- Iceland has the longest average life expectancy of any country in the world, beating out Japan, who now holds the second longest average life expectancy, according to Iceland's own statistics board. The average life expectancy for Icelanders, as of the 2001-2005 calculations, 82.8 years for women and 78.9 years for men. The infant mortality rate in Iceland is .25 percent, or 25 out of every 10,000 births, also lower than any other country in the world.
- It's the seventh most sparsely populated country in the world with 2.8 people per square kilometer (American that I am though, I have no idea what that means... in miles, please?).
- Iceland is number 3 in ranking of Gross Domestic Product per capita with $52,764. The US is number 8. Luxembourg is #1.
- Iceland has the lowest rates of death due to heart disease in Europe. And also the lowest percentage of people with high blood pressure, and the lowest percentage of people who suffer strokes. Omega-3, anyone?
- Iceland's literacy rate is 99.9% or better... along with 20 other countries... The US's literacy rate is 97%... 51st in the world, behind pretty much all of Europe and the former Soviet Union (including most of the "stan" countries), Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, South Korea, Mongolia, Uruguay, Argentina and the Maldives to name a few.
- According to the Colbert Report, 100% of Iceland's population believe the theory of evolution is correct... The same report said that of the developed countries of the world, the US ranked second to last, only above Latvia, in the percentage of the total population who believe the theory of evolution.
And my favorite:
- 10% of Icelanders believe in the existence of a "hidden world" of elves, dwarfs and spirits with magic powers. 10% also deny that the "hidden world" exists. However, the remaining 80% either have no opinion or refuse to rule out its existence. And the possibility is taken quite seriously... Roads and buildings must not be built in a way that will upset the spirits. If there are accidents on a building project, if not obviously caused by engineering problems of some kind, it will usually be blamed on angry "hidden folk." Road plans have been altered to avoid them. Building plans have been moved, altered or altogether abandoned to avoid them as well. Read more about these curious beliefs and see drawings of what the "hidden folk" look like done by people who can supposedly see them here.