According to a new estimate by Statistics Iceland, the population in Iceland on 1 January 2024 was 383,726 and the population had increased by 8,508 from 1 January 2023, or by 2.3%. A total of 196,552 males, 187,015 females and 159 non-binary/other lived in the country at the beginning of the year, and the number of males increased by 2.5% from the previous year, females by 2.0% and non-binary/other by 22.3%.

The proportion of the elderly has never been higher
In recent decades, the age composition of the population has changed considerably. In general, it can be said that the number of children has decreased proportionally, while the number of older people has increased. Dependency ratio is calculated on the one hand as the proportion of the elderly (65+) among people of working age 20–64 years and on the other hand as the proportion of children and young people (0–19 years) from the same group. In the last ten years, the number of people aged 0-19 has decreased from 47.1% to 41.2% of people of working age, while the percentage of the elderly (65+) has increased from 22.7% to 26.0% and has never been higher.

Relative population growth was highest in the Southwest and the South
4,888 more people lived in the Capital region on 1 January 2024 than a year ago. That is equivalent to a 2.0% population increase in one year. Relative population growth was highest in the Southwest and the South, where the population increased by 4.1% last year. In other parts of the country, population growth was below the national average, in the West the number increased by 2.0%, in the Westfjords the number increased by 1.0%, in the Northeast by 1.3% and in the East by 1.9%. The smallest increase was in the Northwest region, where the number of people increased by only 47, or 0.6%.

The population decreased in 15 out of 64 municipalities<br Reykjavík was the most populous municipality with 136,894 inhabitants, while Tjörneshreppur and Skorradalshreppur were the smallest municipalities with 52 inhabitants each. A total of 29 municipalities had fewer than 1,000 inhabitants, five of which had fewer than 100 inhabitants. Eleven municipalities had 5,000 inhabitants or more.

Last year, the population decreased in 15 of the country's 64 municipalities. Of the eleven largest municipalities, with 5,000 inhabitants or more, the proportional increase was the largest in Reykjanesbær, by 4.6%, and Sveitarfélagið Árborg, by 4.6%. In Reykjavík, the increase was below the national average or 1.9%. Of the 11 largest municipalities, the smallest increase was in Akureyrarbær, by 1.3%, and the second smallest in Kópavogsbær, by 1.5%.

63% of the population in the Greater Reykjavik area
About 63% of the population lived in the Greater Reykjavík area 1 January 2024, i.e. continuous settlement from Hafnarfjörður to Mosfellsbær, a total of 239,733. The second largest urban area was in Keflavík and Njarðvík, where 21,847 inhabitants lived, and in Akureyri and the surrounding area, or 19,847 inhabitants. A total of 22,385 persons lived in sparsely populated areas, or 5.8% of the population. Sparsely populated areas are defined as the countryside or localities with less than 200 inhabitants.

Poles are the largest number of foreign citizens
In the last 10 years, the number of foreign nationals in Iceland has tripled. On 1 January 2024, there were 63,528 foreign nationals residing in the country. The proportion of foreign nationals in the total population was 16.6% compared with 6.6% in 2014.

As in previous years, Poles were by far the largest group of foreign citizens on 1 January 2024. There were a total of 22,693 persons with Polish citizenship, or 35.7% of all foreign citizens. Polish males made up 36.7% of all males with foreign citizenship on January 1, 2024, or 13,187 out of 35,929. Polish females made up 34.5% of foreign female citizens. The second largest group of foreign nationals was from Lithuania, 7.2%, while 5.6% of foreign nationals came from Ukraine.

Males more numerous than females among foreign nationals
On 1 January 2024, there were 8,348 more males than females among foreign nationals. However, the gender ratio is different depending on the country of origin. There were 1,388 males for every 1,000 females among foreign citizens from Poland and 1,803 from Lithuania. Among foreign citizens from Ukraine, on the other hand, there were 748 males for every 1,000 females on January 1, 2024.

Foreign citizens were proportionally highest in the Southwest
Highest proportion of foreign citizens lived in the Soutwest, or 26.8% of the total population of the region. On the other hand, only 9.7% of the population in the Northwest had foreign citizenship and 9.9% of the population in the Northeast. In individual municipalities, the percentage of foreign nationals was the highest in Mýrdalshreppur, 58.0% of the population, and it is also the only municipality where foreign nationals made up the majority of the population. After that comes Skaftárhreppur, where 37.3% of the population had foreign citizenship. The municipality with the lowest percentage of foreign nationals was Skagabyggð, but only 3.5% of the municipality's residents had foreign citizenship.

A new method for estimating the population in Iceland
Statistics Iceland publishes now for the first time population statistics calculated with a new method. Until now, population statistics have been based only on registration of legal residence in the national register. The new method is founded on a broader base of register data, tax data and data on students in addition to the national register. The results show that the population of Iceland 1 January 2024 was overestimated by 15,245 people.

New method for estimation of population size in Iceland - Working paper

Municipalities and urban nuclei
Citizenship and country of birth

Further Information

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