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Greek Population Has Declined by Up to Half a Million in a Decade

Greek census
The Greek population is decreasing steadily in the past decade, the current census will show. Credit: Facebook / Maria Tsaliera

The census taking place in a few weeks will show that the Greek population of the country will be up to half a million fewer than at the time of the last census, conducted in 2011.

These are the showings of a study paper published by professors Vasilis Pappas and Vyronas Kotzamanis of the Patras and Thessaly universities, respectively. Greek population has been declining constantly after 2010.

Citing estimates published by Greek statistics agency ELSTAT concerning the nine years between 2011 to 2020, the paper notes that the population of permanent residents in Greece shrunk 3.7%, or 405,000 people.

The Greek population decline over the last decade is due to various factors. Chief amongst them is the 2009 financial crisis, which left people poorer and more uncertain about the future. All the more parents are hesitant about bringing a child into a world of global confusion and financial decline.

Greek population decrease, not evenly distributed

This population decrease, according to the study, was not evenly distributed in all areas of the country, though, with population increasing in 12 of the country’s 51 regional units.

The four regional units with a significant population increase (greater than 6%) were all islands, with reception centers for refugees and migrants (Dodecanese islands, Chios, Lesvos and Samos).

Of the remaining 39 regional units, eight saw a substantial decline in Greek population exceeding 7%. These were all remote mountainous areas in mainland Greece.

Negative births-to-deaths balance ratio

The balance of births to deaths ratio was net negative in the last nine years, by up to 223,000 on a nationwide basis.

Only six regional units showing a net positive ratio balance (Dodecanese islands, Cyclades islands, Xanthi, Chania, Heraklion and Rethymno), which in total did not exceed 12,000 people.

Of these, only four had a net increase of Greek population, as net negative migration led to a slight population decline in the Cyclades islands and Xanthi.

In one in three regional units on the mainland, both the births-to-deaths and migration ratio balances were net negative.

In 20 regional units, all on the Greek mainland, there was a positive migration balance. But this was not sufficient enough to offset the losses of the births-to-deaths ratio balance, thus leading to a shrinking population.

Population increased in eight areas

In eight areas, a net positive migration balance ratio was sufficiently large, as to offset losses from lower births to deaths, so that population in these areas increased.

Professor Kotzamanis said the change in Greek population in coming years will be largely determined by the migration balance ratio, since the births to deaths ratio is not expected to significantly change.

Consequently, he said, if the migration balance ratio on a national level changes from net negative to roughly zero (with as many people leaving Greece as those settling in the country), in 20 years time there will be roughly one million fewer people than there are at present.

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