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Country Profile of Iceland

Main statistical agency
Main statistical agency name
In Icelandic: Hagstofa Islands
In English: Statistics Iceland
Web address
Icelandic version: www.hagstofa.is
English version: www.statice.is
Position in the government
Until the end of 2007, Statistics Iceland was formally a government ministry. During this time, the main legal basis for Statistics Iceland and its work was an Act of 1913, as well as other acts on official statistics, the Act and statutes on the Central Government Administration.

On 1 January 2008 the ministerial status of Statistics Iceland was abolished and a new Act on Statistics Iceland and official statistics took effect, replacing most of the older legislation. Under this Act Statistics Iceland is a professionally-independent institution under the aegis of the Prime Minister.
Organizational structure and finance
Statistics Iceland is divided into three statistical divisions - personal and social statistics, business statistics and national accounts - and the National Population Registry. The present organisation chart of Statistics Iceland is effective as of June 2009.

The division of personal and social statistics involves demographic and population statistics, labour market statistics, social statistics, health statistics, gender statistics, education statistics, cultural statistics, judicial statistics and environment statistics. The information department and database development unit fall under this division.

The division of business statistics deals with structural and short term business statistics, information society statistics, price statistics and wage statistics. The survey department and the IT-unit are included in this division.

The national accounts division is responsible for annual and quarterly national accounting, income distribution, external trade statistics, public finance statistics, short term indicators and related matters.

The National Population Registry gathers and registers data on births and deaths, personal names, marriages, divorces, addresses etc., and is responsible for the continuous updating and electronic distribution of the national population register. The Registry issues certificates and channels information to the general public, to businesses, institutions and the government.
Multi-annual or annual work program
A work programme for the coming year is drawn up at the end of each year. This covers all main activities, changes in activities, priority settings and publications.
Main duties
Statistics Iceland is responsible for the following affairs:
Organising, coordinating and producing Iceland's official statistics.
Collecting data and processing statistics on economic and social conditions in Iceland, providing statistical information and issuing statistical reports.
Compiling national accounts.
Developing and computing price and wage indices.
Communications and cooperation with international bodies in the field of statistics.
Civil registration and the National Population Register.


Brief history and other relevant background information
Brief history and other relevant background information
Statistics Iceland was founded in 1914.
In 1952, Statistics Iceland established the National Population Register which it maintains on a continuous basis. In 1969, Statistics Iceland established an administrative Register of Enterprises and operated that until it was transferred in 2003 to the Internal Revenue Directorate. In 2002, the National Economic Institute, which had been engaged in several activities concerning economic statistics, was amalgamated with Statistics Iceland. In 2005, the Institute of Labour Market Research, which had been engaged in wage statistics, was amalgamated with Statistics Iceland.


Legal basis
Legal basis
Until the end of 2007, Statistics Iceland was formally a a government ministry. During this time, the main legal basis for Statistics Iceland and its work was an Act of 1913, as well as other acts on official statistics, the Act and statutes on the Central Government Administration.

On 1 January 2008 the ministerial status of Statistics Iceland was abolished and a new Act on Statistics Iceland and official statistics took effect, replacing most of the older legislation. Under this Act Statistics Iceland is a professionally-independent institution under the aegis of the Prime Minister. Article 1 of the Act states that Statistics Iceland is the centre for official statistics in Iceland and has the leading role in the organisation, coordination and conduct thereof, and also in cooperation with international organisations concerning statistics.

In addition to the legislation mentioned above and special laws on price and wage indices, Statistics Iceland operates in accordance with the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, the European Statistics Code of Practice as well as the Act on the Protection of Privacy regarding the processing of personal data. Furthermore Statistics Iceland has laid down its own Rules of Procedure for Treating Confidential Data.
The National Population Registry was a part of Statistics Iceland until 1 July 2006 when it was transferred to the Ministry of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs.


Other producers of official statistics
Other producers of official statistics
Central Bank of Iceland (monetary statistics), Directorate of Labour (registered unemployment), Ministry of Health (health statistics).


Statistical advisory bodies
Statistical advisory bodies
Formal advisory bodies for the Consumer Price Index and for wage statistics are functioning and meet every month. Advisory user groups are being operated in the fields of national accounts (including foreign trade statistics and government finance statistics) and the CPI. Ad hoc advisory committes are established when that is considered useful, e.g. in connection with preparation of new statistical projects.


Data collection
Most recent population census
The most recent population and housing census was conducted in 1981. However, Iceland has since around 1960 relied heavily on administrative registers and records instead of censuses. The National Population Register was established in the early 1950´s and is operated on a continuous basis.
Access to administrative data
Statistics Iceland has access to various administrative records and registers for statistical purposes. These are used extensively for both economic and social statistics.
Data confidentiality
Data confidentiality is fully observed. Statistics Iceland is bound by the UN Fundamental Principles and has issued its own Rules of Procedures for Treating Confidential Data which are published on its website. The operations of Statistics Iceland are also based on the general Act on Protection of Individuals with regard to Processing of Personal Data (cf. the Statistics Iceland website).


Data dissemination
Release calendar (existence, when and how published)
By October 1st Statistics Iceland publishes an Advance Releasse Calendar for the following 15 months. The Calendar is published on the Statistics Iceland website and is updated continuously.
Main publications
All publications of Statistics Iceland are published on its website where they may be accessed and downloaded, as well as being made available in print. The main publications are:
Statistical Yearbook of Iceland - Landshagir is an annual publication in Icelandic and English. It contains information on most aspects of the Icelandic society, including environment, population, industries, labour market, prices, wages, private income, national accounts, money and credit, government finances, manufacturing, public health, education, culture, elections, etc.
Iceland in Figures is a booklet which is issued annually in Icelandic and English containing some basic statistics.
Short term indicators is a monthly publication in both Icelandic and English versions.
Statistical Series cover various thematic publications which are issued on both regular and ad-hoc basis, cf. the Advance Release Calendar.
Languages of main publications
Icelandic/English
How are data disseminated (Paper, CD Rom, Website, online databases, databanks)?
Statistics Iceland uses the world wide web as its primary vehicle for disseminating data, news releases and publications. all publications are also available in a printed format on demand. Data and publications are issued in accordance with the Advance Release Calandar. All releases of news and data are published at 9:00 am on the day of the pre-announced release on the website of Statistics Iceland.
Availability of microdata for research purposes
Statistics Iceland provides researchers with micro data for statistical purposes subject to strict conditions concerning data confidentiality. The researchers have to provide research proposals and describe in details the data needed for the research.




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