The Icelandic population will grow from 364 to 461 thousand in the next 50 years according to Statistics Iceland’s medium variant population projection. The high variant predicts a population of 533 thousand inhabitants while the low variant projects 394 thousand inhabitants. The population increase is both due to positive migration and natural increase. The projection variants are built according to different assumptions on economic growth, fertility and migration levels.
Statistics Iceland has published national projections for 2020–2069 describing the size and structure of the future population. The forecast is based on statistical models for migration, fertility and mortality.
From the year 2060, the number of yearly deaths will exceed the number of births, according to the medium variant of the population projection. The low variant of the projection predicts that this change will happen in 2037. The number of births per year will exceed the number of deaths for every year during the entire period, for the high variant. Life expectancy at birth will grow from 84.1 years in 2020 to 88.7 years in 2069 for women and from 79.9 to 84.4 years for men.
Immigration rates are expected to exceed emigration rates, which is mainly due to a high level of foreign immigration to Iceland. The number of emigrating Icelandic citizens will be higher than the number of returning citizens.
Population structure presented by age pyramids in figure 2 is predicted to change as follows:
• By 2037, 20% of the population will be older than 65 years and by 2064 the proportion will be over 25%.
• After 2053, the older age population (over 65 years) will become more numerous than the younger (less than 20 years old).
Although the population is ageing and the population growth is rather slow, the Icelandic population is and will be younger than the population in the EU countries on average. For instance, the percentage of 0 to 15 year olds in Iceland will decrease down to 16% in 2059 which is the 2018 proportion of young people in EU-28. Older persons (aged 65 or over) had already a 20% share of EU-28 population in 2018, while in Iceland this proportion will reach 20% in 2038.
Population projections 2020-2069 - Statistical series