Net external migration in Iceland in 2021 was 4,920 compared with 2,435 last year. The number of immigrants was 10,429 in 2021 compared with 12,006 in 2020. At the same time the number of emigrants rose from 7,045 to 7,994. The net migration of Icelandic citizens has never been higher than in 2021, when 828 more Icelandic citizens immigrated to Iceland than emigrated. For the first time in this century, the net migration of Icelandic citizens is positive for two years in a row. This last happened in 1999 and 2000 and before that in 1991 and 1992.

The number of immigrants was 10,944 in 2021 compared with 10,429 in 2020. At the same time the number of emigrants decreased from 7,994 in the year 2020 to 6,024. If only foreign citizens are considered, the migration balance was 4,092 in the year 2021, which is a large increase compared to 2020, but somewhat lower than in previous years. The largest net migration of foreign citizens was in 2017, when 7,888 more foreign citizens immigrated to Iceland then emigrated.

Sweden the most popular country of destination for Icelandic citizens
Of the 1,569 Icelandic citizens who emigrated in 2021, a total of 813 migrated to Norway, Denmark or Sweden. Most of them emigrated to Sweden, or 367. These countries were also the major countries of origin for immigrating Icelandic citizens as 1,600 out of 2,397 immigrants came from these countries.

Most of the foreign citizens emigrating from Iceland migrated to Poland, or 1,582 out of 4,455. Poland was also the largest contributor of immigrants with foreign citizenship, 1,926 persons out of 8,547 foreign immigrants.

Over 38% of immigrants and emigrants are in the age group 20–29
The largest age group among those who emigrated or immigrated in 2021 was 20–29 years old, or 38%. However, the modal age of emigrants was 27 years (301) while the modal age of immigrants was 24 years, or 538.

Most positive internal migration in the Southwest region
When only considering internal migration between regions in the year 2021, the Southwest had the most positive internal migration (398), closely followed by the South region which had a positive internal migration of 390. The Capital region had the most negative internal migration (-640) followed by the East region (-113) and the Westfjords (-106). When considering external migration, the Capital region experienced the most positive migration or 3,227, followed by the South region (459). The Northwest region was the only region which experienced negative net migration in 2021 of -6, while the other’s experienced positive net migration.

Statistics Iceland assesses migration on the basis of information on changes in legal domicile in the National Registry's Population Register. Migration are counted on the basis of the date of registration in the National Registry, but not according to when the migration took place. It should be noted that there may be some delay in the registration of persons with foreign citizenship who receive a residence permit, and at the same time there may be some delay for those individuals who emigrate from the country.

Internal migration
External migration