The population of the Faroe Islands is largely descended from Viking settlers who arrived in the 9th century. The islands have been connected politically to Denmark since the 14th century. A high degree of self government was attained in 1948.


Location: Northern Europe, island group between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about half way between Iceland and Norway
Geographic coordinates: 62 00 N, 7 00 W
Population: 49,483 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 21% (male 5,362/female 4,975)

15-64 years: 64.2% (male 16,837/female 14,788)

65 years and over: 14.8% (male 3,487/female 3,818) (2011 est.)

Median age: Total: 37.3 years

male: 36.7 years

female: 38.1 years (2012 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Faroe Islands

local long form: none

local short form: Foroyar

Dependency status: part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark since 1948
Government type: NA
Telephones – main lines in use: 20,200 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 59,400 (2009)
Telephone system: general assessment: good international communications; good domestic facilities

domestic: digitalization was completed in 1998; both NMT (analog) and GSM (digital) mobile telephone systems are installed

international: country code – 298; satellite earth stations – 1 Orion; 1 fiber-optic submarine cable to the Shetland Islands, linking the Faroe Islands with Denmark and Iceland; fiber-optic submarine cable connection to Canada-Europe cable

Airports: 1 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)

Roadways: total: 463 km (2006)
Military branches: no regular military forces
Manpower available for military service: Males age 16-49: 11,831 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: Males age 16-49: 9,827

females age 16-49: 8,418 (2010 est.)


The Faroese economy is dependent on fishing, which makes the economy vulnerable to price swings. Since 2003 the Faroese economy has picked up as a result of higher prices for fish and for housing. Unemployment is minimal and government finances are relatively sound. Oil finds close to the Islands give hope for economically recoverable deposits, which could eventually lay the basis for a more diversified economy and lessen dependence on Danish economic assistance. Aided by a substantial annual subsidy (about 15% of GDP) from Denmark, the Faroese have a standard of living not far below the Danes and other Scandinavians.

Transnational Issues:

Because anticipated offshore hydrocarbon resources have not been realized, earlier Faroese proposals for full independence have been deferred; Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark’s claim that the Faroe Islands’ continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm