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

 In Ask IR, Society

Q: What proportion of Iceland’s residents are Icelandic citizens, and how many Icelandic citizens live abroad? -Altaf Chowdhury

A: 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.

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