Population growth: comparing Turkey to neighbour states

Today our comparing population growth series continues. This time we compare Turkey to several of its neighbouring states: Greece, Georgia, Armenia and Iran.

If ever again [1;2] you hear anyone say ‘demography is economic development,’ point to this graph:

Population growth Turkey, Iran, Greece, Georgia and Armenia

[The graph shows combined population growth curves for Turkey (green), Iran (blue), Greece (Bordeaux red), Georgia (orange red), Armenia (dark blue). Custom image is derived from the UN World Population Prospects 2010 Revision.]

Population ‘growth’ rates

Georgia is one of 16 countries in the world that actually have a declining population [including big ones like Germany (no matter 2.5+ million Turkish immigrants) and Russia]. In fact the country ranks third, after Moldova and Bulgaria [hmm… makes us wonder why we forgot to include that country as yet another neighbour to Turkey, with very different demographical statistics. But perhaps we made our point anyway?] Presently the Georgian population declines with 0.6 percent each year.

Armenia has a small annual population growth of 0.2 percent and Greece of 0.3. Meanwhile the population of Iran grows by 1.2 percent each year and that of Turkey by 1.3. And adding that one percent can make a huge difference over the decades, as shown above.


Although Iran’s and Turkey’s demographic developments are closely linked and both show considerable growth in the 20th and 21st century, Iran’s population* is forecast to stabilise over the coming decades, whereas Turkey has an almost unchanged annual population increase between 1950 and 2030.

[*) The fertility number in Iran has recently declined to the very modern value of 1.77 children per woman, placing it right in between Belgium (1.79) and the Netherlands (1.74). The reason Iran’s population is still on a steady climb is because the fertility number has only just recently dropped. This means the population is young still and the population pyramid is still concave shaped, as in Turkey – a large bump of people that will reach reproductive ages over the coming decades. Western countries (like Belgium and the Netherlands) have ageing populations so there the mortality is higher. In countries like Iran and Turkey the crude death rate is much lower - hence the population keeps growing.]

© Rolf Schuttenhelm | www.bitsofscience.org

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