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More People Moved to Iceland Last Year than Ever Before

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More People Moved to Iceland Last Year than Ever Before

Reykjavík with Hallgrímskirkja in the background

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

More people moved to Iceland in 2017 than in any single year before, Kjarninn reports. According to new data published by Statistics Iceland, the population of Iceland increased by 20% last year. The majority of people moving to the country were foreigners, but last year also marks only the second time since the turn of the century that more Icelanders moved home than abroad in a given year.

Per the Statistics Iceland report: “Net external migration in Iceland in 2017 was 8,240 compared with 4,069 last year. It is the highest positive net migration in one year since registration of migration began in 1801. The number of immigrants was 14,929 in 2017 compared with 10,958 in 2016. At the same time the number of emigrants decreased from 6,889 in 2016 to 6,689 in 2017.”

A total of 2,819 Icelanders moved out of the country last year, with the vast majority (1,856 people) moving to Denmark, Norway or Sweden. Most of these emigres—that is, 888 of them—moved to Denmark. Of the 3,870 foreign citizens who moved out of Iceland in 2017, the majority, or 1,288 people, moved to Poland. “Poland was also the largest contributor of immigrants with foreign citizenship, 4,479 persons out of 11,758 foreign immigrants,” reads the report.

One of the most interesting patterns to reveal itself in this new data is the “dramatic change in the sex ratio of international migrants.” Up until 2003, that is, there were more females migrating to Iceland than males. Between 2004 and 2008, however, “...4,215 more males than females immigrated to Iceland. Between 2009 and 2012 respectively, 4,114 more males than females emigrated from Iceland. In 2017, males exceeded females by 2,894 in net migration.”

You can read more from Statistics Iceland’s report (in English) on their website, here.

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