What proportion of Iceland’s residents are Icelandic citizens, and how many Icelandic citizens live abroad?

Viking Festival Hafnarfjörður

According to data from Statistics Iceland, the total population of the country in the last quarter of 2018 was 357,050. Of these residents, 312,740, or 87.6%, were Icelandic citizens while 44,310, or 12.4% were foreign citizens. The largest group were Polish nationals at 17,010, accounting for around 38.4% of all foreign nationals in the country. Danes made up the next-largest group (numbering 3,520), followed by Lithuanians (numbering 2,443). The proportion of foreign citizens has increased sixfold in the last two decades – In 1998, foreign citizens made up just 2.1% of Iceland’s population. Recent statistics show the proportion continues to rise, even as the number of Icelandic citizens in the country increased by 0.4% between December 2018 and June 2019.

A fair number of Icelandic citizens live abroad. According to the National Registry, there were 46,572 Icelanders living abroad as of February 2018. The vast majority, or 61.8%, lived in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Another 13.9% of Icelandic emigrants lived in the US. As of February 2018, Icelandic citizens were registered residents in 118 of the 193 member states of the United Nations.

Asylum Applications Increase by 15%

In the first six months of 2019, Iceland’s Directorate of Immigration received 369 applications for international protection. The largest groups of applicants were citizens of Iraq, Venezuela, and Afghanistan. The Directorate of Immigration granted 111 applicants protection, supplementary protection, or protection on a humanitarian basis in the same time period, most from Iraq, Venezuela, or Syria. In 118 cases, or 52%, applicants were denied protection.

Applicants from 58 countries

Applicants for international protection came from 58 different countries during this period, and 15% more applications were received than during the same period last year. The majority of applicants were male, or 66%, while 34% of applicants were female. Three-quarters of applicants were adults, while 25% were under 18 years of age.

Dublin regulation applied in 20% of cases

The Directorate of Immigration ruled on a total of 500 cases involving international protection in the first half of this year. That number represents fewer than 500 individuals, as many individuals receive several rulings. One fifth of applications (99 in total) were rejected on the basis of the Dublin regulation, while another 17% were rejected on the basis that the applicant already had protection in another country.

Nearly 600 receiving services

The number of individuals with international protection receiving government support services has decreased in recent months, from 632 on April 1 to 585 on July 1. Of these 585, 335 are receiving social services through the City of Reykjavík, Hafnarfjörður, and Reykjanesbær on the basis of service agreements with the Directorate of Immigration. The Directorate’s own reception and service team is providing services to another 250 individuals.