Immigrants Make up Ten Percent of Icelandic Population Skip to content

Immigrants Make up Ten Percent of Icelandic Population

Close to 32,000 immigrants live in Iceland, or 9.6 percent of the population, according to new figures from Statistics Iceland.

On January 1, 2016, there were 31.812 immigrants in Iceland. That’s an increase from last year when they were 29,192, or 8.9 percent of the population. Second generation immigrants were 3,846 last year, but are 4,158 this year. First and second generation immigrants combined comprise 10.8 percent of the population. Individuals with a foreign background, other than immigrants, make up 6.7 percent of the population, compared with 6.6 percent last year.

An immigrant is defined as a person born abroad, whose parents and grandparents are also born abroad.

Second generation immigrants are born in Iceland to parents who both are immigrants.

People are said to have a foreign background if one of their parents is from abroad. Individuals who are born abroad to Icelandic parents, born in Iceland, are also counted in that group.

As in past years Poles are by far the largest group of immigrants. They are 11,988, or 37.7 percent of all immigrants. The second largest group of immigrants is from Lithuania, 5.1 percent, and the Philippines (4.8 percent). Polish men make up 41.5 percent of male immigrants, or 6,519. Lithuanian men are second most numerous, comprising 5.3 percent of male immigrants, and British men are third, or 3.6 percent.

Polish women are 34 percent of female immigrants, followed by Filipino women, 6.5 percent, and German and Thai women, 4.9 percent.

The majority of first and second generation immigrants live in the metropolitan area, or 65.9 percent of them. Suðurnes is the part of the country where first and second generation immigrants make up the largest ratio of the total population, or 16 percent. That ratio is the second largest in the West Fjords, or 14.1 percent. It’s the lowest in Northwest Iceland, or 5.1 percent.

Last year, 801 individuals were granted Icelandic citizenship, compared with 595 the previous year.

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