[Country map of Greenland]


(part of the Danish realm)


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

Map references: Arctic Region

total area: 2,175,600 sq km
land area: 383,600 sq km (ice free)
comparative area: slightly more than three times the size of Texas

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 44,087 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 3 nm

International disputes: none

Climate: arctic to subarctic; cool summers, cold winters

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

Natural resources: zinc, lead, iron ore, coal, molybdenum, cryolite, uranium, fish

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 1%
forest and woodland: 0%
other: 99%

Irrigated land: 0 sq km

current issues: NA
natural hazards: continuous permafrost over northern two-thirds of the island
international agreements: NA

Note: dominates North Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe; sparse population confined to small settlements along coast


Population: 57,611 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 27% (female 7,664; male 7,881)
15-64 years: 68% (female 17,761; male 21,580)
65 years and over: 5% (female 1,500; male 1,225) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.05% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 17.7 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 7.2 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 25.1 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 67.65 years
male: 63.33 years
female: 71.98 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.25 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Greenlander(s)
adjective: Greenlandic

Ethnic divisions: Greenlander 86% (Eskimos and Greenland-born Caucasians), Danish 14%

Religions: Evangelical Lutheran

Languages: Eskimo dialects, Danish

Literacy: NA%

Labor force: 22,800
by occupation: largely engaged in fishing, hunting, sheep breeding


conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Greenland
local long form: none
local short form: Kalaallit Nunaat

Digraph: GL

Type: part of the Danish realm; self-governing overseas administrative division

Capital: Nuuk (Godthab)

Administrative divisions: 3 municipalities (kommuner, singular - kommun); Nordgronland, Ostgronland, Vestgronland

Independence: none (part of the Danish realm; self-governing overseas administrative division)

National holiday: Birthday of the Queen, 16 April (1940)

Constitution: 5 June 1953 (Danish constitution)

Legal system: Danish

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen MARGRETHE II (since 14 January 1972), represented by High Commissioner Steen SPORE (since NA 1993)
head of government: Home Rule Chairman Lars Emil JOHANSEN (since 15 March 1991)
cabinet: Landsstyre; formed from the Landsting on basis of strength of parties

Legislative branch: unicameral
Parliament (Landsting): elections last held on 4 March 1995 (next to be held 5 March 1999); results - Siumut 38.5%, Inuit Ataqatigiit 20.3%, Atassut Party 29.7%; seats - (31 total) Siumut 12, Atassut Party 10, Inuit Ataqatigiit 6, conservative splinter grouping 2, independent 1
Danish Folketing: last held on 21 September 1994 (next to be held by September 1998); Greenland elects two representatives to the Folketing; results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (2 total) Liberals 1, Social Democrats 1; note - Greenlandic representatives are affiliated with Danish political parties

Judicial branch: High Court (Landsret)

Political parties and leaders: two-party ruling coalition; Siumut (Forward Party, a moderate socialist party that advocates more distinct Greenlandic identity and greater autonomy from Denmark), Lars Emil JOHANSEN, chairman; Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) (Eskimo Brotherhood, a Marxist-Leninist party that favors complete independence from Denmark rather than home rule), Josef MOTZFELDT; Atassut Party (Solidarity, a more conservative party that favors continuing close relations with Denmark), Daniel SKIFTE; AKULLIIT, Bjarne KREUTZMANN; Issituup (Polar Party), Nicolai HEINRICH

Diplomatic representation in US: none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)

US diplomatic representation: none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)

Flag: 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


Overview: Greenland's economic situation at present is difficult. Unemployment is increasing, and prospects for economic growth in the immediate future are dim. Following the closing of the Black Angel lead and zinc mine in 1989, Greenland became almost completely dependent on fishing and fish processing, the sector accounting for 95% of exports. Prospects for fisheries are not bright, as the important shrimp catches will at best stabilize and cod catches have dropped. Resumption of mining and hydrocarbon activities is not around the corner, thus leaving only tourism with some potential for the near future. The public sector in Greenland, i.e., the central government and its commercial entities and the municipalities, plays a dominant role in Greenland accounting for about two-thirds of total employment. About half the government's revenues come from grants from the Danish Government.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $NA

National product real growth rate: NA%

National product per capita: $NA

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.3% (1993 est.)

Unemployment rate: 6.6% (1993 est.)

revenues: $667 million
expenditures: $635 million, including capital expenditures of $103.8 million (1993 est.)

Exports: $330.5 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: fish and fish products 95%
partners: Denmark 79%, Benelux 9%, Germany 5%

Imports: $369.6 million (c.i.f., 1993 est.)
commodities: manufactured goods 28%, machinery and transport equipment 24%, food and live animals 12.4%, petroleum products 12%
partners: Denmark 65%, Norway 8.8%, US 4.6%, Germany 3.8%, Japan 3.8%, Sweden 2.4%

External debt: $297.1 million (1993)

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

capacity: 84,000 kW
production: 210 million kWh
consumption per capita: 3,361 kWh (1993)

Industries: fish processing (mainly shrimp), lead and zinc mining, handicrafts, some small shipyards, potential for platinum and gold mining

Agriculture: sector dominated by fishing and sheep raising; crops limited to forage and small garden vegetables; 1988 fish catch of 133,500 metric tons

Economic aid: none

Currency: 1 Danish krone (DKr) = 100 oere

Exchange rates: Danish kroner (DKr) per US$1 - 6.034 (January 1995), 6.361 (1994), 6.484 (1993), 6.036 (1992), 6.396 (1991), 6.189 (1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 0 km

total: 150 km
paved: 60 km
unpaved: 90 km

Ports: Faeringehavn, Frederikshaab, Holsteinsborg, Nanortalik, Narsaq, Nuuk (Godthaab), Sondrestrom

Merchant marine: none

total: 10
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 2
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 1
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 3


Telephone system: 17,900 telephones; adequate domestic and international service provided by cables and microwave radio relay
local: NA
intercity: microwave radio relay
international: 2 coaxial submarine cables; 1 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth station

broadcast stations: AM 5, FM 7 (repeaters 35), shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 4 (repeaters 9)
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Note: defense is responsibility of Denmark