Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Elisabeth I. Ward
Iceland, a country with an estimated population of .3 million people in 2007, is one of the world's largest islands and the least densely populated nation in Europe, thanks partly to its historic isolation and its rather inhospitable volcanic and glacial interior. Emigration from Iceland to North America has also significantly contributed to this characteristic. The latest available U.S. Census Bureau statistics list slightly more than 75,000 people who identify themselves as Icelandic in all of North America (United States and Canada combined), but this is not one homogenous group. Rather, Icelandic Americans arrived here in three distinct waves: The first took place between 1870 and 1890, the second between 1950 and 1970, and a third is currently taking place. Distinguishing between these three phases better illustrates the current configuration of the loose Icelandic American ethnic identity. But despite their differences, and despite the ease with which Icelanders have assimilated ...