Migrants to reach 3.5 mln by 2015

By 2015, non-Greeks will account for 25 percent of the country’s population, according to data made public by the government yesterday. A survey by the Athens Panteion University found that there will be 14.2 million people living in Greece in 12 years’ time, 3.5 million of which will be non-Greeks. The country already has the highest number of immigrants as a percentage of the total population (7-7.5 percent) among all EU members – with the exception of Luxembourg – and the highest percentage of illegal immigrants. The survey’s results were made public during a press conference by Deputy Interior Minister Lambros Papadimas, called to present the government’s 260-million-euro operational plan for migration, which, over the next three years, aims to integrate newcomers into Greek society while improving health and education services available to immigrants. According to census figures, the number of non-Greeks living in Greece has rocketed from 176,119 in 1981 to 797,093 in 2001. The Panteion survey found that the Greek population increased in 1999 by 18,000, 14,000 of whom were immigrants. And out of the 100,000 babies born every year, some 15,000 belonged to immigrant families. Some 66 percent of the immigrants in Greece are males, while the largest national group are the Albanians (65 percent). Some 37 percent are primary school leavers, 49 percent have finished secondary school and nearly 9 percent are university graduates.

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