The land and its inhabitants

  • Iceland is the second largest island in Europe and it is located in the North Atlantic Ocean.

  • The island is 103,000 square kilometres and it embraces approximately 200 volcanoes.

  • Approximately 75% of the land is in more than 200 meters over sea level and a large part is a plateau devoid of vegetation with odd mountains and mountain ranges.

  • All in all, glaciers in Iceland cover approximately 11,900 square kilometres compared to 1,400 square kilometers of farming land.

  • On January 1st 2008 the population in Iceland was 313,000 and 63% of the population lived in the capital area in the south of Iceland.

  • In the beginning of the 17th century 50,000 individuals inhabited the island and the population was much more scattered around the country than it is to day.

  • In the beginning of 2008 the number of immigrants as a proportion of the total population was 6.8% which makes for 21,400 individuals with foreign citizenship residing in Iceland.

  • In the year 1950, 2,700 foreign citizens resided in Iceland, which makes for 2% of the total population of 141,000 people.

The weather

  • The sea temperature in the south and south west of Iceland is ca 10°C during summertime and 5°C during the winter. In the north and east of Iceland the sea temperature is 5°C during summertime and ca 1-2°C during the winter. Because of a relatively stable sea temperature the air temperature does not differ much between seasons.

  • The average air temperature in Reykjavík is ca 5°C. In January the average air temperature is ca 0.4°C but 11.2°C in July.

  • The lowest air temperature in Iceland was recorded in Grímsstaðir in January 1918 when the temperature went below -37°C.

  • The highest air temperature recorded was ca 30°C in 1939.

  • It rains often in Iceland and mostly so in the south but not for a long period at a time.

  • The predominant characteristic of the weather in Iceland is how changeful it is.

This information and other statistical information can be found on the Statistics Iceland's web