Young families biggest group moving away from Iceland

Young people with children are the biggest group emigrating from Iceland, according to Statistics Iceland. Last year around 2,000 more people moved away from Iceland than in an average year.

Karl Sigurdsson, section chief at the the Icelandic Directorate of Labour, examined the figures closely. He told RUV that part of the reason for the Statistics Iceland findings is quite natural; for example because it is young adults who are most likely to go overseas to study or search for work. The last group is largely made up of artisans, technically-trained people and medical professionals, he believes.

Sigurdsson says that the figures for emigration so far this year indicate that there will still be a net outflow of people from Iceland.

Young parents with children are the largest group of people leaving the country, RUV reports. According to the Statistics Iceland figures 200 more pre-school aged children moved away from Iceland last year than in an average year.

Sigurdsson believes it is hard to say whether most of those Icelanders will return home again. It is always somewhat likely that people will stay permanently in their adopted countries; especially if conditions at home do not improve, he says.

Most Icelandic people moving overseas go to Norway or other Nordic countries. Elsewhere in Europe and North America are also popular choices. While life in Iceland is still excellent by most common international criteria, wages and quality of life in Norway are among the highest in the world and the gap to Iceland has grown considerably since the banking crisis hit.