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Iceland
Population (2009 est.)306,694
Religious DemographicsLutheran 80.7%, Roman Catholic Church 2.5%, Reykjavik Free Church 2.4%, Hafnarfjorour Free Church 1.6%, other religions 3.6%, unaffiliated 3%, other or unspecified 6.2% (2006 est.)
Ethnic Groupshomogeneous mixture of descendants of Norse and Celts 94%, population of foreign origin 6%
LanguagesIcelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken

The country has an area of 39,600 square miles and a population of 320,000. Reykjavik and its environs are home to approximately 60 percent of the population.

According to the National Statistical Bureau, 252,948 persons (79 percent of the population) are members of the state Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELC). In 2008, 1,453 individuals resigned from the Church, while the Church baptized 223 new registrants other than infants. Many of those who resigned joined one of the organizationally and financially independent Lutheran Free Churches, which have a total membership of 15,999 (5 percent of the population). A total of 18,818 persons (5.9 percent) are members of 27 other small recognized and registered religious organizations ranging from the Roman Catholic Church (9,351 members) to Homechurch (11 members). There are 22,726 individuals (7.1 percent) who belong to other or unspecified religious organizations and 9,265 (2.9 percent who are not members of any religious organization. There are also religions, such as Judaism, that have been practiced in the country for years but whose followers have never requested official recognition. The National Statistical Bureau does not keep track of Jewish community numbers, and there is no synagogue or Jewish cultural center; however, up to 60 persons attend occasional Jewish events and activities organized by a few Jewish immigrants.

Although the majority of citizens use traditional Lutheran rituals to mark events such as baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and funerals, most Lutherans do not regularly attend Sunday services.

The number of foreigners receiving residence permits increased significantly between 2004 and 2008. In direct relation to the increase in foreigners (itinerant workers, immigrants, and refugees), the number of religious organizations significantly increased.

Foreigners constitute an estimated 80 percent of the Roman Catholic population. The Roman Catholic Church in Iceland estimated that the total of registered members may only capture one-half of the actual number of Catholics in the country. The Reykjavik Catholic Church holds one weekly English-language service, and a number of Poles, Filipinos, and Lithuanians attend. Services are also conducted in other languages in other areas nationwide. The Catholic congregation includes a large number of Poles, served by four Polish priests. In addition to Icelandic priests, the Catholic Church employs priests from Argentina, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom. Since there are few Catholic churches outside of Reykjavik, Lutheran ministers regularly lend their churches to Catholic priests so that they can conduct Masses for members in rural areas.

There are two registered religious organizations representing Islam and approximately 800 to 1,200 Muslims living in the country, according to those groups. The Association of Muslims in Iceland (Felag muslima a Islandi), founded in 1997, has 402 members, and the Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland (Menningarsetur muslima a Islandi), registered in 2009, has an estimated 200 members. Muslims are concentrated in the capital area (although there are a number of Kosovar Muslim refugees in the small northern town of Dalvik). The two organizations have their own houses of worship, with daily prayer nights and weekly Friday prayers that attract a core group of approximately 30-50 and 60-70 individuals, respectively.

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