Most high-income households were in Seltjarnarnes and Garðabær municipalities, while many low-income households were in central Reykjavík and in Ásbrú according to the census 1 January 2021. Today, Statistics Iceland publishes the results from the census on household income. This is the sixth release in the thematic series of the Icelandic census of population and housing.
The main conclusions in the 2021 census are as follows:
- Almost 54% of those in the lowest income quintile were one-person households.
- The largest proportion of households in the highest income quintile was in the municipality of Seltjarnarnes (34%).
- 62% of households had full employment of working age individuals.
- Around 75% of households owned their dwelling according to the 2021 census, compared with 72% in 2011.
- The proportion of households with two or more cars was 37% in the 2021 census, compared with 33% in 2011.
The equivalised household total income (before taxes) distribution varied with household type in the 2021 census. Dividing households in Iceland into income quintiles with around 26,000 households in each quintile, the highest proportion of households in the top quintile were in couples' households with children, but the lowest proportion in that quintile in lone-parent households. One-person households comprised the highest proportion of households in the lowest income quintile. The top income quintile includes households with total equivalised income of 889 thousand ISK or more per month, while households with less than 414 thousand ISK are in the lowest income quintile. The median income in the highest income quintile (9nd decile) was 1.1 million ISK, while the median total equivalised income in the lowest income quintile (2nd decile) was 343 thousand ISK per month.
Total income is income from work, capital income, social benefits, pension and other income before taxes.
The proportion of households with total income in the lowest income quintile was highest within a Minor Statistical Output Area (MSOA) in Reykjanesbær (42.4%) and two MSOAs in central Reykjavík. The proportion of households in the lowest income quintile was over 30% in all MOSAs in central Reykjavik. The darker areas on the map below show a higher percentage of households in the lowest income quintile and lighter areas show areas with the lowest share. The smallest proportion of households in the lowest income quintile was in areas in Seltjarnarnes (8.2%) and Akranes (8.6%), followed by four areas in Garðabær.
The highest proportion of households in the top income quintile was in Seltjarnarnes
The highest proportion of households in the top income quintile by municipality was in Seltjarnarnes and Garðabær. The lowest proportion of households in the top income quintile was in Þingeyjarsveit and Húnaþing vestra. The greatest change from the 2011 census was in the Westman Islands, where the proportion of households in the top income quintile decreased by 8.1 percentage points (from 30.2% to 22.1%) and in Skagaströnd, by 7.7 percentage points.
Full employment in 62% of households
In approximately 62% of households in the country, all adults in the age of 18-67 years were employed according to the 2021 census. One or more non-working adults were in about 24% of households. In around 15% of households with at least one working-age adult, no one had a job. The proportion varied somewhat depending on the type of household, with the highest proportion of households with all adults in employment in lone father households and households of couples with children. The highest proportion of households with no one employed was in one-person households and lone-mother households.
Higher percentage of owner-occupied households in 2021 than in 2011
A total of 97,951 households out of 130,849 households in Iceland lived in owner-occupied dwellings in the 2021 census, just under 75%. This is slightly higher than in the 2011 census (when the percentage was almost 72%). More than 90% of couples without children lived in owner-occupied dwellings, the highest proportion by type of household. The lowest proportion was among multi-person households, which was the only type of household having the owner-occupied proportion decreasing since the last census. The second lowest share was among lone mother households.
The number of households with two or more cars increased from 33% in 2011 to 37% in 2021
There were 110,699 private households with car availability in 2021. That is 84.6% of the country's households. In the 2011 census the proportion of households with a car was slightly lower, or 83.5%. Most households had one car, or 62,349, while 48,350 households had two or more cars. The proportion of households with two or more cars rose from 33% in the 2011 census to 37% in 2021. Households with no car availability accounted for 20,150, 15.4% of the total number of households in the country, and their proportion had fallen slightly from the last census when it was 16.5%.
The highest proportion of households with no car availability was within MOSAs in central Reykjavík, Hlíðar and Vesturbær north (35-42% of households). The lowest proportion of households with no car availability was in areas in Mosfellsbær, Garðabær and the West excluding Akranes (3.9-4.7%).
Statistical Series – Population and housing census 1 January 2021 (published 14 November 2022)
Earlier releases from the 2021 census
The Icelandic population 359,122 in the 2021 census
The number of immigrants has doubled since the 2011 census
More than a third of the population with tertiary education
The labour market according to the 2021 census
Households in Iceland were 130,849 in the 2021 census