By Elias Hazou
Just over 2,000 Cypriots emigrated last year compared to around 3,500 in 2013 and some 1,000 in 2012, according to the recently released demographic report.
Negative net migration and a virtually unchanged but relatively low birth rate were the two drivers behind a slight decline in the population in 2014 a detailed look at the report showed.
As of 2012, net migration has been negative, starting from -629 in 2012, -12,100 in 2013 and reaching -15,000 in 2014. From 1983 to 2011, net migration in Cyprus had been positive.
Long-term immigrants (Cypriots and foreigners arriving for settlement or for temporary employment for 1 year or more) came to 9,154 in 2014, compared to 13,149 in 2013.
The number of emigrants (Cypriots and foreigners who had resided in Cyprus for at least one year) was estimated at 24,154 in 2014 compared to 25,227 in 2013.
A breakdown by nationality shows that of the 24,154 people who left the island, only 2,106 were Cypriots. The majority of emigrants were non-EU nationals (14,947), followed by EU nationals (7,101).
During 2013, the year of the financial meltdown, the number of Cypriots emigrating was far higher, at 3,579. In 2012, the number of Cypriot emigrants was 1,050.
However, safe conclusions regarding an en masse flight of Cypriots cannot be drawn, as it was only in 2010 that the Statistical Service began keeping records of emigrants by nationality.
According to the report, the population in the government- controlled areas was estimated at 847,000 at the end of 2014, compared to 858,000 at the end of the previous year, a dip of 1.3 per cent.
In 2014 the number of births decreased to 9,258 from 9,341 the year before, giving a ‘crude birth rate’ of 10.9 per thousand population, compared to 10.8 in 2013 and 11.8 in 2012.
The crude birth rate is defined as the number of live births per 1,000 people per year.
The total fertility rate, which describes reproductive behaviour unaffected by changes in the age composition of the population, remained fairly low during the past few years.
However, the total fertility rate for 2014 increased to 1.31 from 1.30 in 2013. The rate has gradually decreased from its local peak of 2.46 in the 1982-1985 period.
Since 1995 the total fertility rate remains below the replacement level of 2.10. Replacement level fertility is the total fertility rate – the average number of children born per woman – at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, without migration.
The number of deaths in the government-controlled areas reached 5,250; the corresponding crude death rate stood at 6.2 deaths per thousand population.
Infant mortality was estimated at 1.4 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. In 2014, life expectancy at birth was estimated at 80.7 years for males and 84.5 for females, compared to 80.0 years for males and 84.8 for females in 2013.
The total number of marriages in 2014 fell to 12,404 from 12,683 the year prior. According to the Statistical Service, “in the last few years a large number of foreigners who married in Cyprus by civil marriage were not residing in Cyprus.”
Out of 8,698 civil marriages celebrated in 2014 only 1,672 were civil marriages of residents of Cyprus.
Thus the total number of marriages of residents totalled 5,378 and the crude marriage rate for residents was calculated at 6.3 per thousand population.
In 2014 the number of ecclesiastical marriages increased to 3,706 from 3,652 in 2013.
The total number of divorces was 1,884, with the crude divorce rate calculated at 2.21 per thousand.
The research found that Cyprus has one of the lowest proportions of extra-marital births in Europe and fertility is mainly marital fertility. In 2014 only 1,426 children were born out of wedlock constituting a proportion of 15.4 per cent of the total number of births.