After strong economic growth and thorough material development during the past half-century, the Faroe Islands today constitute a modern welfare society with a high standard of living. The completely dominant housing form is of course a single-family house with a high technical and hygienic standard. In 1977, 65% of all dwellings had five or more rooms.
Social legislation and social institutions are essentially in line with the situation in Denmark, since the main part of the social area (health insurance, public and invalidity pension, widow’s pension, child allowance, hospital, health care and maternity care) is “jointly”, ie. administered by the national authorities according to Danish law. “Special” (internal Faroese affairs) is compulsory accident insurance. The sickness funds have been retained and pay full or partial medical care, dentists, medicines and transport. Hospitals are located in Tórshavn (Landssjúkarhúsið)with a large number of specialized departments; 53 doctors; 232 beds), Klaksvík and Suðuroy; In addition, the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen is obliged to receive 600 Faroese patients per year. There are 17 midwives attached to the hospitals. Preventative examinations of expectant mothers are free of charge. Outside the hospitals, 25 district doctors (municipal doctors) serve. In Tórshavn there are long-term care homes for the elderly. The home care business is well developed.
The large investments in infrastructure in the Faroe Islands (in particular vessels, ports, roads, public buildings) during the 1970s and 1980s were mainly made using loans, which led to a very large foreign debt (DKK 8.5 billion in 1990). With drastically reduced revenues from fishing, GDP fell by 35% in two years, and the Faroe Islands were in a difficult economic crisis at the beginning of the 1990s, which has led to lower living standards and tangible social problems. The salaries of civil servants were reduced by 8.5%, unemployment was 17% in 1995 (unemployment insurance was introduced in 1992) and for the first time in modern times, despite substantial birth surplus, the population has decreased (from 47,800 in 1989 to 43,500 in 1995). The years 1989–95 emigrated 6,987 people, i.e. just over 15% of the population. The crisis seems to have reached its peak in 1994–1995.