Demographics of Turkey

Historical populations
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1927 13,554,000 —
1930 14,440,000 +2.13%
1940 17,728,000 +2.07%
1950 20,807,000 +1.61%
1960 27,506,000 +2.83%
1970 35,321,000 +2.53%
1980 44,439,000 +2.32%
1990 55,120,000 +2.18%
2000 64,252,000 +1.54%
2010 73,003,000 +1.29%
2012 75,627,000 +1.78%

According to the Address-Based Population Recording System of Turkey, the country’s population was 74.7 million people in 2011, nearly three-quarters of whom lived in towns and cities. According to the 2011 estimate, the population is increasing by 1.35 percent each year. Turkey has an average population density of 97 people per km². People within the 15–64 age group constitute 67.4 percent of the total population; the 0–14 age group corresponds to 25.3 percent; while senior citizens aged 65 years or older make up 7.3 percent. In 1927, when the first official census was recorded in the Republic of Turkey, the population was 13.6 million. The largest city in Turkey, Istanbul, is also the largest city in Europe in population, and the third-largest city in Europe in terms of size.

Areas in Turkey with a Kurdish-majority population.

Article 66 of the Turkish Constitution defines a “Turk” as “anyone who is bound to the Turkish state through the bond of citizenship”; therefore, the legal use of the term “Turkish” as a citizen of Turkey is different from the ethnic definition. However, the majority of the Turkish population are of Turkish ethnicity. They are estimated at 70–75 percent. Reliable data on the ethnic mix of the population is not available, because Turkish census figures do not include statistics on ethnicity. The three “Non-Muslim” minority groups officially recognised in the Treaty of Lausanne are Armenians, Greeks and Jews. Officially unrecognised ethnic groups include Albanians, Assyrians, Bosniaks, Circassians, Georgians, Lazs, Pomaks (Bulgarians), Roma. The Kurds are the largest non-Turkic ethnicity, around 18–25 percent of the population. Kurds are concentrated in the east and southeast of the country, in what is also known as Turkish Kurdistan, making up a majority in the provinces of Tunceli, Bingöl, Muş, Ağrı, Iğdır, Elâzığ, Diyarbakır, Batman, Şırnak, Bitlis, Van, Mardin, Siirt and Hakkari, a near majority in Şanlıurfa province (47%), and a large minority in Kars province (20%). In addition, due to internal migration, Kurdish communities exist in all major cities in central and western Turkey, particularly in Istanbul, where there are an estimated 3 million Kurds, making Istanbul the city with the largest Kurdish population in the world. The minorities besides the Kurds are thought to make up an estimated 7–12 percent of the population. Minorities other than the three officially recognised ones do not have any minority rights. The term “minority” itself remains a sensitive issue in Turkey, while the Turkish government is frequently criticised for its treatment of minorities. Although minorities are not recognised, state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) broadcasts television and radio programs in minority languages. Also, some minority language classes can be chosen in elementary schools.

An estimated 2.5 percent of the population are international migrants. Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees in the world, including more than 2.8 million Syrian refugees, as of January 2017.

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