Facing the global phenomenon of population aging, many countries are sharing their interest in collaborative research projects relating to aging. Although most countries are seeing declines in mortality rates, Western societies, in addition, have experienced secular declines in fertility rates, which continues to sustain a steady increase in the ratio of older to younger generation (Kinsella, 2005).
New approaches and frameworks of longitudinal databases are needed, which take into account both differences and similarities in aging-related processes across ethnic and national boundaries (the National Academy of Sciences, 2001). Fortunately, this occurs at a time when travel and use of long-distance communication through the Internet make long-distance collaboration and cross-national research easier and more sophisticated than ever before.
In the context of cross-national research, Iceland has unique potential for contribution. The purpose of this chapter is to give the reader some background information on the aging population in Iceland. How and why the rugged terrain of this island of 103,000 km2 (43 thousand square miles) surfacing the North Atlantic in a strategic location between North America and mainland Europe has become a fertile ground for both current and future research on aging will be described.
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