Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Iceland


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Settled by Norwegian and Celtic (Scottish and Irish) immigrants during the late 9th and 10th centuries A.D., Iceland boasts the world's oldest functioning legislative assembly, the Althing, established in 930. Independent for over 300 years, Iceland was subsequently ruled by Norway and Denmark. Fallout from the Askja volcano of 1875 devastated the Icelandic economy and caused widespread famine. Over the next quarter century, 20% of the island's population emigrated, mostly to Canada and the US. Limited home rule from Denmark was granted in 1874 and complete independence attained in 1944. Literacy, longevity, income, and social cohesion are first-rate by world standards. (from the CIA)
 
 

 

Economic Overview

Iceland's scandinavian-type economy is basically capitalistic, yet with an extensive welfare system (including generous housing subsidies), low unemployment, and remarkably even distribution of income. in the absence of other natural resources (except for abundant geothermal power), the economy depends heavily on the fishing industry, which provides 70% of export earnings and employs 6% of the work force. the economy remains sensitive to declining fish stocks as well as to fluctuations in world prices for its main exports: fish and fish products, aluminum, and ferrosilicon. substantial foreign investment in the aluminum and hydropower sectors has boosted economic growth which, nevertheless, has been volatile and characterized by recurrent imbalances. government policies include reducing the current account deficit, limiting foreign borrowing, containing inflation, revising agricultural and fishing policies, and diversifying the economy. the government remains opposed to eu membership, primarily because of icelanders' concern about losing control over their fishing resources. iceland's economy has been diversifying into manufacturing and service industries in the last decade, and new developments in software production, biotechnology, and financial services are taking place. the tourism sector is also expanding, with the recent trends in ecotourism and whale watching. the 2006 closure of the us military base at keflavik had very little impact on the national economy; iceland's low unemployment rate aided former base employees in finding alternate employment.

Environmental Issues

Water pollution from fertilizer runoff; inadequate wastewater treatment

Government Type

Constitutional republic

Population

304,367 (july 2008 est.)

Location

Northern europe, island between the greenland sea and the north atlantic ocean, northwest of the uk

Area

Total: 103,000 sq km land: 100,250 sq km water: 2,750 sq km

Slightly smaller than kentucky

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: republic of iceland conventional short form: iceland local long form: lydveldid island local short form: island

Capital

Name: reykjavik geographic coordinates: 64 09 n, 21 57 w time difference: utc (5 hours ahead of washington, dc during standard time)

International Disputes

Iceland, the uk, and ireland dispute denmark's claim that the faroe islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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