macrohistory & world report


Map of Greenland

Greenland (capital Nuuk, population 15,487 in 2010)

Soccer game.

Football (soccer) at the town of Uumannaq (pop 1,300) on the west coast in central Greenland.             Courtesy of Wikimedia

World Factbook as of November 2014: "The economy remains critically dependent on exports of shrimp and fish, income from resource exploration and extraction, and on a substantial subsidy from the Danish Government... The public sector, including publicly owned enterprises and the municipalities, plays the dominant role in Greenland's economy. Greenland's real GDP contracted about 1% in 2009 as a result of the global economic slowdown, but is estimated to have grown marginally in 2010-13. The relative ease with which Greenland has weathered the economic crisis is due to increased hydrocarbon and mineral exploration and extraction activities, a high level of construction activity in the Nuuk area and the increasing price of fish and shrimp... The Greenlandic economy has benefited from increasing catches and exports of shrimp, Greenland halibut and, more recently, crabs... Tourism also offers another avenue of economic growth for Greenland, with increasing numbers of cruise lines now operating in Greenland's western and southern waters during the peak summer tourism season."

Estimated per capita GDP:
2007: $35,900

Motorized boats control fishing and older kayaks are becoming extinct.  Shrimp fishing has been 80 percent of Greenland's fish industry, the fish exports dominate Greenland's export income.  Greenland has a handicrafts industry, small shipyards and is developing an ice industry.

Many Inuits pursue their traditional economic activity – hunting and fishing.

Infant mortality (deaths before the age of one year per 1,000 live births)
2011: 10.05 deaths
2010: 10.26 deaths
2009: 10.72
2008: 14.56

Average life expectancy at birth
2011: 70.96 years
2010: 70.67 years
2009: 70.07
2008: 70.53
2005: 69.65


July 2011: 57,670

Living in an urban area
2010: 84%

Birth rate per 1,000 population:
2011: 14.6 per year

The Inuit people (formerly called Eskimos) are about 84 percent of the population. 

Net migration rate
2011: A net loss of 5.98 per 1,000 population


2009: Inuit 89%, Danish and other 11%

Evangelical Lutheran, traditional Inuit spiritual beliefs


Northeast of Canada. The world's largest island, about 80 percent ice-capped (at least until recently). Cool summers and cold winters.


(As of May 2014) Chief of state: Margrethe II (Queen of Denmark, House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg) since 14 January 1972, Church of Denmark.

Parliamentary democracy within a constitutional monarchy. Unicameral parliament of 31 seats with members popularly elected to four-year terms.

Denmark controls Greenland's foreign affairs and is responsible for military defense.

Capital: Nuuk (Godthab).

Recent History

In 1953 an international court ratified Denmark's sovereignty over Greenland.

Denmark's parliament granted Greenland self-government that became effective in 1980.

2011: Greenland's economy is tied to fluctuations in the fishing industry and to international price fluctuations. Fish stocks are depleting. From Denmark, Greenland has inherited a well-functioning welfare system. Education, pension, health service and unemployment benefit are taken for granted.

The World Factbook

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.