Access to services took a turn for the worse between 2007 and 2012 according to the Statistics Iceland‘s Study of Incomes and Living Conditions. Overall results present a shift from considering access to services as very good to seeing it as fairly good. The shift tends to be larger in sparsely than densely populated areas. However, a vast majority of respondents still regard their access to services to be fairly or very good, ranging from 71% for public transportation in sparsely populated areas to 98.9% for primary schools in densely populated areas. There are some deviations from the general patterns for specific services.
The proportion of people living in densely populated areas that viewed their access to healtcare as either very or fairly bad fell from 11.2% to 5.2% while the proportion who viewed it as very good also declined from 57.1% to 48.4%. The proportion who reported their access as fairly good consequently rose from 31.7% to 46.5%. The proportion that saw their access to healtcare as very or fairly bad hardly changed between 2007 and 2012 but the proportion reporting very good access fell from 51.1% to 38.9%.
The proportion who regarded their access to public transportation as very good fell, from 48.1% to 42.7% in densely populated areas and from 35.5% to 28.4% in sparsely populated areas. In densely populated areas the proportion who saw their access as fairly good fell from 14.7% to 9% and in sparsely populated areas the proportion reporting it as very bad went from 14.3% to 10.1%.
In densely populated areas the proportion regarding their access to postal services as very or fairly bad declined from 20.5% to 8.7% while in sparsely populated areas it was the proportion that regarded their access as very good that fell, from 65.3% to 46%.
As for access to grocery stores the proportion of people living in sparsely populated areas reporting very good access fell from 64.1% to 50.8%. The proportion reporting fairly bad access also fell, from 8.8% to 4.3%. The distribution of responses changes very little in densely populated areas.
Note on interpreting these findings
The indicators reported here reflect people‘s subjective evaluations of their access to services and do not necessarily reflect their access objectively speaking. People‘s evaluations are likely based on both their objective circumstances and their expecations, the latter being to some extent shaped by the former. Insofar as there have been longstanding differences in access to services between densely and sparsely populated areas we would expect these to be reflected in different expecations. Thus one must take these measures as reflecting objective differences in access to services between the two areas.