Discover the Population and Demographics of Greenland

Greenland is the world’s largest island and a unique place with incredible natural beauty. The country is located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, and it is one of the most sparsely populated countries on earth. However, despite its size, many people are unaware of how many people actually live in this country. Greenland is known for its glaciers, fjords, and icebergs, but what about its population? This blog post aims to shed some light on the demographics of Greenland, including its contemporary and historical population figures, ethnic background, languages, and distribution between urban and rural areas. By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of the people who call this unique country home.


Greenland, the world’s largest island, is located in the Arctic region of North America, and its population has been a subject of interest for many. The territory’s isolation and harsh climatic conditions have had a significant impact on its demographic makeup and human development.

As of 2021, Greenland’s population stands at approximately 56,000 people, making it one of the least densely populated countries globally. However, despite its small population, the country has several towns and settlements distributed across its vast terrain, with Nuuk, the capital city, being the most populous.

The majority of Greenland’s population is indigenous Inuit, who have inhabited the land for over a thousand years. In recent years, there has been an increasing number of people moving to Greenland from other parts of the world. These newcomers are primarily from Denmark, which colonized Greenland in the 18th century, but also from neighboring countries such as Canada and Iceland.

Despite its relatively small population, Greenland has a unique culture and way of life that is heavily influenced by its environment. Fishing and hunting, for example, remain fundamental economic activities, while traditional Inuit practices continue to shape many aspects of daily life.

Overall, the population of Greenland is an intriguing mix of cultures, traditions, and customs that make it an exciting place to explore and study.

Geography and Demographics of Greenland

Location and Size

Location and Size

Greenland is the world’s largest island, located in the northern part of the North American continent. It is a self-governing territory of Denmark, situated between the Arctic Ocean to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. The location of Greenland makes it a highly unique and significant destination, especially for geographic explorers.

Measuring approximately 2,166,086 square kilometers, Greenland is the twelfth-largest country in the world and the largest non-continental island. Despite its massive size, however, only around 20% of Greenland’s landmass is ice-free, with the remaining area comprised of glaciers and ice sheets. In fact, Greenland is home to the second-largest ice sheet in the world, after Antarctica, which is over three kilometers thick at its highest point.

The sheer size of Greenland has major implications for climate change and environmental conservation efforts. The melting of Greenland’s ice sheets due to rising global temperatures could lead to disastrous flooding and displacement of people worldwide. Additionally, the vastness of the island makes it difficult to monitor and enforce environmental protections effectively.

Overall, the location and size of Greenland are essential factors in understanding the island’s significance and challenges. Its remote position and extensive landmass make it an attractive but complex destination for exploration and conservation efforts alike.

Population Density

Population Density

Greenland is the world’s largest island, but it has a relatively small population. As of 2021, the estimated population of Greenland is around 56,000 people. With a land area of over 836,000 square miles (2.17 million square kilometers), this means that the population density of Greenland is incredibly low, at under 0.07 people per square kilometer.

The majority of the population in Greenland resides along the coast, with the capital city of Nuuk being the largest city and home to approximately one-third of the country’s total population. Other significant settlements include Sisimiut, Ilulissat, and Qaqortoq, which are all located in the southern half of the country.

Despite being sparsely populated, Greenland’s population density has increased significantly over the past few decades. In the 1950s, there were only around 20,000 people living on the island, but this number has more than doubled since then.

One reason for this increase is the modernization of Greenland’s economy and infrastructure, which has led to improved living conditions and healthcare services. Additionally, there has been an influx of immigrants from other countries, particularly Denmark, who have come to work in industries such as fishing and mining.

However, the low population density means that much of Greenland remains largely untouched by human activity. The vast majority of the island is covered in ice and snow, with only a few areas of tundra and sparse vegetation. This unique landscape has made Greenland a popular destination for adventure tourism, attracting visitors who are interested in activities such as skiing, dog-sledding, and glacier hiking.

Overall, while Greenland’s population density may be low, the country’s natural beauty and unique culture continue to attract interest from people around the world.

History of Population in Greenland

Greenland has a rich and varied history, which includes the story of its population. The Inuit people have been living in Greenland for thousands of years, with evidence of their presence dating back to around 2500 BC. These indigenous people comprise the majority of the island’s population, and their history is an integral part of the country’s past.

In the early days of human habitation on Greenland, small groups of Inuit hunters and gatherers lived in scattered settlements along the coast. Over time, these groups grew and developed into larger communities, some of which were quite large by ancient standards.

However, despite their relative success at adapting to the harsh Arctic environment, the Inuit people were not the first and only ones to settle in Greenland. Norse settlers arrived on the island in the 10th century, with the intention of establishing permanent colonies. The Norse settlements thrived for several hundred years, but they ultimately failed due to factors such as climate change, resource depletion, and conflicts with the Inuit.

The history of Greenland’s population is also marked by periods of colonization and exploitation by European powers. Denmark established a colonial presence on the island in the 18th century, and this continued until the middle of the 20th century. During this time, Danish authorities sought to control and exploit Greenland’s resources, and they implemented policies aimed at assimilating the Inuit population into Danish culture.

Today, Greenland’s population continues to be shaped by its past. While the majority of the population is still made up of Inuit people, there is also a significant minority of Danish and other Europeans. The legacy of colonization and exploitation can still be felt, with social and economic disparities between different ethnic groups.

Overall, the history of population in Greenland is a complex and fascinating topic, one that provides insight into the cultural and social dynamics of this unique and remote country.

Contemporary Population of Greenland

Ethnicity and Languages

Ethnicity and Languages

Greenland is home to a diverse range of ethnic groups, with the majority being indigenous peoples. The official language of Greenland is Greenlandic or Kalaallisut, which is an Inuit language that is closely related to languages spoken in Alaska and Canada.

Greenland Ethnicity

The largest ethnic group in Greenland are the Inuit, who make up around 85% of the population. The remainder of the population is primarily composed of people with Danish or mixed Danish-Greenlandic heritage. Despite this mix, Greenland has its own unique culture and identity that celebrates its indigenous roots.

Greenlandic Language

As previously mentioned, the official language of Greenland is Greenlandic or Kalaallisut. This language has been developed over centuries of interaction between different Inuit groups in the region. While there are dialects that vary from region to region, the written form of the language is based on the West Greenlandic dialect.

Danish is also widely spoken in Greenland due to its history as a former Danish colony. Most Greenlanders learn Danish in school and it is commonly used in official settings such as government institutions and higher education. However, there is a growing movement towards promoting and preserving the use of Greenlandic in all aspects of life.

In addition to Greenlandic and Danish, English is also spoken by many Greenlanders, particularly those working in tourism or international business.

Overall, the diversity of ethnicity and languages in Greenland is reflective of its unique history and culture. While Inuit heritage remains at the forefront of Greenlandic identity, the influence of other cultures has helped to shape the modern-day society of this fascinating country.

Urban and Rural Distribution

Urban and Rural Distribution

Greenland is one of the least densely populated countries in the world, with a total population of just over 56,000. The majority of the population lives along the coast, where there are more job opportunities and access to essential services such as healthcare and education.

The urban population in Greenland accounts for only about 20% of the total population. The capital city, Nuuk, is the largest urban area in Greenland, with a population of around 18,000 people. Other urban areas include Sisimiut, Ilulissat, and Qaqortoq.

The remaining 80% of the population live in rural areas, mainly in small communities throughout the country. These communities are often isolated and difficult to reach, particularly during the winter months when snow and ice make transportation challenging. Many rural communities rely on subsistence hunting and fishing, and there is a strong sense of community and self-reliance among the residents.

One of the challenges faced by rural communities in Greenland is access to essential services. For example, there may be limited access to healthcare facilities, which can make it difficult for residents to access medical treatment when needed. Similarly, educational opportunities may be limited, with children often having to travel long distances to attend school.

Despite the challenges, many people in Greenland choose to live in rural communities because of the strong sense of community and connection to the land and traditional ways of life. This has led to a growing interest in sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and other initiatives that promote self-sufficiency and reduce reliance on outside resources.

In conclusion, while the majority of the population in Greenland lives in rural areas, there are still significant urban centers that offer essential services and job opportunities. However, many rural communities face unique challenges in terms of access to services and infrastructure, and there is a growing interest in initiatives that promote self-sufficiency and sustainability.

Population Growth

Population Growth

Greenland’s population has been increasing steadily over the last few decades. According to the World Bank, the population of Greenland was around 56,000 in 2019, up from approximately 46,000 in 1990. This represents a growth rate of about 1.7% per year, which is relatively modest compared to other countries.

One of the main drivers of population growth in Greenland is natural increase, or the difference between births and deaths. Although the birthrate in Greenland has declined somewhat in recent years, it remains higher than in many other developed countries. In 2019, the total fertility rate in Greenland was estimated to be 2.4 children per woman, compared to an average of 1.6 for the European Union as a whole.

Another factor contributing to population growth in Greenland is immigration. Like many other sparsely populated regions, Greenland has experienced an influx of migrants in recent years, particularly from Denmark, which has had close ties to Greenland since the 18th century. Many of these migrants are young and well-educated, which has helped to counteract the effects of an aging population and declining birthrate.

However, despite its modest population growth, Greenland faces some unique challenges that could limit its ability to sustainably support a larger population. For example, much of the island’s land area is covered by ice, making agriculture difficult if not impossible. Additionally, Greenland is heavily dependent on fishing for its economy, but changing ocean temperatures and overfishing threaten this industry. Furthermore, the costs of providing healthcare, education, and other essential services to a dispersed population are high, which could strain Greenland’s already limited resources.

Ultimately, while Greenland’s population growth may be slow relative to other countries, it is still an important factor to consider as the region seeks to balance economic development with environmental and social sustainability.
Greenland’s population has a rich history that spans centuries. From its earliest Inuit inhabitants to the Danish colonization era, Greenland’s population has undergone dynamic shifts and changes. Today, Greenland’s population is small but diverse, with its people spread across its vast landscape of towns, villages, and remote settlements. Despite the challenges posed by its Arctic location, modern technology and transportation have helped connect Greenland’s people to the rest of the world. Understanding the demographic makeup of Greenland is essential to understanding its unique culture and identity. As climate change continues to impact the Arctic, the future of Greenland’s population remains uncertain. However, one thing is clear: Greenland’s people will continue to adapt and persevere in the face of future challenges, just as they have throughout their history.

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