Demographics of Greece
Greece was inhabited as early as the Paleolithic period and by 3000 BC had become home, in the Cycladic Islands, to a culture whose art remains among the most evocative in world history. Early in the 2nd millennium BC, the island of Crete nurtured the sophisticated maritime empire of the Minoans, whose trade reached from Egypt to Sicily. The Minoans were challenged and eventually supplanted by the Mycenaeans of the Greek mainland, who spoke a dialect of ancient Greek.
Initially, Greece's mosaic of small city-states were considered to be ethnically similar. During the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires (1st century-19th century), Greece's ethnic composition became more diverse, incorporating a variety of migrant from neighboring regions and members of the various powers that occupied Greece over the centuries. The country's ethnic diversity was somewhat reduced during population exchanges in the 20th century, but minor minority populations still exist.
Greek education is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 15. English language study is compulsory from 5th grade through high school. University education, including books, is also free, contingent upon the student's ability to meet stiff entrance requirements. Recent statistics indicate progressively poorer results in the annual entrance examinations. Low salaries and status of teachers; lack of books, supplies, labs, and computers; frequent strikes; and continuing reliance on rote memorization methods are all matters of concern for Greek educators.
A high percentage of the student population seeks higher education. About 100,000 students are registered at Greek universities, and 15% of the population currently holds a university degree. Entrance to a university is determined by state-administered exams, the candidate's grade-point average from high school, and his/her priority choices of major. About one in four candidates gains admission to Greek universities.
Since Greek law does not permit the operation of private universities in Greece, a large and growing number of students are pursuing higher education abroad. The Greek Government decides through an evaluation procedure whether to recognize degrees from specific foreign universities as qualification for public sector hiring. Other students attend private, post-secondary educational institutions in Greece that are not recognized by the Greek Government.
The number of Greek students studying at European institutions is increasing along with EU support for educational exchange. In addition, nearly 5,000 Greeks are studying in the United States, about half of whom are in graduate school. Greek per capita student representation in the U.S. is the highest of any European country.
Religion Groups in Greece
Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion in Greece. During the centuries of Ottoman domination, the Greek Orthodox Church preserved Greek language, values, and national identity and was an important rallying point in the struggle for independence. There is a Muslim minority concentrated in Thrace. Other religious communities in Greece include Catholics, Jews, Old Calendar Orthodox, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Protestants.
Minority Ethnic and Linguistic Groups
In a survey conducted by the VPRC Institute in 2001 the following results were recorded:
- 3.3% Arvanitic speakers
- 2.2% Turkish speakers
- 2.0% Aromanian speakers
- 1.4% Italian speakers
- 0.7% Russian speakers
- 0.6% Macedonian Slavic speakers
- 0.6% Roma speakers
The survey mentioned that most of the respondants were using Greek language in everyday life.
Population: 10,964,020 (2001 Census)
0-14 years: 15% (male 828,585; female 779,902)
15-64 years: 67% (male 3,580,079; female 3,574,788)
65 years and over: 18% (male 815,247; female 1,022,926) (2000 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.21% (2000 est.)
Birth rate: 9.82 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Death rate: 9.64 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Net migration rate: 1.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2000 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 6.51 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.44 years
male: 75.89 years
female: 81.16 years (2000 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.33 children born/woman (2000 est.)
Greek 98%, other 2%
note: the Greek Government states there are no ethnic divisions in Greece
Religions: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
Languages: Greek 99% (official), English, French
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95%
female: 93% (1991 est.)