Is internal migration declining in Iceland? Intensities, geographical patterns and population composition 1986-2017

Ólöf Garðarsdóttir, Thoroddur Bjarnason, Ian Shuttleworth, Stefán Hrafn Jónsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Nordic countries have higher rates of internal migration than most other Western societies and have not always shared in the declines noted in other countries. This paper examines migration in Iceland during the period 1986–2017 to add to the wider international literature on migration trends. Compared to its Nordic neighbours, Iceland has the highest rates of internal migration and currently also the greatest porosity in terms of international inflows and outflows. The main focus is on migration flows between the Reykjavík capital area – the only city in the country – the nearby exurban regions on the one hand and the more distant provinces at the other hand. We show that, despite continued high aggregate migration rates, there has been a slight but long-term downward trend in all moves. We also indicate that migration rates are highly sensitive to cyclic economic fluctuations. Migration between the Reykjavík capital area and its surrounding exurban regions is characterized by increasing mobility during economic booms but the Great Recession starting in 2008 led to a fall in migration. However, the slight decline in overall internal migration in Iceland since the 1990s can almost exclusively be attributed to the decline in migration from the provinces to the Reykjavík capital area, which predates the 2008 Great Recession.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2339
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Early online date24 Apr 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 24 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • eland; Migration; Geography; Temporal trends

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