Cyprus Mail

Shifting sands as population falls

By Evie Andreou and Eleni Courea

THE population in the government controlled areas decreased by almost 1.0 per cent last year according to the statistical services’ demographic report for 2013.
The report gives an account of population developments and provides data on fertility, mortality, marriages, divorces and migration.

According to the report, the population in the government-controlled areas was estimated at 858,000 at the end of 2013 compared to 865,900 in the previous year, recording a decrease of 0.9 per cent.

Births have also decreased. The report shows 9,341 births in 2013, compared to 10,161 in 2012, and the fertility rate, which gives the mean number of children per woman, was estimated at 1.3 in 2013 and has, since 1995, remained below the replacement level of 2.1.

Life expectancy at birth is estimated at 80 years for males and 84.8 for females, while the mortality rate is 6.0 deaths per thousand.

Marriages have also decreased with last year showing 235 fewer than 2012. The report also showed the number of civil marriages was almost three times more than church weddings.
A slight decrease has also been recorded in divorces. Last year 1,857 divorces were recorded, down from 2,036 in 2012.

The total divorce rate, which shows the proportion of marriages that are expected to end up in divorce, rose to 295.0 per thousand marriages in 2013, up from 41.6 per thousand in 1980.

The number of emigrants from Cyprus increased significantly to 25,227 in 2013, up from 18,105 in 2012. Simultaneously, the number of long-term immigrants – Cypriots or foreigners arriving in Cyprus for settlement or temporary employment for 1 year or more – was at 13,149 in 2013, down from 17,476 in 2012.

The report notes that, while net migration has been positive throughout the last decade, with more people moving into Cyprus than moving out, in 2012 and 2013 this pattern was reversed, and net migration decreased to -629 and -12,078 respectively.

The report also offers an insight into Cyprus’ demographics when compared to other European Union countries. Cypriots account for 0.2% of the total population of the EU. This gives Cyprus the third smallest population in the European Union, behind Malta and Luxembourg.

Despite the reported drop in fertility and signs of an increasingly ageing population, however, Cyprus does have a more youthful population than the European average. The proportion of people over the age of 65 is among the lowest, while the proportion of children below 15 is among the highest.

The rate of natural population increase (which does not include immigration) in Cyprus is the second largest behind Ireland. However, the total fertility rate of Cyprus is now below the EU average.

The crude marriage rate remains one of the highest in the European Union, while the crude divorce rate is near the European Union average.

Finally, the report also gives an estimate of the population of the whole of Cyprus, including the occupied areas. Out of a total of 949,000 people living in Cyprus at the end of 2013, 72.8 per cent were estimated to be Greek Cypriot, 9.6 per cent Turkish Cypriot, and 17.6 per cent were foreign residents.

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