Iceland has a population of more than 288,200 people. The population is growing
at only about 0.6 percent annually. About half of the people live in the capital
of Reykjavík. The rest is scattered along the coast in smaller towns. The interior
of the island is uninhabited. The population density is only 2.8 persons per square
kilometer, the lowest in Europe.
Because most Icelanders are descendants of the Celtic and Norwegian peoples,
the country is the least purely Scandinavian of all the Nordic countries. Immigration
is strictly controlled. Only about 6 percent of all Icelanders are of foreign origin.
Icelanders are literate and enjoy excellent access to health care and education.
The standard of living is high and the average life expectancy for men is 77 and
for women 82 years.
Family ties are strong in Iceland and people like to celebrate national holidays
or other special events with their families. Icelanders are generally known to be
individualistic, self-reliant, friendly and open-minded. Some Icelanders are a little
shy and reserved toward foreigners, but this shouldn’t be mistaken for coldness.
In general, Icelanders are hospitable people and welcoming once they get to know
the other person a little better.
Many Icelanders are proud of their advanced, egalitarian and highly literate
society. The country’s crime rate is very low and poverty is close to zero. Cleanliness
is highly valued and there is little pollution.
Iceland is the most geographically isolated of Europe’s nations and only sparsely
populated, but it is prosperous and high technology is pervasive.