Demographics of Turkey
|Demographics of Republic of Turkey|
(31 December 2012)
|Growth rate:||1.2% (2012)|
|Birth rate:|| 17.0 births/1,000
|Death rate:|| 5.0 deaths/1,000
|Life expectancy:||74.5 years (2011)|
|–male:||72.0 years (2011)|
|–female:||77.1 years (2011)|
|Fertility rate:||2.08 children born/woman (2012)|
|Infant mortality rate:||11.6 deaths/1000 infants (2012)|
|0-14 years:||24.5% (2013)|
|15-64 years:||67.8% (2013)|
|At birth:||1.05 male(s)/female (2006 est.)|
|Under 15:||1.04 male(s)/female|
|15-64 years:||1.03 male(s)/female|
|Nationality:||noun: Turk(s) adjective: Turkish|
|Minor ethnic:||Kurds, Albanians, Lazs, Azerbaijanis, Zazas, Chechens, Circassians, Arabs, Bosnian, Tatars, Armenians, Greeks|
|Spoken:||Turkish, Kurdish, Albanian, Neo-Aramaic Laz, Georgian, Serbian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Pontic, Zazaki, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Kabardian, Armenian, Ladino|
This article is about the demographic features of the population of Turkey, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.
As of 2010, the population of Turkey is estimated to be 73.7 million with a growth rate of 1.21% per annum (2009 figure). The population is relatively young with 26.6% falling in the 0-14 age bracket. According to the OECD/World Bank population statistics in Turkey the population growth from 1990 to 2008 was 16 million or 29%.
|Dec. 31, 2007||70,586,256||—|
|Dec. 31, 2008||71,517,100||+1.32%|
|Dec. 31, 2009||72,561,312||+1.46%|
|Dec. 31, 2010||73,722,988||+1.60%|
|Dec. 31, 2011||74,724,269||+1.36%|
|Dec. 31, 2012||75,627,384||+1.21%|
Source: Turkish Statistical Institute
Vital statistics 
|Period||Live births per year||Deaths per year||Natural change per year||CBR1||CDR1||NC1||TFR1||IMR1|
|1950-1955||1 108 000||431 000||677 000||48.4||18.8||29.6||6.30||167.4|
|1955-1960||1 237 000||485 000||752 000||46.9||18.4||28.5||6.15||163.9|
|1960-1965||1 328 000||529 000||799 000||44.3||17.6||26.7||6.05||160.5|
|1965-1970||1 355 000||562 000||792 000||40.3||16.7||23.6||5.70||156.9|
|1970-1975||1 451 000||564 000||887 000||38.7||15.0||23.7||5.30||141.3|
|1975-1980||1 523 000||545 000||977 000||36.4||13.0||23.4||4.72||119.4|
|1980-1985||1 579 000||505 000||1 074 000||33.8||10.8||23.0||4.15||96.7|
|1985-1990||1 433 000||457 000||976 000||27.7||8.8||18.9||3.28||78.0|
|1990-1995||1 419 000||432 000||987 000||25.1||7.7||17.4||2.90||63.0|
|1995-2000||1 382 000||399 000||983 000||22.6||6.5||16.1||2.57||45.5|
|2000-2005||1 296 000||373 000||923 000||19.7||5.7||14.0||2.23||31.4|
|2005-2010||1 316 000||384 000||932 000||18.7||5.5||13.2||2.15||24.0|
|1 CBR = crude birth rate (per 1000); CDR = crude death rate (per 1000); NC = natural change (per 1000); TFR = total fertility rate (number of children per woman); IMR = infant mortality rate per 1000 births|
Birth statistics of Turkey have been started to get from The Central Population Administrative System (MERNIS) data base after MERNIS had on-line application in 2001. Birth statistics are updated continually because MERNIS has dynamic structure. In 2010 Turkey had a crude birth rate of 17.2 per 1000, in 2011 16.7, down from 20.3 in 2001. The total fertility rate (TFR) in 2010 was 2.05 children per woman, in 2011 2.02. The crude birth rate in 2010 ranged from 11.5 in West Marmara (TFR 1.52) (11,5;1.55 in 2011), similar to Bulgaria, to 27.9 in Southeast Anatolia (TFR 3.53) (27.1;3,42 in 2011), similar to Syria.
|Population (01.01.)||Live births||Deaths||Natural change||Crude birth rate (per 1000)||Crude death (per 1000)||Natural increase (per 1000)||Total fertility rate (TFR)|
|2000||67 803 927||1 434 297||174 315||2.53|
|2001||1 323 195||175 137||1 148 058||20.3||2.37|
|2002||1 229 417||175 434||1 053 983||18.6||2.17|
|2003||1 198 763||184 330||1 014 433||17.9||2.09|
|2004||1 222 242||187 086||1 035 156||18.0||2.11|
|2005||1 243 513||197 520||1 045 993||18.1||2.12|
|2006||1 254 157||210 146||1 044 011||18.1||2.12|
|2007||1 287 784||212 731||1 075 053||18.3||2.16|
|2008||70 586 256||1 292 839||215 562||1 077 277||18.2||2.15|
|2009||71 517 100||1 261 299||368 390||892 909||17.5||5.1||12.4||2.08|
|2010||72 561 312||1 253 309||365 190||888 119||17.2||5.0||12.2||2.05|
|2011||73 722 988||1 241 412||375 367||861 805||16.8||5.1||11.7||2.02|
|2012||74 724 269||1 279 864||374 855||905 009||17.0||5.0||12.0||2.08|
|2013||75 627 384|
Largest cities 
Largest cities or towns of Turkey
TurkStat. Address-based calculation from December, 2012.
|Rank||City name||Province||Pop.||Rank||City name||Province||Pop.|
Ottoman Empire period 
Throughout its history, the Ottoman Empire welcomed altogether hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of Spanish and Portuguese Jews after 1492; political and confessional refugees from Central Europe: Russian schismatics in 17-18th centuries, Nekrasov Cossacks (after rebellion), Polish and Hungarian revolutionaries after 1848, Jews escaping the pogroms and later the Shoah, White Russians fleeing the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, Russian and other socialist or communist revolutionaries, Trotskyists fleeing the USSR in the 1930s;
Republican Period (since 1923) 
People moving into Turkey during the Republican Period include Muslim refugees (Muhajir) from formerly Muslim-dominated regions invaded by Christian States, like Crimean Tatars, Circassians and Chechens from the Russian Empire, Algerian followers of Abd-el-Kader, Mahdists from Sudan, Turkmens, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other Central Asian Turkic-speaking peoples fleeing the USSR and later the war-torn Afghanistan, Balkan Muslims, either Turkish-speaking or Bosniaks, Pomaks, Albanians, Greek Muslims etc., fleeing either the new Christian states or later the Communist regimes, in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria for instance.
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, there has been a considerable influx of Eastern Europeans to Turkey, particularly from the former USSR. Some of them have chosen to become Turkish citizens, while others continue to live and work in Turkey as foreigners. The district of Laleli in Istanbul is known with the nickname "Little Russia" due to its large Russian community and the numerous street signs, restaurant names, shop names and hotel names in the Russian language.
Property acquisition since the 1990s 
After a change in the Turkish constitution increased foreigners' right to purchase real estate in the country in 2005, a large number of people, mostly pensioners from Western Europe, bought houses in the popular tourist destinations and moved to Turkey. The largest groups, according to the volume of purchases, are the Germans, British, Dutch, Irish, Italians and Americans.
There are no statistics of people's religious beliefs nor is it asked in the census. According to the government, 99.8% of the Turkish population is Muslim, mostly Sunni, some 10 to 15 million are Alevis. The remaining 0.2% is other - mostly Christians and Jews. The Eurobarometer Poll 2005 reported that in a poll 96% of Turkish citizens answered that "they believe there is a God", while 1% responded that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force". In a Pew Research Center survey, 53% of Turkey's Muslims said that "religion is very important in their lives". Based on the Gallup Poll 2006-08, Turkey was defined as More religious, in which over 63 percent of people believe religion is important. According to the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation, 62% of women wear the headscarf or hijab in Turkey. 33% of male Muslim citizens regularly attend Friday prayers.
- Muslim - 96.83% (80-85% Sunni, 15-20% Alevi)
- Christian - 0.13% (60% Armenian Orthodox, 20% Syrian Orthodox, 10% Protestant, 8% Chaldean Catholic, 2% Greek Orthodox)
- Jewish - 0.03% (96% Sephardi, 4% Ashkenazi)
- Bahá'í Faith - 0.01%
- Atheist - 3%
The vast majority of the present-day Turkish people are Muslim and the most popular sect is the Hanafite school of Sunni Islam, which was officially espoused by the Ottoman Empire; according to the KONDA Research and Consultancy survey carried out throughout Turkey on 2007:
- 52.8% defined themselves as "a religious person who strives to fulfill religious obligations" (Religious)
- 34.3 % defined themselves as ""a believer who does not fulfill religious obligations" (Not religious).
- 9.7% defined themselves as "a fully devout person fulfilling all religious obligations" (Fully devout).
- 2.3% defined themselves as "someone who does not believe in religious obligations" (Non-believer).
- 0.9% defined themselves as "someone with no religious conviction" (Atheist).
Ethnic groups 
The word Turk or Turkish also has a wider meaning in a historical context because, at times, especially in the past, it has been used to refer to all Muslim inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire irrespective of their ethnicity. The question of ethnicity in modern Turkey is a highly debated and difficult issue. Figures published in several different sources prove this difficulty by varying greatly.
It is necessary to take into account all these difficulties and be cautious while evaluating the ethnic groups. A possible list of ethnic groups living in Turkey could be as follows:
- Turkic-speaking peoples: Turks, Azeris, Tatars, Karachays, Karakalpaks, Uzbeks, Crimean Tatars and Uyghurs
- Indo-European-speaking peoples: Kurds (Kurmanj and Zazas), Bosniaks, Albanians, Pomaks, Armenians, Hamshenis, Gorani and Greeks
- Semitic-speaking peoples: Arabs, Assyrians/Syriacs and Jews
- Caucasian-speaking peoples: Circassians, Georgians, Laz and Chechens
According to the 2012 edition of the CIA World Factbook, 70-75% of Turkey's population consists of ethnic Turks, with Kurds accounting for 18% and other minorities between 7 and 12%. According to Milliyet, a 2008 report prepared for the National Security Council of Turkey by academics of three Turkish universities in eastern Anatolia suggested that there are approximately 55 million ethnic Turks, 12.6 million Kurds, 2.5 million Circassians, 2 million Bosniaks, 500,000-1.3 million Albanians, 1,000,000 Georgians, 870,000 Arabs, 600,000, Pomaks, 80,000 Laz, 60,000 Armenians, 25,000 Assyrians/Syriacs, 20,000 Jews, and 15,000 Greeks living in Turkey.
Although numerous modern genetic studies have indicated that the historical Anatolian groups are the primary source of the present-day Turkish population, the first Turkic people lived in a region extending from Central Asia to Siberia and were palpable after the 6th Century BC. Seventh century Chinese sources preserve the origins of the Turks stating that they were a branch of the Hsiung-nu (Huns) and living near the "West Sea", perhaps the Caspian Sea. Modern sources tends to indicate that the Turks' ancestors lived within the state of the Hsiung-nu in the Transbaikal area and that they later, during the fifth century, migrated to the southern Altay.
The word Türk was used only referring to Anatolian villagers back in the 19th century. The Ottoman elite identified themselves as Ottomans, not usually as Turks. In the late 19th century, as European ideas of nationalism were adopted by the Ottoman elite, and as it became clear that the Turkish-speakers of Anatolia were the most loyal supporters of Ottoman rule, the term Türk took on a much more positive connotation. During Ottoman times, the millet system defined communities on a religious basis, and a residue of this remains in that Turkish villagers will commonly consider as Turks only those who profess the Sunni faith, and will consider Turkish-speaking Jews, Christians, or even Alevis to be non-Turks. On the other hand, Kurdish-speaking or Arabic-speaking Sunnis of eastern Anatolia are sometimes considered to be Turks. The imprecision of the appellation Türk can also be seen with other ethnic names, such as Kürt(Kurd), which is often applied by western Anatolians to anyone east of Adana, even those who speak only Turkish. Thus, the category Türk, like other ethnic categories popularly used in Turkey, does not have a uniform usage. In recent years, centrist Turkish politicians have attempted to redefine this category in a more multi-cultural way, emphasizing that a Türk is anyone who is a citizen of the Republic of Turkey. Currently, article 66 of the Turkish Constitution defines a "Turk" as anyone who is "bound to the Turkish state through the bond of citizenship".
The Kurdish identity remains the strongest of the many minorities in modern Turkey. This is perhaps due to the mountainous terrain of the south-east of the country, where they predominate and represent a majority. They inhabit all major towns and cities across Turkey, however. No accurate up-to-date figures are available for the Kurdish population, because the Turkish government has outlawed ethnic or racial censuses. An estimate by the CIA World Factbook place their proportion of the population at approximately 18%. Another estimate, according to Ibrahim Sirkeci, an ethnic Turk, in his book The Environment of Insecurity in Turkey and the Emigration of Turkish Kurds to Germany, based on the 1990 Turkish Census and 1993 Turkish Demographic Health Survey, is 17.8%. Other estimates include 15.7% of the population according to the newspaper Milliyet, and 23% by Kurdologist David McDowall.
The Minority Rights Group report of 1985 (by Martin Short and Anthony McDermott) gave an estimate of 15% Kurds in the population of Turkey in 1980, i.e. 8,455,000 out of 44,500,000, with the preceding comment 'Nothing, apart from the actual 'borders' of Kurdistan, generates as much heat in the Kurdish question as the estimate of the Kurdish population. Kurdish nationalists are tempted to exaggerate it, and governments of the region to understate it. In Turkey only those Kurds who do not speak Turkish are officially counted for census purposes as Kurds, yielding a very low figure.'. In Turkey: A Country Study, a 1995 on-line publication of the U.S. Library of Congress, there is a whole chapter about Kurds in Turkey where it is stated that 'Turkey's censuses do not list Kurds as a separate ethnic group. Consequently, there are no reliable data on their total numbers. In 1995 estimates of the number of Kurds in Turkey is about 8.5 million.' out of 61.2 million, which means 13%. Kurdish national identity is far from being limited to the Kurmanji language community, as many Kurds whose parents migrated towards Istanbul or other large non-Kurdish cities mostly speak Turkish, which is one of the languages used by the Kurdish nationalist publications.
Armenians in Turkey have an estimated population of 40,000 (1995) to 70,000. Most are concentrated around Istanbul. The Armenians support their own newspapers and schools. The majority belong to the Armenian Apostolic faith, with smaller numbers of Armenian Catholics and Armenian Evangelicals.
An estimated 25,000 Assyrians/Syriacs live in Turkey, with about 17,000 in Istanbul and the other 8,000 scattered in southeast Turkey. They belong to the Syriac Orthodox Church, Syriac Catholic Church, and Chaldean Catholic Church. The Mhallami, who usually are described as Arabs, have Assyrian/Syriac ancestry. They live in the area between Mardin and Midyat, called in Syriac "I Mhalmayto" (ܗܝ ܡܚܠܡܝܬܐ).
According to some[which?] sources, there are about 800,000 Azerbaijanis; however, this figure may differ substantially from the real one Up to 300,000 of Azeris who reside in Turkey are citizens of Azerbaijan. They currently are the largest ethnic group in the city of Iğdır and second largest ethnic group in Kars.
There are approximately 1 million people of Georgian ancestry in Turkey according to the newspaper Milliyet.
The Greeks constitute a population of Greek and Greek-speaking Eastern Orthodox Christians who mostly live in Istanbul, including its district Princes' Islands, as well as on the two islands of the western entrance to the Dardanelles: Imbros and Tenedos (Turkish: Gökçeada and Bozcaada), and historically also in western Asia Minor (centred around Izmir/Smyrni), the Pontic Alps (centred around Trebzon and Sumelia), and central Anatolia(Cappadoccia )and northeastern Anatolia (Erzinjan, Erzerum, Kars, and Ardahan). The Istanbul Greeks are the remnants of the estimated 200,000 Greeks who were permitted under the provisions of the Treaty of Lausanne to remain in Turkey following the 1923 population exchange, which involved the forcible resettlement of approximately 1.5 million Greeks from Anatolia and East Thrace and of half a million Turks from all of Greece except for Western Thrace. After years of persecution (e.g. the Varlık Vergisi and the Istanbul Pogrom), emigration of ethnic Greeks from the Istanbul region greatly accelerated, reducing the 120,000-strong Greek minority to about 7,000 by 1978. The 2008 figures released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry places the current number of Turkish citizens of Greek descent at the 2,000–3,000 mark. According to Milliyet there are 15,000 Greeks in Turkey, while according to Human Rights Watch the Greek population in Turkey was estimated at 2,500 in 2006.
Most Laz today live in Turkey but the Laz minority group has no official status in Turkey. Their number today is estimated to be around 250,000
and 500.000 Lazes are Sunni Muslims. Only a minority are bilingual in Turkish and their native Laz language which belongs to the South Caucasian group. The number of the Laz speakers is decreasing, and is now limited chiefly to the Rize and Artvin areas. The historical term Lazistan — formerly referring to a narrow tract of land along the Black Sea inhabited by the Laz as well as by several other ethnic groups — has been banned from official use and replaced with Doğu Karadeniz (which also includes Trabzon). During the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, the Muslim population of Russia near the war zones was subjected to ethnic cleansing; many Lazes living in Batum fled to the Ottoman Empire, settling along the southern Black Sea coast to the east of Samsun.
Roma people 
The Roma in Turkey descend from the times of the Byzantine Empire. According to some reports, there are about 500,000-700,000 Roma in Turkey. The neighborhood of Sulukule, located in Western Istanbul, is the oldest Roma settlement in Europe.
Languages spoken 
1965 census 
|Language||Mother tongue||Only language spoken||Second best language spoken|
|Province / Language||Turkish||Kurdish||Arabic||Zazaki||Circassian||Greek||Georgian||Armenian||Laz||Pomak||Bosnian||Albanian||Jewish|
|Adana (incl. Osmaniye)||866,316||7,581||22,356||332||51||51||0||28||9||0||312||483||29|
|Bolu (inclu. Düzce)||375,786||363||0||0||1,593||3||1,541||488||1,791||0||40||6||1|
|Çankırı (incl. Karabük)||250,510||158||1||0||0||1||0||3||2||0||0||0||0|
|Gümüşhane (incl. Bayburt)||260,419||2,189||0||0||91||0||0||0||17||0||0||0||0|
|Kars (incl. Ardahan & Iğdır)||471,287||133,144||61||992||215||6||8||5||24||1||5||4||1|
|Kastamonu (incl. Düzce)||439,355||1,090||2||0||3||2||180||849||1||0||0||0||0|
|Konya (incl. Karaman)||1,092,819||27,811||67||4||1,139||3||7||1||5||1||11||75||0|
|Siirt (incl. Batman & Şırnak)||46,722||179,023||38,273||484||1||0||15||98||3||0||10||0||0|
|Zonguldak (incl. Bartın & Karabük)||649,757||43||26||0||5||17||2||3||15||0||1||1||1|
The concept of "minorities" has only been accepted by the Republic of Turkey as defined by the Treaty of Lausanne of 1924 and thence strictly limited to Greeks, Jews and Armenians, only on religious matters, excluding from the scope of the concept the ethnic identities of these minorities as of others such as the Kurds who make up 15% of the country; others include Assyrians/Syriacs of various Christian denominations, Alevis and all the others.
There are many reports from sources such as (Human Rights Watch, European Parliament, European Commission, national parliaments in EU member states, Amnesty International etc.) on persistent yet declining discrimination.
Certain current trends are:
- Turkish imams get salaries from the state (like Greek Orthodox clerics in Greece), whereas Turkish Alevi as well as non-Orthodox and non-Armenian clerics are not paid
- Imams can be trained freely at the numerous religious schools and theology departments of universities throughout the country; minority religions can not re-open schools for training of their local clerics due to legislation and international treaties dating back to the end of Turkish War of Independence. The closing of the Theological School of Halki is a sore bone of contention between Turkey and the Eastern Orthodox world;
- The Turkish state sends out paid imams, working under authority from the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı) to various European or Asian countries with Turkish- or Turkic-speaking populations, with as local heads officials from the Turkish consulates;
- Turkey has recently engaged in promulgating a series of legal enactments aiming at removal of the procedural hurdles before the use of several local languages spoken by Turkish citizens such as Kurdish (Kurmanji), Arabic and Zaza as medium of public communication, together with several other smaller ethnic group languages. A few private Kurdish teaching centers have recently been allowed to open. Kurdish-language TV broadcasts on 7/24 basis at the public frequency denominated in the government-owned TRT 6, while the private national channels show no interest yet. However there are already several satellite Kurdish TV stations operating from Kurdish Autonomous Region at Northern Iraq and Western Europe, broadcasting in Kurdish, Turkish and Neo-Aramaic languages, Kurdistan TV, KurdSAT, etc.;
- Non-Muslim minority numbers are said to be falling rapidly, mainly as a result of aging, migration (to Israel, Greece, the United States and Western Europe).
- There is concern over the future of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, which suffers from a lack of trained clergy due to the closure of the Halki school. The state does not recognise the Ecumenical status of the Patriarch of Constantinople.
According to figures released by the Foreign Ministry in December 2008, there are 89,000 Turkish citizens designated as belonging to a minority, two thirds of Armenian descent.
CIA World Factbook demographic statistics 
The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook:
0-14 years: 26.6% (male 10,707,793/female 10,226,999)
15-64 years: 67.1% (male 26,741,332/female 26,162,757)
65 years and over: 6.3% (male 2,259,422/female 2,687,245) (2011 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15–64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2010 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 72.5 years
male: 70.61 years
female: 74.49 years (2011 est.)
17.58 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)
6.1 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)
Net migration rate
0.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)
Population growth rate
1.197% (2012 est.)
Total fertility rate
2.13 children born/woman (2012 est.)
urban population: 70% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 1.7% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Turkish 70-75%, Kurdish 18%, others 5-12% (2008 est.)
Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews)
Turkish (official), Kurdish, other minority languages
definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 87.4%
female: 79.6% (2004 est.)
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- (Meeker 1971: 323)
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