Definition of Youth

The Icelandic Youth Act (2007) covers youth activities for individuals between 6-25 years of age.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 18
  • 18
  • Female
  • 18
  • 18
  • 18

  • Same-sex marriage legal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
The Penal Code contains special considerations and measures in cases involving young persons aged 15-21. Source:  Penal Code of Iceland, Amended

Majority Age


Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • -- Male (15-24) %
  • -- Female (15-24) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 87.95%Male %
  • 88.84% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • -- Male (13-15) %
  • -- Female (13-15) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Iceland has no national youth policy. A  2007 Youth Act  covers children and youth participation.

The Youth Act (2007) provides the legal basis to, “support children and young people for participation in youth activities.” The aims of organised youth activities is to allow “children and young people to use their spare time working in concert for ideals, goals and interests which they themselves value. The Youth Fund is to designed to support youth clubs and youth organisations, including:

  • Special projects for children and young people and/or with their active participation.
  • Training of leaders, instructors and volunteers.
  • Innovations and development projects.
  • Joint actions of youth clubs and youth organisations.
The Youth Act (2007) defines the governance of youth affairs, safeguards in youth activities, the responsibility of municipal governments and the role of youth research.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Department of Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture is, “responsible for youth affairs outside formal education at governmental level.” The Department, “supports youth organisations in many ways and has conducted youth research since the year 1992.” According to the Youth Act (2007), a nine member Youth Council is appointed by the Minister which consults on youth affairs, recommends priorities and policy, advises on youth activities, plans youth conferences and participates in international youth opportunities.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The Icelandic Youth Council (LÆF) is a membership organisation and aims,

[to] encourage co-operation of Icelandic youth organizations, to work for their common goals, to encourage and promote youth activities and youth issues, to represent Icelandic youth organizations abroad, to have friendly relations with youth organizations all over the world, and to work for international causes of young people.

The Icelandic Youth Forum is a forum of four youth organisations and aims to “promote a dialogue and increase cooperation of their member organisations.”

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
According to the Treasury operating statement 2011-2014, the proposed budget for the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture is ISK 66.7 million (USD 581,858). The allocated spending for youth affairs is unavailable. According to the World Bank, Iceland spent 14.74% of its government expenditure and 7.60% of its GDP on education provision in 2010.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background