Cyprus Population and Language
Cyprus has two dominant ethnic groups: the Greek Cypriots, which make up about 80 percent of the population, and the Turkish Cypriots, which constitute just over a tenth. Since the island’s division in 1974, Greek and Turkish Cypriots have lived separately in each country’s end.
When Cyprus became independent in 1960, the Christian Greek Cypriots and the Muslim Turkish Cypriots lived fairly evenly throughout the island. Cities and villages usually had a mixed population. The unrest in the 1960s led the two groups to move apart and settle in separate enclaves.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of Cyprus, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.
The actual partition of Cyprus followed a Turkish invasion in 1974. At least 180,000 Greek Cypriots fled south as Turkey occupied northern Cyprus; only a few thousand remained in the north. At the same time, some 60,000 Turkish Cypriots floated north; almost no Turkish Cypriots remained in southern Cyprus.
Immigration and emigration
The last census covering all the residents was carried out in 1973. The Greek Cypriots then constituted, in round numbers, four fifths of the country’s population and the Turkish Cypriots one fifth. Probably, the distribution between Greek and Turkish speakers has not undergone any dramatic change since then. However, many Turkish Cypriots, perhaps a third, have emigrated, especially to the UK. Instead, perhaps 100,000 immigrants (the exact figure is unknown) have come to Northern Cyprus from Turkey; most came in 1975 and 1976. Greek Cypriot authorities regard these immigrants as illegal and disregard them in their population statistics, which also omit Turkish soldiers in northern Cyprus.
At a census in the south of 2001, 690,000 residents were registered on that part of the island. At the same time, Greek Cypriot authorities estimated that the number of residents in the north was 88,000 (excluding Turkish immigrants), while Turkish Cypriot authorities estimated that Northern Cyprus had 211,000 residents (including Turkish immigrants). UN Population Fund UNFPA estimated the entire population of Cyprus in 2008 to be 864,000 people.
A census in 2011 indicated the number of residents in the Greek part of the island at just under 839,000. The rapid increase over the last ten years was mainly explained by an increase in immigration. More than 21 percent of the population were described as foreigners. At about the same time, a census was carried out in the Turkish part, according to which there were almost 295,000 people living there. However, the task was strongly questioned, as most had expected a significantly higher figure and suspected that the local authorities wanted to reduce the move in from Turkey.
Official estimates from 2013 claimed that the Greek Cypriot portion had 858,000 residents.
Among smaller people groups are Armenians and Maronites. Since both of these groups are Christians, when Cyprus became independent, they chose to be considered Greek Cypriots in political contexts.
Greek and Turkish are state languages in each part of Cyprus. English has retained its importance as a language of access and is also often used as a management language.
FACTS – POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
Greek Cypriots about 77%, Turkish Cypriots about 18%, other 5%
Number of residents
1 179 551 (2017)
Number of residents per square kilometer
Percentage of residents in the cities
66.8 percent (2017)
Nativity / birth
10.8 per 1000 residents (2016)
Mortality / mortality
6.9 per 1000 residents (2016)
0.8 percent (2017)
1.3 number of births per woman (2016)
Percentage of women
49.9 percent (2017)
81 years (2016)
Life expectancy for women
83 years (2016)
Life expectancy for men
78 years (2016)
Greek and Turkish are official languages in each part of the country
UBP politicians form government in the north
İrsen Küçük from UBP is commissioned by President Eroğlu to form a new Turkish Cypriot government. The continued negotiations during the year will be unsuccessful.
UBP candidate becomes president of the north
Derviş Eroğlu from UBP is elected Turkish Cypriot president with 50 percent of the vote, against 43 percent for Talat. The election results make negotiations on the island’s reunification more difficult.
Resolution against the guarantee powers
The Greek Cypriot parliament adopts a resolution to keep Cyprus’s guarantee powers – Greece, Turkey and the UK – out of the negotiation process. The decision is believed to be directed mainly at Turkey, which, in Greek Cypriot view, appeared as if the country had been a party to the negotiations.
Problems in the negotiations
A new round of negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots begins. According to leaked information, the Turkish Cypriots are launching new proposals that the Greek Cypriots describe as unacceptable. Christofias is said to argue that the Turkish government is behind the proposals.