Record Number of People Emigrate from Iceland Skip to content

Record Number of People Emigrate from Iceland

Approximately 10,600 people moved away from Iceland in 2009 while 5,800 people moved to the country, according to new information from Statistics Iceland. With 4,800 people leaving in excess of new arrivals, this is the largest wave of emigration Iceland has ever seen in one year.

From the protests in downtown Reykjavík in November 2008. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

Only 1887 comes close, when the mass emigration to North America peaked. Then 2,200 more people left the country than moved to it, reports.

Yet, the flow of immigration to Iceland was so high in 2009 that it is only topped by 2005 and 2008.

Most of last year’s emigrants moved to the Nordic countries, around 4,000 people, while a quarter moved to Poland. Most emigrants are 25 to 29 years old and immigrants 20 to 25. More men than women moved out of the country.

Domestic migration numbers have not been lower since 1988. Last year, Statistics Iceland received 47,000 domestic migration announcements. Their number peaked at 58,000 in 2007.

Click here to read more about emigration patterns in Iceland.

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