Young People Disappearing from Iceland’s Countryside Skip to content

Young People Disappearing from Iceland’s Countryside

There are much fewer children and teenagers than adults living in Iceland’s countryside as revealed during a conference earlier this week by Gunnlaugur A. Júlíusson, department director for economics and information at the Federation of Municipalities.

Júlíusson said that for the past two years the increase in the capital region’s population has slowed but inhabitants in the countryside still continue to decrease, Morgunbladid reports.

This situation could partly be explained by extensive operations in east Iceland and available jobs in relation to Kárahnjúkar dam and the Reydarfjördur smelter, Júlíusson said, assuming people are moving from rural farms and villages to larger towns in the east.

Between 1995 and 2005 the number of inhabitants in rural Iceland has dropped overall by 20 percent, but specifically among children and teenagers 16 and younger, there has been a 30 percent decrease in population.

In some municipalities the number of children and teenagers has dropped by up to 60 percent in ten years.

“This is the frightening trend that not many people talk about that goes hand in hand with population development. Youngsters, who are supposed to take over, are comparatively decreasing much more than what the formal population development indicates,” Júlíusson said.

People are leaving regions which rely on fishing and agriculture in the highest quantities, according to Gunnar Haraldsson, managing director of the Institution of Economics at the University of Iceland.

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