Development of the municipality

The municipality’s spatial planning must reflect the demographic trends. Thus, we reflect on the development in the population size, the distribution of men and women, age groups, as well as trends and development patterns. Consequently, below are presented the municipality’s key figures and the current demographic development.

Slightly decreasing population

Since 2012, the population in Avannaata Municipality has gone down by around 200 persons, corresponding to a decrease of almost two per cent. Since 2012, all districts in Avannaata Municipality have seen a drop in population. The largest drop occurred in Upernavik (-1,999).

People tend to move from settlements to towns. Today, 73 per cent of the municipality’s citizens live in towns, and 27 per cent live in settlements. Since 2012, the population in settlements has gone down in all four districts, while the towns of Ilulissat and Uummannaq have seen a population growth of 49 persons (Ilulissat) and 127 persons (Uummannaq). The primary cause of the increase in Uummannaq is presumed to be the temporary closing of the neighbouring settlements of Illorsuit and Nuugatsiaq, due to the tsunami in 2017. Upernavik has lost 42 citizens, whereas the population figure in Qaanaaq remains unchanged.

More seniors and men

Since 2012, there has been a drop in the number of children and youth. As of 1 January 2020, Qaanaaq sees the biggest share of persons aged 0 to 16 (28 per cent) and Uummannaq the smallest share (22 per cent). Conversely, the number of persons aged 25 to 64 and 65+ has increased. 47 per cent of the municipality’s citizens are women and 53 per cent are men. The distribution is pretty identical across the four neighbourhoods. The town of Qaanaaq sees the biggest share of women (50 per cent) and the settlements of Qaanaaq the largest share of men (61 per cent).

More households without children

Since 2012, we have seen a large drop in the number of the household type ‘couple with children’, while all other household types have gone up. Especially households without children, both singles, couples and households with more than two adults. Uummannaq sees the biggest share of households without children, since two in three households do not include children. Upernavik sees the largest share of households with children (45 per cent).

The neighbourhoods of Ilulissat and Qaanaaq see the largest shares of singles (38 to 39 per cent), while Upernavik sees the smallest share (25 per cent).

The household size has dropped from 3.12 persons in 2000 to 2.75 in 2020. All neighbourhoods have seen a drop in household size.


In 2020, around 600 persons who were born outside Greenland live in the municipality. That corresponds to around 5.6 per cent of the population. The share of inhabitants born outside Greenland dropped from 2003 to 2017, but has since increased significantly, bringing it in 2020 to the level it was in 2007. Ilulissat (9.1 per cent) sees the biggest share of inhabitants not born in Greenland, and Upernavik (1.9 per cent) and Qaanaaq (2.1 per cent) see the smallest shares.

No data on citizenship exists at district or municipal level. In Greenland, in general, Filipino and Thai citizens make up the biggest share of foreign citizens, having increased considerably since 2007.

Projection of population figure

The latest prognosis by Statistics Greenland (dated June 2020) shows that the national population is expected to drop by 1,300 persons. In Avannaata Municipality, the population is expected to be stable or increase slightly, though. In 2030, the number of persons aged 65+ is expected to increase considerably, and almost all other age groups are expected to decrease, especially the 17 to 24 age group.

Facts about the municipality:

  • Avannaata Muncipality numbers four towns and 21 settlements
  • It has 10,726 inhabitants (2020)
  • The municipality covers an are of 522,700 km²