DEMOGRAPHIS

Greek population in decline, migrant inflows also drop

Greek population in decline, migrant inflows also drop

Greece’s population declined by 39,933 in 2020, as births continued to trail deaths and incoming migration dropped, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said in a recent report.

ELSTAT’s data are based on the national statistics service’s estimates of the country’s population on January 1, 2021, which are, in turn, based on the findings of the 2011 census and not the one conducted in December 2021 and January 2022.

According to its recent report, ELSTAT puts the number of permanent residents in Greece on January 1, 2021, at 10,678,632, of which 5,196,048 (48.66%) were male and 5,482,584 (51.34%) female. This was a drop of 0.37% compared to the 10,718,565 people estimated to be living in the country a year earlier. The contraction is attributed to a natural decline of 45,902 people (84,767 births versus 130,669 deaths), which was only partially mitigated by a positive net inflow of 6,384 migrants, ELSTAT notes.

Those aged 0-14 comprised 14.1% of the population; 63.3% were aged 15-64 and 22.6% were over 65. Children and teenagers (ages 0-19) were estimated at 2,059,036, while there were 13,451 centenarians.

Grouped in five-year cohorts, those aged 50-54 comprised the largest, with 807,051 members. There were 139,296 permanent residents aged over 90, of which 79,721 (57.23%) were women and 59,575 (42.77%) men.

When looking at the regional distribution of the population, Attica, which includes the capital Athens, was the most populated, containing 35% of the total. It was followed by Central Macedonia (17.4%), Thessaly (6.6%), Western Greece (6.1%), Crete (6%), Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (5.6%), the Peloponnese (5.3%), Central Greece (5.2%), the Southern Aegean (3.3%), Epirus (3.1%), Western Macedonia (2.5%), the Northern Aegean (2.1%) and the Ionian Islands (1.9%).

Net migrant inflows, meanwhile, plummeted 81.5% from 34,439 in 2019 to 6,384 in 2020. In 2010-14, net migrant inflows had been negative; 2015 was the year of the big refugee crisis, which continued, to a much lesser extent, in 2016-18. Despite the large numbers of arrivals, however, net inflows, although positive, remained surprisingly low. This was due to the large number of migrants departing for other European Union countries in 2015, before a series of measures discouraging migration reduced the outflows to a trickle, but also to the significant migration of Greeks (the “brain drain”) from a country in the throes of a financial crisis.