New report on Icelandic municipalities

19.02.2013

Íslandsbanki has published its first report on the issues, and finances, of Icelandic municipalities. The report analyses the operations of municipalities, whose status has been the subject of considerable debate in recent years, with many municipalities undertaking drastic streamlining measures. The report is prepared by Íslandsbanki´s Municipalities team and is based on wide-ranging research and interviews with stakeholders.

Since 1990 the number of municipalities in Iceland has shrunk by almost 64%, with numbers falling from 204 to 74. As of early 2012, five municipalities recorded populations of under 100 people, with 42 municipalities counting fewer than 1,000 inhabitants. 30-40 municipalities in Iceland might be said to be sufficient in proportion to population density and size.

There has been net emigration from all regions of the country save the capital in the past two years. Over the last ten years, nearly 2,000 people moved away from the West, about 1,600 from the North-East and about 1,100 from the North-West.

The debts of municipalities increased by ISK 82 billion in 2006 and 2007. Since 2009, however, their financial position has improved as most of the municipalities have been repaying debt, with around 72% of municipalities meeting their existing commitments.

The report is available on the web but only in Icelandic.

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