The population of Iceland is extremely homogeneous, being almost
entirely of Scandinavian and Celtic origin. Beginning in the 1940s
a large-scale movement to the coastal towns and villages has occurred.
Some 92 percent of the people now live in cities and towns.
The population of Iceland (1998 estimate) is 271,033. The overall
population density is 2.6 persons per sq km (6.8 per sq mi).
The official language is Icelandic, which remains virtually unchanged
since the Vikings settled Iceland in the 9th and 10th centuries.
The Icelandic language refuses to accept foreign words, preferring
instead to coin new words from ancient Viking roots.
The state church of Iceland is the Evangelical Lutheran church,
with which more than 93 percent of the people are affiliated.
Complete religious freedom exists, however. Free Lutherans and Roman
Catholics make up a small minority.