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Week ahead

Numerical selfie

Greenland releases its annual statistical self-portrait

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A country with a tiny population whose two main languages are spoken by less than 6 million people worldwide, Greenland must make an active effort when it comes time to present itself to the world.

The most conspicuous way of doing this is the frequent public appearances abroad by its public officials, who are generally fully capable of addressing their audiences in English.

Making their message last often requires presenting their case in numbers, however. This is why Greenland in Figures, an annual publication, is often found tucked under officials’ arms when heading to meetings with foreign counterparts.

SEE RELATED: Statistically relevant

The contents of the volume, the next version of which is due out on April 28, have changed little in the 14 years it has been in existence, according to officials with Naatsorsueqqissaartarfik, the national statistics bureau; economic data makes up the lion’s share of the information, though population data and information about infrastructure and the political system are always key fixtures.

Regular readers will find this repetitive. Complaining about it however, misses the point, which is to give officials an oversized calling-card that lasts longer than their prepared comments.

As with most official publications these days, the report is available for download. Printed versions are available for as long as the supply lasts. 

Those interested in a more in-depth look at Greenland by the numbers have two options: its statistical yearbook, published most recently on November 22, or Naatsorsueqqissaartarfik’s databank, which is navigable in English. 

A lack of resources limits the amount of English publications that can be released during the year. Most often, these relate to tourism and other important economic activities. A population summary is released each January or February, and is always Naatsorsueqqissaartarfik’s most popular English publication of the year.

This story was updated on April 28 to include a link to the 2017 edition of  Greenland in Figures. The 2016 version is still available for download.

Photo: Leiff Josefsen