Statistics Iceland has published national projections for 2016 – 2065 which describe the size and structure of the future total population. The forecast is based on statistical models for migration, fertility and mortality.

According to the medium projection variant the Icelandic population will grow from 332 to 442 thousand persons in the next 50 years. This is due to both migration and natural increase. The high variant predicts a population of 523 thousand while the low variant projects 369 thousand inhabitants in 2065.

The projection variants are built in accordance with different modelling assumptions about economic growth, fertility and migration levels.

The number of births per year will exceed the number of deaths per year during the entire period, according to the medium and high variants. The low variant predicts more deaths than births per year after 2044. Life expectancy for both men and women at birth will grow from 83.6 years in 2014 to 88.6 years in 2065 for women and from 79.6 to 84.3 years for men.

The immigration rates are expected to exceed the emigration rates, which is mainly due to foreign immigration to Iceland. The number of emigrating Icelandic citizens will continue to be higher than the number of returning citizens per year.

The short term forecast of net migration rates is based on time series modelling taking into account economic and social factors. The results are shown in figure 3, with 80% confidence intervals for the medium variant.

Population structure presented by age pyramids in figure 3 is predicted to change as follows:

  • By 2035, 20% and by 2061 more than 25% of the population will be 65 years and older.
  • After 2049, the older age population (over 65 years) will become more numerous than the younger (less than 20 years old).


Although the population is ageing and the population growth is rather slow, Iceland is and will be younger than most European countries, where more than one third of all people will be over 65 years old in 2060, compared with only a quarter in Iceland.

Population projections 2016-2065 - Statistical Series