0. Registration entry for subjects

0.1 Name


0.2 Subject area


0.3 Responsible authority; office, division, person etc.

Ómar Hardarson
Brynjólfur Sigurjónsson
Guðjón Hauksson
Hagstofa Íslands

0.4 Purpose and history

In 1735 bishops were charged with the collection of annual birth records from parsons. In 1838 records began specifying number of births by sex. Further itemisation according to legal status at birth was taken up from 1850. From 1853 it was possible to distinguish the number of live born children by mothers age as well as by whether the child was born in marriage or outside marriage. Parsons annual population counts were discontinued with the founding of the National Register of Persons in 1952, from which extensive information on births has been gathered since. Information on births reaches the National Register of Persons from hospitals.

0.5 Users and application

Local authorities, institutions, companies, organisations and individuals.

0.6 Sources

Parish records and birth reports, which reach the National Register of Persons of Statistics Iceland.

0.7 Legal basis for official statistics

Act on Statistics Iceland no. 24/1913.

0.8 Response burden

0.9 EEA and EU obligations

1. Contents

1.1 Description of content

Tables on fertility were published in the reports of Statistics Iceland from its founding until 1980, after which they were published in the Statistical Yearbook. Older figures can be found in Icelandic Historical Statistics.

All children whose mother is domiciled in Iceland are counted, regardless of where the birth takes place. A child is considered a live birth if it shows signs of life at birth.

The following factors appear in the published material:

  • Births and born children by sex
  • Live births, all children and first births by mothers age
  • Live births by birth order and marital status of mother.
  • Fertility of females.

1.2 Statistical concepts

Births: Number of births, disregarding multiple deliveries.

Live births: Children born with clear life signs.

Still births: In the tables of Statistics Iceland still born children are those born without signs of life after at least 28 weeks of gestation. Shorter gestation periods are considered miscarriages. It must be noted that in the statistics of many countries the boundary between miscarriage and still births has been changed to 22 weeks; birth institutions in Iceland have since 1992 set the limit at 22 weeks gestation and 500 g weight.

General fertility: The number of births per 1,000 women of childbearing age.

Total fertility: This is the total figure of age specific fertility. Age specific fertility is calculated as the proportion of births of each age group of women of childbearing age.

Crude birth rate: Live births per 1,000 population.

2. Time

2.1 Reference periods

Annual tables on births are calculated at the end of May or the beginning of June.

2.2 Process time

Process time is six months; from the beginning of the year until June.

2.3 Punctuality

Statistics on births are published annually in the Statistical Yearbook of Iceland. Further information is available from the database of the Information Department of Statistics Iceland.

2.4 Frequency of releases

Statistics on births are published once per year in the Statistical Yearbook of Iceland.

3. Reliability and security

3.1 Accuracy and reliability

Delayed birth reports were for a short period the main cause of errors in birth figures. In a review of delays to birth reports over the last five years it emerged that no birth report was missing.

3.2 Sources of errors

Errors in the National Register of Persons are mainly caused by delayed birth reports. A precaution taken in order to keep errors to a minumum is to allow five months for birth reports to arrive at the National Register of Persons.

3.3 Measures on confidence limits/accuracy

Confidence limits are not calculated.

4. Comparison

4.1 Comparison between periods

Annual parish censuses were discontinued with the founding of the National Register of Persons in 1952, from which information on births has been gathered since. The definition of consensual union of parents in population reports was changed in 1986. Before this time reports on the subject relied on the National Register of Persons as well as birth reports; it was not considered consensual union unless parents were domiciled at the same address. From 1986 statistics on the consensual union of parents rely entirely on birth reports, where information on the subject is received directly from the mother.

4.2 Comparison with other statistics

4.3 Coherence between preliminary and final statistics

No preliminary statistics are published for births.

5. Access to information

5.1 Forms of dissemination

  • News, released on Statistics Iceland's website
  • Statistics, categorised statistical web tables
  • Statistical Series, Hagtíðindi
  • Statistical Yearbook of Iceland, Landshagir
  • Population statistics until 1980, in the series Hagskýrslur Íslands
  • Hagskinna. Icelandic historical statistics

5.2 Basic data; storage and usability

Data stored in digital format by the Population Statistics Department of Statistics Iceland. No access is provided to data relating to individuals, though it is possible to have it especially processed.

5.3 Reports

5.4 Other information

Further information is available from the Population Statistics Department of Statistics Iceland.

© Hagstofa �slands, �ann 27-1-2009