Demographics of Greece: Wikis


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This article is about the demographic features of the population of Greece, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Demographics of the Hellenic Republic
Population: 11,262,000[1] (2008 est.)
Growth rate: 0.146% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 9.54 births/1,000
population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 10.42 deaths/1,000
population (2008 est.)
Life expectancy: 79.52 (2008 est.)
–male: 76.98 years
–female: 82.21 years
Fertility rate: 1.36 children born/woman (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: {{{infant_mortality}}}
Age structure:
0-14 years: 14.3%
15-64 years: 66.6%
65-over: 19.1%
Sex ratio:
At birth: 1.06 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Under 15: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.00 male(s)/female
65-over: 0.78 male(s)/female
Nationality: noun: Greek(s) adjective: Greek
Major ethnic: Greeks
Minor ethnic: Turks, Pomaks, Macedono-Slavs, Roma/Gypsies, ArvanitesAlbanians, Bulgarians, Georgians, Romanians, Russians, [2]
Official: Greek
Spoken: Greek, Albanian, Turkish, Gagavuz, Bulgarian, Georgian, Romanian, Russian, Arvanitika, Aromanian, Macedonian Slavic

The Demographics of Greece refer to the demography of the population that inhabits the Greek peninsula. As of January 2008, the population of Greece is estimated at 11,262,000 by Eurostat.


Historical overview

Greece was inhabited as early as the Paleolithic period. Prior to the 2nd millennium BC, the Greek peninsula was inhabited by various pre-Hellenic peoples, the most notable of which were the Pelasgians. The Greek language ultimately dominated the peninsula and Greece's mosaic of small city-states became culturally similar. The population estimates on the Greeks during the 4th century BC, is approximately 3.5 million on the Greek peninsula and 4 to 6.5 million in the entire Mediterranean Basin,[3] including all colonies such as those in Magna Graecia, Asia Minor and the shores of the Black Sea.

During the history of the Byzantine Empire, the Greek peninsula was occasionally invaded by the foreign peoples like Goths, Avars, Slavs, Normans, Franks and other Romance-speaking peoples who had betrayed the Crusades. The only group, however, that planned to establish permanent settlements in the region were the Slavs. They supposedly settled in isolated valleys of the Peloponnese and Thessaly, establishing segregated communities that were referred by the Byzantines as Sclaveni. Traces of Slavic culture in Greece are very rare and by the 9th century, the Sclaveni in Greece were largely eliminated. However, some Slavic communities managed to survive in rural Macedonia. At the same time a large Sephardi Jewish emigrant community from the Iberian peninsula established itself in Thessaloniki, while there were population movements of Arvanites and Vlachs, who established communities in several parts of the Greek peninsula. The Byzantine Empire ultimately fell to Ottoman Turks in the 15th century and as a result Ottoman colonies were established in the Balkans, notably in Macedonia, the Peloponnese and Crete. Many Greeks either fled to other European nations or to geographically isolated areas (i.e. mountains and heavily forested territories) in order to escape foreign rule. For those reasons, the population decreased in the plains, while increasing on the mountains. The population transfers with Bulgaria and Turkey that took place in the early 20th century, added in total some two million Greeks from to the demography of the Greek Kingdom.


Population of Greece from 1961 to 2003.

According to the 2001 census the population of Greece was 10,964,020. Eurostat estimations as of January 2008 gave the number of 11,214,992 inhabitants in the Greek peninsula.

Census Population Change
1971 8,768,372 -
1981 9,739,589 11.1%
1991 10,259,900 5.3%
2001 10,964,020 6.9%

By region

Greece is divided into nine geographic regions. The population of each region according to the 2001 census:

Region Population
Aegean Islands 508,807
Central Greece 4,591,568
Crete 601,131
Epirus 353,820
Ionian Islands 212,984
Macedonia 2,424,765
Peloponnese 1,155,019
Thessaly 753,888
Thrace 362,038
Total 10,964,020

Age structure

Being part of the phenomenon of the aging of Europe, the Greek population shows a rapid increase of the percentage of the elderly people. Greece's population census of 1961 found that 10.9% of the total population was above the age of 65, while the percentage of this group age increased to 16.7% in 2001. On the contrary, the percentage of the population of the ages 0–14 had a total decrease of 10.2% between 1961 and 2001.

Age group 1971 1981 1991 2001
Population % Population % Population % Population %
0–14 2,223,904 25.4 2,307,297 23.7 1,974,867 19.2 1,664,085 15.2
15–64 5,587,352 63.7 6,192,751 63.6 6,880,681 67.1 7,468,395 68.1
65+ 957,116 10.9 1,239,541 12.7 1,404,352 13.7 1,831,540 16.7
Total 8,768,372 9,739,589 10,259,900 10,964,020


COB data Greece.PNG

Greece has received a large number of immigrants since the early 1990s. The 2001 census revealed that 797,091 foreigners lived permanently in the country[4] and comprised 6.95% of the total population, while their number in 1990 was 142,367.[5] The majority of them come from the neighbouring countries. As of 2006, the number of foreigners in an estimated total of 11,148,533 people[6] was 695,979[7] or 6.24%. The main ethnic groups were:

Ethnic group Population %
Greeks 10,452,554 93.76
Albanians 481,663 4.32
Bulgarians 43,981 0.39
Romanians 25,375 0.23
Ukrainians 19,785 0.18
Pakistani 15,830 0.14
Russians 13,635 0.12
Georgians 13,254 0.12
Indians 10,043 0.09
Other 72,413 0.65


Map showing the distribution of major Modern Greek dialect areas
Note: Greek is the dominant language throughout Greece; inclusion in a non-Greek language zone does not necessarily imply that the relevant minority language is still spoken there, or that its speakers consider themselves an ethnic minority.

The official language of Greece is Greek, spoken by 93% of the total population as their primary language, and by almost all as a second language at least. Apart from Modern Greek, which is the standard form of the Greek language and is officially recognized, there are several non-official modern Greek dialects spoken throughout the country as well. Additionally, there are a number of linguistic minority groups that are bilingual in Greek and a variety of non-Greek languages, and most of these groups identify ethnically as Greeks. The most common of all these dialects, the groups that speak them and the regions where they are considered native are:[8]

Dialect Spoken by Estimated population Region
Greek dialects
Cretan Cretans 600,000 Crete
Maniot Maniots 25,000 Mani (southern Peloponnese)
Pontic Pontians 200,000 Macedonia
Sarakatsanika Sarakatsani 80,000 Central Greece, Thessaly, Epirus
Tsakonian Tsakonians 1,200 Tsakonia (eastern Peloponnese)
Other languages
Turkish Muslims of Thrace (of Turkish, Pomak and Roma ethnic origins) 128,380[8] Thrace
Arvanitika Arvanites 30,000–140,000 Attica, southern Euboea, Boeotia, Peloponnese
Aromanian, Megleno-Romanian Aromanians 40,000–200,000 Epirus, Thessaly, West Macedonia
Bulgarian Pomaks 35,000 Thrace
Romani Roma 40,000–160,000 mainly in Thrace
Macedonian Slavic Slavophone Macedonian Greeks 1,000-3,000 Macedonia


Greek education is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 15. English study is compulsory from third grade through high school. University education, including books, is also free, contingent upon the student's ability to meet stiff entrance requirements. A high percentage of the student population seeks higher education. More than 100,000 students are registered at Greek universities, and 15% of the population currently holds a university degree. Admission in a university is determined by state-administered exams, the candidate's grade-point average from high school, and his/her priority choices of major. About one in four candidates gains admission to Greek universities.

Greek law does not currently offer official recognition to the graduates of private universities that operate in the country, except for those that offer a degree valid in another European Union country, which is automatically recognized by reciprocity. As a result, a large and growing number of students are pursuing higher education abroad. The Greek Government decides through an evaluation procedure whether to recognize degrees from specific foreign universities as qualification for public sector hiring. Other students attend private, post-secondary educational institutions in Greece that are not recognized by the Greek Government. At the moment extensive public talk is made for the reform of the Constitution in order to recognize private higher education in Greece as equal with public and to place common regulations for both.

The number of Greek students studying at European institutions is increasing along with EU support for educational exchange. In addition, nearly 5,000 Greeks are studying in the United States, about half of whom are in graduate school. Greek per capita student representation in the US (one every 2,200) is among the highest in Europe.


According to the Greek constitution, Eastern Orthodox Christianity is recognized as the "prevailing religion" in Greece. During the centuries of Ottoman domination, besides its spiritual mandate, the Orthodox Church, based in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), also functioned as an official representative of the Christian population of the empire. The Church is often credited with the preservation of the Greek language, values, and national identity during Ottoman times. The Church was also an important rallying point in the war for independence, although this latter position is somewhat controversial as the official Church in Constantinople initially condemned the breakout of armed struggle against the Empire. The Church of Greece was established shortly after the formation of a Greek national state. Its authority to this day extends only to the areas included in the embryonic Greek state of 1833. There is a Muslim minority concentrated in Thrace and officially protected by the Treaty of Lausanne. Besides Pomaks (Muslim Slavic speakers) and Roma, it consists mainly of ethnic Turks, who speak Turkish and receive instruction in Turkish at special government-funded schools. There are also a number of Jews in Greece, most of whom live in Thessaloniki. There are also some Greeks who adhere to a reconstruction of the ancient Greek religion.[9] A place of worship has been recognized as such by court.[10]

See also


  1. ^ "Total population" (in English). Eurostat.,39140985&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&screen=detailref&language=en&product=REF_TB_population&root=REF_TB_population/t_popula/t_pop/t_demo_gen/tps00001. Retrieved 2008-08-16.  
  2. ^ 2001 "Census data" (in Greek). Census. 2001. 2001. Retrieved 2009-01-07.  
  3. ^ Mogens Herman Hansen, The Shotgun Method: The Demography of the Ancient Greek City-State Culture, University of Missouri Press, 2006. Book review
  4. ^ [1.pdf "Πληθυσμός Ελληνικής και ξένης υπηκοότητας"] (in Greek).[1].pdf. Retrieved 2008-08-27.  
  5. ^ [1.pdf "Foreign population by citizenship and sex - 1.1.1990"] (in English).[1].pdf. Retrieved 2008-08-27.  
  6. ^ [1.pdf "Υπολογιζόμενος πληθυσμός στο μέσο των ετών 1991-2006"] (in Greek).[1].pdf. Retrieved 2008-08-27.  
  7. ^ [1.pdf "Usually resident population by citizenship"] (in English).[1].pdf. Retrieved 2008-08-27.  
  8. ^ a b "Languages of Greece" (in English). Ethnologue. Retrieved 2008-08-28.  
  9. ^ "Ancient Greek gods' new believers" (in English). BBC News. 2007-01-21. Retrieved 2008-08-24.  
  10. ^ "Greek gods prepare for comeback" (in English). 2006-05-05. Retrieved 2008-08-24.  

External links


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