Country profile

The Republic of Iceland is European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean with a population of over 300,000 inhabitants making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. Iceland is a representative democracy and a parliamentary republic and is one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world.

Iceland has a universal health care system that is largely paid for by taxes (85%) and to some extent by service fees (15%) and is administrated by The Ministry of Welfare. Life expectancy at birth in Iceland is among the highest in the world at 83.1 years for females and 79.2 years for males. Infant mortality is the lowest in the world at 2.3 per 1000 live births. While there are no particular acknowledgements of social determinants of health inequalities in all broader policies, a fundamental principal of equity is firmly established in the Icelandic policies. This includes policy areas such as the education system in which everyone is provided equal access to education.


Policy responses

The issue of health inequalities is becoming a more important and better accepted topic for politicians in Iceland. This increased focus on equity and welfare started in 2009, when a new government was elected with an agenda of recreating a northern welfare system after the banking crisis to create a fair society and to protect the most vulnerable groups.

An overview of policy responses addressing health inequalities in can be found in our Policy Database.


Good practices

An overview of projects and initiatives that are currently taking place or that have successfully been finalized, and that are addressing health inequality issues, can be found in our Project Database.

Key actors

Please find below an overview of key actors in Iceland working on health inequality issues:

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Key resources

Please find below an overview of relevant documents addressing health inequality issues in Iceland. Further publications can be found in our Publications Database.


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