Census shows population decline

Greece?s population has shrunk by more than 1 percent over the last 10 years, according to the preliminary results from the census carried out earlier this year, thereby bucking the trend of the last few decades.

Officials from the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said that the first count of the figures collected indicate that Greece?s population is 10,787,690 (49.2 percent men and 50.8 percent women) compared to 10,934,097 in 2001, when the last census was carried out. This is a decline of 1.34 percent.

Greece has an aging population, which has put a strain on its social security system. This has been somewhat counterbalanced by the influx of immigrants into Greece since the early 1990s.

ELSTAT officials said they were not yet able to explain the apparent drop in population as the statistics which have been gathered have not been examined in detail yet.

However, the preliminary statistics indicate that Attica is by far Greece?s most populous region. It is home to 35.45 percent of the country?s inhabitants, or just over 3.8 million people. It is followed by Central Macedonia, where 17.38 percent of Greece?s population lives. Thessaly houses 6.77 percent and Western Greece 6.31 percent. The least populous areas are the Northern Aegean (1.83 percent) and the Ionian Islands (1.91 percent).

The biggest decline in population was recorded in Western Greece, which was home to 721,541 people 10 years ago but where 680,190 live now. The Southern Aegean was one of the few areas to see a rise in the number of inhabitants, up from 298,462 in 2001 to 308,610 this year.

The most densely populated part of Greece is the neighborhood of Kallithea in southern Athens, with 21,067 residents per square kilometer. It is followed by Nea Smyrni, also south of the city center, where there are 20,740 people for each square kilometer. The most sparsely populated area is Prespes in northern Greece, where on average only 3.05 people live in each square kilometer of the lake district.