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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The number of Icelanders has increased by 3.1% in one year – half are foreign citizens

The number of Icelanders has increased by 3.1% in one year, more than ever before, and according to figures from the National Statistics Office on January 1, they number 387,758. Half of the increase is foreign nationals, this trend has been very rapid, even faster last year than before.

This came out in money on RÚV this morning where Egill Helgason spoke to Þórodd Bjarnason, professor of sociology at the University of Reykjavík.

Are we talking about permanent reproduction? “It’s a matter of what people intend, and sometimes people don’t know it themselves. It’s in our genes that population growth is so important. It is of course true that the number number of people increases where there is a good quality of life, and the number decreases where this quality is lacking. It is not necessarily the case that an increase in the number of people increases the quality of life, it means higher housing prices, harder to get kids to kindergarten, traffic delays and more,” says Þóroddur.

When asked where the population is increasing the most: “If we take the capital region, the pass, the counties of Árnes, Suðurnes, Akureyri and the surrounding area, which is 90% of the country, there is an increase in Icelanders and foreign citizens.In other more heavily attacked areas, immigration from other countries has reversed the residential trend,” says Þóroddur.

He says that when places grow rapidly, their character changes, a new quality is created, and new problems are also created. Þóroddur took Selfoss as an example, but around a quarter of the people living there are people who grew up in the capital region, a quarter are returning Selfoss people, a quarter come from other parts of the south and a quarter are people from other parts of the country.
Þóroddur Bjarnason
What are people interested in?

“People are just different, some opt for city life, some opt for big city life and go abroad, some try to get as far away from civilization as possible, but many people are looking for a certain balance. You want to have all kinds of services at your fingertips, but maybe you want to be free from certain problems related to urban areas. It may depend on the stages of life. When you are in your twenties you want to be where you have the most fun when you have young children you want to be where you can have space and be where the schools are good when you are older you want to be near the grandkids or not, maybe be near the golf There is a tendency in the discussion that we have to promote Reykjavík because it is the only alternative to other countries, but diversity is what which gives us an alternative to other countries.

Þóroddur says that technological progress has affected the distribution of residence, as many people do not have to go to their place of work every day. He says the increase in the north is interesting, as it mainly concerns the small electorate around Akureyri, but not in the capital of Norðurland itself.

“Fertility has fallen below maintenance levels, but the population is still so young that many people are still being born and dying, so there is still a lot of natural increase in the country.”

You can listen to Þórodd’s interview in money on RÚV.

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