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


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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