Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

 
Central Intelligence Agency
The Work of a Nation. The Center of Intelligence
CIA - The World Factbook The World Factbook Home
CIA - The World Factbook
North America :: Greenland
(part of the Kingdom of Denmark)
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Greenland
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Greenland
Click flag or map to enlarge Opens in New Window
 
Map of Greenland
Click map to enlarge Opens in New Window
Photos of Greenland
 
Navigation Arrowview 2 photos Opens in New Window
of Greenland
Expand All | collapse All
Introduction ::Greenland
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Greenland, the world's largest island, is about 81% ice-capped. Vikings reached the island in the 10th century from Iceland; Danish colonization began in the 18th century, and Greenland was made an integral part of Denmark in 1953. It joined the European Community (now the EU) with Denmark in 1973, but withdrew in 1985 over a dispute centered on stringent fishing quotas. Greenland was granted self-government in 1979 by the Danish parliament; the law went into effect the following year. Greenland voted in favor of increased self-rule in November 2008 and acquired complete responsibilty for internal affairs in June 2009. Denmark, however, continues to exercise control of Greenland's foreign affairs, security, and financial policy in consultation with Greenland's Home Rule Government.
Back to Top
Geography ::Greenland
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Northern North America, island between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Canada
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
72 00 N, 40 00 W
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 2,166,086 sq km
country comparison to the world: 13
land: 2,166,086 sq km (410,449 sq km ice-free, 1,755,637 sq km ice-covered)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
slightly more than three times the size of Texas
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 km
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
44,087 km
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
continental shelf: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
arctic to subarctic; cool summers, cold winters
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
flat to gradually sloping icecap covers all but a narrow, mountainous, barren, rocky coast
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Gunnbjorn 3,700 m
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
coal, iron ore, lead, zinc, molybdenum, diamonds, gold, platinum, niobium, tantalite, uranium, fish, seals, whales, hydropower, possible oil and gas
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
continuous permafrost over northern two-thirds of the island
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
protection of the arctic environment; preservation of the Inuit traditional way of life, including whaling and seal hunting
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
dominates North Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe; sparse population confined to small settlements along coast; close to one-quarter of the population lives in the capital, Nuuk; world's second largest ice cap
Back to Top
People ::Greenland
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
57,600 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0-14 years: 23% (male 6,727/female 6,533)
15-64 years: 70.1% (male 21,696/female 18,669)
65 years and over: 6.9% (male 2,000/female 1,975) (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 33.5 years
male: 34.9 years
female: 31.9 years (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0.062% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
14.76 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
8.14 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
-5.99 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
urban population: 84% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.16 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.01 male(s)/female
total population: 1.12 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 10.72 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 151
male: 12.26 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total population: 70.07 years
country comparison to the world: 143
male: 67.44 years
female: 72.85 years (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
2.19 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
100 (1999)
country comparison to the world: 164
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
noun: Greenlander(s)
adjective: Greenlandic
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Greenlander 88% (Inuit and Greenland-born whites), Danish and others 12% (2000)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Evangelical Lutheran
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Greenlandic (East Inuit) (official), Danish, English
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100% (2001 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA
Back to Top
Government ::Greenland
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Greenland
local long form: none
local short form: Kalaallit Nunaat
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark since 1979
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
parliamentary democracy within a constitutional monarchy
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
name: Nuuk (Godthab)
geographic coordinates: 64 11 N, 51 45 W
time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
note: Greenland is divided into four time zones
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
3 districts (landsdele); Avannaa (Nordgronland), Tunu (Ostgronland), Kitaa (Vestgronland)
note: there are 18 municipalities in Greenland
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
none (extensive self-rule as part of the Kingdom of Denmark; foreign affairs is the responsibility of Denmark, but Greenland actively participates in international agreements relating to Greenland)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
June 21 (longest day)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
(November 2008) Act on Greenland Self Government
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
the laws of Denmark, where applicable, apply
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
18 years of age; universal
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
chief of state: Queen MARGRETHE II of Denmark (since 14 January 1972), represented by High Commissioner Soren MOLLER (since April 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Kuupik KLEIST (since 12 June 2009)
cabinet: Home Rule Government is elected by the Parliament (Landsting) on the basis of the strength of parties
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; high commissioner appointed by the monarch; prime minister is elected by parliament (usually the leader of the majority party)
election results: Kuupik KLEIST elected prime minister
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
unicameral Parliament or Landsting (31 seats; members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 2 June 2009 (next to be held by 2014)
election results: percent of vote by party - Inuit Ataqatigiit 43.7%, Siumut 26.5%, Demokratiit 12.7%, Atassut 10.9%; Kattusseqatigiit 3.8%, other 2.4%; seats by party - IA 14, Siumut 9, Demokraatiit 4, Atassut 3, Kattusseqatigiit 1
note: two representatives were elected to the Danish Parliament or Folketing on 13 November 2007 (next to be held in November 2011); percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Siumut 1, Inuit Ataqatigiit 1
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
High Court or Landsret (appeals can be made to the Ostre Landsret or Eastern Division of the High Court or Supreme Court in Copenhagen)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Atassut Party (Solidarity) [Finn KARLSEN] (a conservative party favoring continuing close relations with Denmark); Demokratiit [Per BERTHELSEN]; Inuit Ataqatigiit or IA (Eskimo Brotherhood) [Josef MOTZFELDT] (a leftist party favoring complete independence from Denmark rather than home rule); Kattusseqatigiit (Candidate List) (an independent right-of-center party with no official platform); Siumut (Forward Party) [Hans ENOKSEN] (a social democratic party advocating more distinct Greenlandic identity and greater autonomy from Denmark)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
other: conservationists; environmentalists
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Arctic Council, NC, NIB, UPU
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red with a large disk slightly to the hoist side of center - the top half of the disk is red, the bottom half is white; the design represents the sun reflecting off a field of ice; the colors are the same as those of the Danish flag and symbolize Greenland's links to the Kingdom of Denmark
Back to Top
Economy ::Greenland
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
The economy remains critically dependent on exports of shrimp and fish and on a substantial subsidy - about $700 million in 2008-09 - from the Danish Government, which supplies about 60% of government revenues. The public sector, including publicly-owned enterprises and the municipalities, plays the dominant role in the economy. Several interesting hydrocarbon and mineral exploration activities are ongoing and in 2007 a US firm signed an agreement with the Greenland Home Rule government to study the feasibility of building a multi-billion dollar aluminum smelter and hydropower plant. Denmark plans to reduce its subsidies to Greenland as revenues from oil exports come onstream.
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$1.1 billion (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$1.7 billion (2005)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
2% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$20,000 (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
32,120 (2004)
country comparison to the world: 195
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
9.3% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA%
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
revenues: $1.36 billion
expenditures: $1.27 billion (2005)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
1% (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
forage crops, garden and greenhouse vegetables; sheep, reindeer; fish
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
fish processing (mainly shrimp and Greenland halibut); gold, niobium, tantalite, uranium, iron and diamond mining; handicrafts, hides and skins, small shipyards
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA%
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
325 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
302.3 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
4,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
149.5 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
4,172 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 170
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$480 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 163
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
fish and fish products 94% (prawns 63%) (2001 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Denmark 64.4%, Japan 11.2%, Canada 4.9%, China 4.1% (2008)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$712 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 181
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, petroleum products
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Denmark 59%, Sweden 20.8%, Norway 4.6%, UK 4.4% (2008)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$25 million (1999)
country comparison to the world: 196
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Danish kroner (DKK) per US dollar - 5.0236 (2008 est.), 5.4797 (2007), 5.9468 (2006), 5.9969 (2005), 5.9911 (2004)
Back to Top
Communications ::Greenland
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
22,800 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 189
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
55,800 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 191
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
general assessment: adequate domestic and international service provided by satellite, cables and microwave radio relay; totally digitalized in 1995
domestic: microwave radio relay and satellite
international: country code - 299; satellite earth stations - 15 (12 Intelsat, 1 Eutelsat, 2 Americom GE-2 (all Atlantic Ocean)) (2000)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
AM 5, FM 14, shortwave 0 (2008)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
1 (plus some local low-power stations, and 3 American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) stations (1997)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
.gl
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
14,134 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 111
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
36,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 177
Back to Top
Transportation ::Greenland
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
15 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 146
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 6 (2009)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2009)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
note: although there are short roads in towns, there are no roads between towns; inter-urban transport takes place either by sea or air (2005)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 2
country comparison to the world: 144
by type: cargo 1, passenger 1 (2008)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Sisimiut
Back to Top
Military ::Greenland
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
no regular military forces
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
males age 16-49: 15,221 (2008 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
males age 16-49: 10,809
females age 16-49: 11,437 (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
male: 532
female: 491 (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
defense is the responsibility of Denmark
Back to Top
Transnational Issues ::Greenland
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
managed dispute between Canada and Denmark over Hans Island in the Kennedy Channel between Canada's Ellesmere Island and Greenland
Back to Top
Expand All | collapse All
The online Factbook is updated bi-weekly. ISSN 1553-8133
For additional information on government leaders in selected foreign countries, go to World Leaders.