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Iceland Mag

Economy

Population of northern Westfjords rebounds, grows for first time in decades

By Staff

  • Abandoned fjords An abandoned herring factory in Ingólfsfjörður fjord in the Strandir region on the northern coast of the Westfjords. Photo/Sara

The population of the northern Westfjords increased by 1.16% over the past 12 months. This is the first time in decades that the population of the northern part of the Westfjords does not register a drop. The population decreased by 0.32% over the previous 12 month period. 

An uninterrupted decline since the early 80s
According to population data from Statistics Iceland the population of the northern part of the Westfjords increased by 80 during the period May 31 2016 to May 31 2017. Last year's population statistics showed the population dropped by 30 individuals between 2015 and 2016. The population of the Westfjords has been dropping continuously since the 1980s. 

Read more: The population of the Westfjords continues to shrink, down by 34% in the past 34 years

Historically at least 15% of the Icelandic population has lived in the Westfjords. In the mid-20th century the share of the population living in the Westfjords began to fall. Today less than 2% of the population lives in the region. 

Southern Westfjords regiesterd a turnaround in 2011
The population decline has continued until 2011 when the population of the southern part of the Westfjords grew for the first time in decades, thus arresting a trend which had seemed all but irreversible. However, the population of the northern part of the Westfjords continued to shrink. Until last year. The Population of the town of Ísafjörður, the largest urban center of the Westfjords, grew by 60 last year, and the population of the village of Bolungarvík grew by 30. 

However, this positive trend has not extended to all of the Westfjords. The Strandir region, the northern coast of the Westfjords peninsula and the most remote region in Iceland, as well as several other primarily rural parts of the Westfjords, registered a drop of 20 inhabitants last year, the same as the year before.

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