The World Factbook (1982)/Iceland


World Factbook (1982) Iceland.jpg
(See reference map V)


102,952 km2; arable negligible, 22% meadows and pastures, forested negligible, 78% other


Limits of territorial waters (claimed): 4 nm (fishing 200 nm; exclusive economic zone 200 nm)

Coastline: 4,988 km


Population: 233,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 1.0%

Nationality: noun—Icelander(s); adjective—Icelandic

Ethnic divisions: homogeneous white population

Religion: 95% Evangelical Lutheran, 3% other Protestant and Roman Catholic, 2% no affiliation

Language: Icelandic

Literacy: 99%

Labor force: 102,000; 9.0% agriculture; 5.4% fishing; 8.0% fish processing; 16.8% other manufacturing; 12.2% construction; 18.6% commerce, finance, and services; 6.3% transportation and communications; 23.7% other; unemployment 1979 est., 0.4%

Organized labor: 60% of labor force


Official name: Republic of Iceland

Type: republic

Capital: Reykjavik

Political subdivisions: 23 rural districts, 215 parishes, 14 incorporated towns

Legal system: civil law system based on Danish law; constitution adopted 1944; legal education at University of Iceland; does not accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: Anniversary of the Establishment of the Republic, 17 June

Branches: legislative authority rests jointly with President and parliament (Althing); executive power vested in President but exercised by Cabinet responsible to parliament; Supreme Court and 29 lower courts

Government leaders: President Vigdīs FINNBOGADÓTTIR, Prime Minister Gunnar THORODDSEN; government coalition

Suffrage: universal, over age 20; not compulsory

Elections: parliamentary every four years, last 2-3 December 1979; presidential every four years

Political parties and leaders: Independence (conservative), Geir Hallgrīmsson; Progressive, Steingrīmur Hermannsson; Social Democratic, Kjartan Jóhannsson; People's Alliance (Communist front), Svavar Gestsson

Voting strength (1979 election): 37.9% Independence, 24.9% Progressive, 19.7% People's Alliance, 17.4% Social Democratic, 1.2% other

Communists: est. 2,200, many of whom participate in the People's Alliance, which drew 24,390 votes in the 1979 parliamentary elections

Member of: Council of Europe, EC (free trade agreement pending resolution of fishing limits issue), EFTA, FAO, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICES, IDA, IFC, IHO, ILO, IMCO, IMF, IPU, ITU, IWC—International Whaling Commission, NATO, Nordic Council, OECD, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WMO, WSG


GNP: $2,760 million (1980), $12,213 per capita; 63.2% consumption, 27.0% investment, 12.0% government, 0.6% change in stocks; —0.5% net foreign demand (1979); 1980 growth rate 2.8%, constant prices

Agriculture: cattle, sheep, dairying, hay, potatoes, turnips; food shortages—grains, sugar, vegetable and other fibers; caloric intake, 2,900 calories per day per capita (1964-66)

Fishing: landed 1,640,951 metric tons; marine product exports $589.3 million (1979)

Major industries: fish processing, aluminum smelting, diatomite production, hydroelectricity

Shortages: grain, fuel, wood, minerals, vegetable fibers

Electric power: 670,000 kW capacity (1980); 3.143 billion kWh produced (1980), 13,720 kWh per capita

Exports: $932.7 million (f.o.b., 1980); fish and fish products, animal products, aluminum, diatomite

Imports: $1 billion (c.i.f., 1980); machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, textiles

Major trade partners: (1979) exports—EC 39%, US 28%, USSR 4%; imports—EC 46%, USSR 11%, US 7%

Aid: economic authorizations including Ex-Im from US, $19.1 million (FY70-80)

Budget: (1979) expenditures $674 million, revenues $699 million

Monetary conversion rate: 4.7977 kronur=US$1 (1980)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: none

Highways: 12,343 km total; 166 km bitumen and concrete; 1,284 km bituminous treated and gravel; 10,893 km earth

Ports: 4 major (Akureyri, Hafnarfjördhur, Reykjavik, Seydhisfjördhur), and about 50 minor

Civil air: 14 major transport aircraft, including 2 leased out

Airfields: 119 total, 100 usable; 3 with permanent-surface runways; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m, 10 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: adequate domestic service, wire and radio communication system; 103,800 telephones (45.9 per 100 popl.); 17 AM, 19 FM, and 96 TV stations; 2 coaxial submarine cables; 1 satellite station with Atlantic Ocean antenna


Military manpower: males 15-49, 60,000; 52,000 fit for military service (Iceland has no conscription or compulsory military service)