Greenland - GL - GRL - North America

Last updated: April 15, 2024
Greenland flag
Greenland locator map
Greenland map

Greenland Images

Greenland Factbook Data

Dependency status

part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark since 1979

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Consul Monica BLAND (since July 2023)

embassy: Aalisartut Aqqutaa 47
Nuuk 3900

telephone: (+299) 384100

email address and website:

Homepage - U.S. Embassy & Consulate in the Kingdom of Denmark (

Age structure

0-14 years: 20.46% (male 5,992/female 5,827)

15-64 years: 67.66% (male 20,271/female 18,820)

65 years and over: 11.89% (2023 est.) (male 3,641/female 3,226)
2023 population pyramid
This is the population pyramid for Greenland. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends.

For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Geographic coordinates

72 00 N, 40 00 W

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.08 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 1.13 male(s)/female

total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Natural hazards

continuous permafrost over northern two-thirds of the island

Area - comparative

slightly more than three times the size of Texas


Greenland, the world's largest island, is about 80% ice-capped. Vikings reached the island in the 10th century from Iceland; Danish colonization began in the 18th century, and Greenland became an integral part of the Danish Realm 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 remains a member of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association of the EU. 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 greater responsibility for internal affairs when the Act on Greenland Self-Government was signed into law in June 2009. Denmark, however, continues to exercise control over several policy areas on behalf of Greenland, including foreign affairs, security, and financial policy in consultation with Greenland's Self-Rule Government.

Environment - current issues

especially vulnerable to climate change and disruption of the Arctic environment; preservation of the Inuit traditional way of life, including whaling and seal hunting

Population below poverty line

16.2% (2015 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA

highest 10%: NA

Exports - commodities

shrimp, halibut, fish fillets, crabs, cod, mackerel (2021)

Exports - partners

Denmark 55%, China 22%, Japan 6% (2019)

Administrative divisions

5 municipalities (kommuner, singular kommune); Avannaata, Kujalleq, Qeqertalik, Qeqqata, Sermersooq

note: Northeast Greenland National Park (Kalaallit Nunaanni Nuna Eqqissisimatitaq) and the Thule Air Base in Pituffik (in northwest Greenland) are two unincorporated areas; the national park's 972,000 sq km - about 46% of the island - makes it the largest national park in the world and also the most northerly

Agricultural products

sheep, cattle, reindeer, fish, shellfish

Military and security forces

no regular military forces 


revenues: $1.719 billion (2016 est.)

expenditures: $1.594 billion (2016 est.)


name: Nuuk (Godthaab)

geographic coordinates: 64 11 N, 51 45 W

time difference: UTC-2 (3 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

time zone note: Greenland has four time zones

etymology: "nuuk" is the Inuit word for "cape" and refers to the city's position at the end of the Nuup Kangerlua fjord

Imports - commodities

fishing ships, refined petroleum, construction vehicles, crustaceans, delivery trucks (2019)


arctic to subarctic; cool summers, cold winters


44,087 km


history: previous 1953 (Greenland established as a constituency in the Danish constitution), 1979 (Greenland Home Rule Act); latest 21 June 2009 (Greenland Self-Government Act)

Exchange rates

Danish kroner (DKK) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
6.287 (2021 est.)
6.542 (2020 est.)
6.669 (2019 est.)
6.315 (2018 est.)
6.603 (2017 est.)

Executive branch

chief of state: King FREDERIK X of Denmark (since 14 January 2024), represented by High Commissioner Mikaela ENGELL (since April 2011) (2024)

head of government: Premier Mute B. EGEDE (since 23 April 2021)

cabinet: Self-rule Government (Naalakkersuisut) elected by the Parliament (Inatsisartut)

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; high commissioner appointed by the monarch; premier indirectly elected by Parliament for a 4-year term

election results:
Mute B. EGEDE elected premier; Parliament vote - Mute B. EGEDE (Inuit Ataqatigiit) unanimous

2014: Kim KIELSEN elected premier; Parliament vote - Kim KIELSEN (S) 27.2%, Sara OLSVIG (IA) 25.5%, Randi Vestergaard EVALDSEN (D) 19.5%, other 27.8%

Fiscal year

calendar year

Flag description

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


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)


fish processing (mainly shrimp and Greenland halibut), anorthosite and ruby mining, handicrafts, hides and skins, small shipyards

Judicial branch

highest court(s): High Court of Greenland (consists of the presiding professional judge and 2 lay assessors); note - appeals beyond the High Court of Greenland can be heard by the Supreme Court (in Copenhagen)

judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the monarch upon the recommendation of the Judicial Appointments Council, a 6-member independent body of judges and lawyers; judges appointed for life with retirement at age 70

subordinate courts: Court of Greenland; 18 district or magistrates' courts

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Land use

agricultural land: 0.6% (2018 est.)

arable land: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0.6% (2018 est.)

forest: 0% (2018 est.)

other: 99.4% (2018 est.)

Legal system

the laws of Denmark apply where applicable and Greenlandic law applies to other areas

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament or Inatsisartut (31 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by party-list proportional representation vote - by the d'Hondt method - to serve 4-year terms)
Greenland elects 2 members to the Danish Parliament to serve 4-year terms

Greenland Parliament - last held on 6 April 2021 (next to be held in 2025)
Greenland members to Danish Parliament - last held on 5 June 2019 (next to be held by 4 June 2023)

election results:
Greenland Parliament - percent of vote by party - IA 38.7%, S 32.2%, N 12.9%, D 9.7%, A 6.5%; seats by party - IA 12, S 10, N 4, D 3, A 2; composition - men 21, women 10, percentage women 32.2%

Greenland members in Danish Parliament - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - IA 1, S 1; composition - 2 women


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 100%

male: 100%

female: 100% (2015)

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 3 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line

International organization participation

Arctic Council, ICC, NC, NIB, UPU

National holiday

National Day, June 21; note - marks the summer solstice and the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere


noun: Greenlander(s)

adjective: Greenlandic

Natural resources

coal, iron ore, lead, zinc, molybdenum, diamonds, gold, platinum, niobium, tantalite, uranium, fish, seals, whales, hydropower, possible oil and gas

Geography - note

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 sheet after that of Antarctica covering an area of 1.71 million sq km (660,000 sq mi) or about 79% of the island, and containing 2.85 million cu km (684 thousand cu mi) of ice (this is almost 7% of all of the world's fresh water); if all this ice were converted to liquid water, one estimate is that it would be sufficient to raise the height of the world's oceans by 7.2 m (24 ft)

Economic overview

large self-governing Danish territorial economy; preferential EU market access; high-income economy; dependent on Danish financial support, even for whaling and sealing industries; growing tourism; hydropower-fueled but environmentally fragile economy

Political parties and leaders

Democrats Party (Demokraatit) or D [Jens Frederik NIELSEN]
Fellowship Party (Atassut) or A [Aqqalu JERIMIASSEN]
Forward Party (Siumut) or S [Erik JENSEN]
Inuit Community (Inuit Ataqatigiit) or IA [Mute Bourup EGEDE]
Signpost Party (Naleraq) or N [Pele BROBERG] (formerly Partii Naleraq)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Sisimiut


18 years of age; universal

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: adequate domestic and international service provided by satellite, cables, and microwave radio relay; the fundamental telecommunications infrastructure consists of a digital radio link from Nanortalik in south Greenland to Uummannaq in north Greenland; satellites cover north and east Greenland for domestic and foreign telecommunications; a marine cable connects south and west Greenland to the rest of the world, extending from Nuuk and Qaqortoq to Canada and Iceland; a contract has been awarded to build a 5G network in Greenland, initially covering three towns, with 10 towns, including Greenland's capital Nuuk to follow (2022)

domestic: nearly 11 per 100 for fixed-line subscriptions and 118 per 100 for mobile-cellular (2021)

international: country code - 299; landing points for Greenland Connect, Greenland Connect North, Nunavut Undersea Fiber System submarine cables to Greenland, Iceland, and Canada; satellite earth stations - 15 (12 Intelsat, 1 Eutelsat, 2 Americom GE-2 (all Atlantic Ocean)) (2019)


flat to gradually sloping icecap covers all but a narrow, mountainous, barren, rocky coast

Government type

parliamentary democracy (Parliament of Greenland or Inatsisartut)

Military - note

the Danish military’s Joint Arctic Command in Nuuk is responsible for coordinating Denmark's defense of Greenland

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Greenland

local long form: none

local short form: Kalaallit Nunaat

etymology: named by Norwegian adventurer Erik THORVALDSSON (Erik the Red) in A.D. 985 in order to entice settlers to the island


Northern North America, island between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Canada

Map references

Arctic Region

Irrigated land


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Kenneth HOEGH, Head of Representation; note - Greenland also has offices in the Danish consulates in Chicago and New York

chancery: 3200 Whitehaven Street, NW
Washington, DC  20008

telephone: [1] (202) 234-4300

FAX: +1 (202) 328-1470

email address and website:

All Greenlandic Representations | Grønlands Repræsentation (

Internet country code


GDP (official exchange rate)

$3.236 billion (2021 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate


urban population: 87.9% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.41% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Broadcast media

the Greenland Broadcasting Company provides public radio and TV services throughout the island with a broadcast station and a series of repeaters; a few private local TV and radio stations; Danish public radio rebroadcasts are available (2019)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

National anthem

name: "Nunarput utoqqarsuanngoravit" (Our Country, Who's Become So Old also translated as You Our Ancient Land)

lyrics/music: Henrik LUND/Jonathan PETERSEN

note: adopted 1916; the government also recognizes "Nuna asiilasooq" as a secondary anthem

Major urban areas - population

18,000 NUUK (capital) (2018)

Physicians density

1.87 physicians/1,000 population (2016)

Hospital bed density

14 beds/1,000 population (2016)

National symbol(s)

polar bear; national colors: red, white

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 68.1% (2015 est.)

government consumption: 28% (2015 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 14.3% (2015 est.)

investment in inventories: -13.9% (2015 est.)

exports of goods and services: 18.2% (2015 est.)

imports of goods and services: -28.6% (2015 est.)


see Denmark

Population distribution

settlement concentrated on the southwest shoreline, with limited settlements scattered along the remaining coast; interior is uninhabited

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020) (registered in Denmark)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 8 (registered in Denmark)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix


Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

Ethnic groups

Greenlandic 88.1%, Danish 7.1%, Filipino 1.6%, other Nordic peoples 0.9%, and other 2.3% (2024 est.)

note: data represent population by country of birth


Evangelical Lutheran, traditional Inuit spiritual beliefs


Greenlandic (West Greenlandic or Kalaallisut is the official language; Tunumiisut (East Greenlandic) and Inuktun (Polar Inuit Greenlandic) are two other native languages, considered dialects of Kalaallisut, spoken by approximately 10% of Greenlanders), Danish, English

Imports - partners

Denmark 51%, Spain 23%, Sweden 12%, Iceland 7% (2019)

Disputes - international

in 2022, Canada and Denmark signed an agreement resolving a managed dispute over uninhabited Tartupaluk/Hans Island in the Kennedy Channel between Canada's Ellesmere Island and Greenland


highest point: Gunnbjorn Fjeld 3,694 m

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 1,792 m

Contraceptive prevalence rate


Current health expenditure


Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 43.6

youth dependency ratio: 30

elderly dependency ratio: 13.6

potential support ratio: 7.4 (2021)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 50,000 tons (2010 est.)

Air pollutants

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.51 megatons (2016 est.)

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 3 (2 cultural, 1 natural); note - excerpted from the Denmark entry

selected World Heritage Site locales: Ilulissat Icefjord (n); Kujataa, Norse and Inuit Farming (c); Aasivissuit–Nipisat, Inuit Hunting Ground (c)


55 (2024)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 183 million metric tons (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 15.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 84.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)


total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 4,000 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Gross reproduction rate

0.92 (2023 est.)

Currently married women (ages 15-49)

39.4% (2023 est.)

Labor force

26,840 (2015 est.)

Net migration rate

-5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Median age

total: 35 years (2023 est.)

male: 35.7 years

female: 34.4 years

Debt - external

$36.4 million (2010)
$58 million (2009)

Refined petroleum products - imports

3,973 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Public debt

13% of GDP (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.9 children born/woman (2023 est.)

Unemployment rate

9.1% (2015 est.)
10.3% (2014 est.)


57,777 (2023 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

5.6% (of GDP) (2016 est.)

Internet users

total: 38,920 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 69.5% (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

605,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 605,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)


total: 2,166,086 sq km

land: 2,166,086 sq km (approximately 1,710,000 sq km ice-covered)

Taxes and other revenues

77.4% (of GDP) (2016 est.)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$2.413 billion (2015 est.)
$2.24 billion (2014 est.)
$2.203 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 dollars


note: although there are short roads in towns, there are no roads between towns; inter-urban transport is either by sea or by air


25 (2024)

Infant mortality rate

total: 8.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 10.1 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 7 deaths/1,000 live births

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 66,605 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 118 (2021 est.)

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

33.9 (2015 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.3% (January 2017 est.)
1.2% (January 2016 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$41,800 (2015 est.)
$38,800 (2014 est.)
$38,500 (2013 est.)

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 15,649 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 28 (2020 est.)

Death rate

9.1 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Birth rate

13.7 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)


installed generating capacity: 187,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 481.7 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 17 million kWh (2019 est.)

Merchant marine

total: 10 (2023)

by type: other 10

Children under the age of 5 years underweight



$783.5 million (2015 est.)
$866.1 million (2014 est.)


$407.1 million (2015 est.)
$599.7 million (2014 est.)

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 6,352 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 11 (2020 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 74.3 years (2023 est.)

male: 71.6 years

female: 77.1 years

Real GDP growth rate

1.29% (2021 est.)
0.19% (2020 est.)
2.83% (2019 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

Industrial production growth rate

-10.63% (2021 est.) NA

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 15.9% (2015 est.)

industry: 10.1% (2015 est.)

services: 73.9% (2015)

Revenue from forest resources

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

Education expenditures

10.2% of GDP (2019 est.)

Population growth rate

-0.04% (2023 est.)