Population of Iceland Far Lower Than Previously Tallied Skip to content

Population of Iceland Far Lower Than Previously Tallied

By Andie Sophia Fontaine

Secret Solstice - Laugardalur - tónlist - tónlistarhátíð
Photo: Golli.

The population of Iceland is actually 14,000 fewer people than was previously believed, a statement from the government of Iceland has announced, due to how the population was previously calculated.

How the miscount happened

The miscalculation essentially comes down to incentives. Statistics Iceland has up until this point been deriving their population figures from the National Registry. When people move to Iceland, they are highly incentivised to register, in order to receive an Icelandic identity number (kennitala), legal address and bank account.

However, when people move away from Iceland, they have little incentive to de-register from the National Registry. As a result, thousands of people who do not live in Iceland anymore were still being counted as a part of Iceland’s population.

How it was corrected

After this error was detected, Statistics Iceland changed how they calculate the country’s population, and will now be drawing their data from numerous sources.

The good news is this means that Iceland’s economy is actually doing better than previously reported; fewer people naturally means the GDP is in fact higher than believed before. Specifically, Iceland’s GDP is now 11 million ISK per capita, on par with pre-pandemic levels.

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