Useful country information
Land area: 38,707 sq mi (100,251 sq km); total area: 39,768 sq mi (103,000 sq km)1
Population (2020 est.): 341,243 (growth rate: 0.65%); birth rate: 13.09/1000; infant mortality rate: 3.15/1000; life expectancy: 81.22
Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Reykjavik, 206,000
Monetary unit: Icelandic krna
National name: Lydveldid Island
Languages: Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken
Ethnicity/race: homogeneous mixture of Norse/Celtic descendants 94%, population of foreign origin 6%
Religions: Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland (official) 76.2%, Roman Catholic 3.4%, Reykjavik Free Church 2.9%, Hafnarfjorour Free Church 1.9%, The Independent Congregation 1%, other religions 3.6% (includes Pentecostal and Asatru Association), none 5.2%, other or unspecified 5.9% (2013 est.)
National Holiday: Independence Day, June 17
Literacy rate: 99% (2003 est.)
Settled by Norwegian and Celtic (Scottish and Irish) immigrants during the late 9th and 10th centuries A.D., Iceland boasts the world's oldest functioning legislative assembly, the Althing, established in 930.
Independent for over 300 years, Iceland was subsequently ruled by Norway and Denmark.
Fallout from the Askja volcano of 1875 devastated the Icelandic economy and caused widespread famine. Over the next quarter century, 20% of the island's population emigrated, mostly to Canada and the United States.
Limited home rule from Denmark was granted in 1874 and complete independence attained in 1944.
Literacy, longevity, income, and social cohesion are first-rate by world standards.
(Source: CIA - The World Factbook)
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