, and moving the break in the time series back in time. In this publication the time series is extended back to 1 January 2001, with the goal eventually to extend this back to 1991. Errors and omissions in previously published data have been corrected in this publication.

Feature files for the localities and urban nuclei have been prepared and are available on request.

Localities by size class and sex, 1 January 2020
Number of
localities
Total population Percent of
population
Males Females
Total 95 364,134 100.0% 186,941 177,193
Localities with 200 inhabitants or over 63 342,501 94.1% 175,193 167,308
Population 100.000 and over 1 228,418 62.7% 116,153 112,265
Population 10.000 - 99.999 2 38,204 10.5% 19,754 18,45
Population 5.000 - 9.999 2 16,276 4.5% 8,326 7,95
Population 2.000 - 4.999 9 25,523 7.0% 13,163 12,36
Population 1.000 - 1.999 12 16,928 4.6% 8,915 8,013
Population 500 - 999 14 10,096 2.8% 5,21 4,886
Population 300 - 499 10 3,865 1.1% 2,024 1,841
Population 200 - 299 13 3,191 0.9% 1,648 1,543
Rural areas 32 21,633 5.9% 11,748 9,885
Population 100 - 199 22 2,951 0.8% 1,561 1,39
Population 50 - 99 10 705 0.2% 371 334
Other rural areas .. 17,977 4.9% 9,816 8,161

Concepts
An urban nucleus is an contiguous cluster of addresses less than 200 m of each other within a municipality with at least 50 inhabitants.

A locality has the same definition, except that a locality is not bound by the borders of any municipality. A locality has 200 inhabitants at minimum.

Statistics