26 Mart 2019


  • The population of Turkey became 82 million 3 thousand 882 people as of December 31, 2018. In 2018, the population of Turkey increased by 1 million 193 thousand 357 people compared to 2017. Male population was 41 million 139 thousand 980 people and female population was 40 million 863 thousand 902 people. While 50.2% of the total population were males, 49.8% of the total population were females.
  • Annual population growth rate of Turkey was 14.7 per mille. This value was 4‰ in 2017.
  • In 2018, the urban population was 92.3% while the rural population turned out to be 7.7%. The urban population was 92.5% in 2017.
  • The median age in the country increased from 31.7 in 2017 to 32 in 2018. While the median age was 31.4 for male population, it was 32.7 for females.
  • In 2018, the population in 15-64 years of age, known as working age group, increased by 1.4% compared to the previous year. Accordingly, the proportion of working age group became 67.8%, the proportion of children aged 0-14 became 23.4% and the proportion of population aged 65 and above became 8.8%.
  • The population density in Turkey increased by 2 persons compared to 2017, reaching 107. Istanbul is the city where the population density is the highest thanks to 2 thousand 900 persons per square kilometre. Istanbul is followed by Kocaeli with 528 persons and İzmir with 360 persons respectively. Tunceli remained as the city with the lowest population density as in the previous year thanks to 12 persons per square kilometre.

This section is paraphrased from “2018 ABPRS Press Release” announced by TURKSTAT.

Turkey has a population of 82,300,882 as of December 2018. This essay shall deal with the results of the census as well as opinions about demographic indicators.

Currently, population census is seriously conducted by the governmental authorities in Turkey in order not to cast doubt on the findings in any manner. In that respect, it is not possible to argue that some of the census data might be incomplete or incorrect as opposed to the census data pertaining to previous years.


The distribution of population in Turkey is marked with a number of significant trends. In that respect, the north western part of Turkey is actually home to 70% and more of the population. A great majority of the population resides in İstanbul, Ankara, Bursa, Kocaeli, Yalova and Tekirdağ.

The population density tends to decline in inland parts of the country when compared to the coastal areas. In other words, the second factor in terms of population density turns out to be the coasts in Turkey.

Year Population Population increase rate Population density Median age
2014 77.695.904 13.3 101 30.7
2015 78.741.053 13.4 102 31
2016 79.814.871 13.5 104 31.4
2017 80.810.525 12.4 105 31.7
2018 82.003.882 14.7 107 32

Some of the fundamental demographic aspects of population in Turkey in 2018

The number of people per km², which is also known as population density, increased to 107 ü-in Turkey. Given the fact that the number of people per km² was 100 in 2013, the population density gradually increases in the country. In Turkey, the majority of the population lives in Istanbul and at its periphery, known as North Western Anatolia. This can be clearly understood from the population density in Istanbul which is 5600 people per km².



The chart provided above summarizes the population in Turkey from 1927 to 2023 along with the potential changes in the rate of population increase. According to this projection, it was anticipated that the total population would become 82.3 million in 2023 whereas the population has reached actually 82.3 million as of 2019.    

The recent evolution of regional distribution of population is fundamentally same as the previous periods. In that respect, the population is condensed in coastal zones and north western part of the country, especially around Marmara Sea. 15,067,724 people reside in Istanbul. In other words, 18.4% of the population lives in Istanbul which has the highest population density in Turkey thanks to 2,900 people per square kilometre. This is followed by Kocaeli with 528 people per km² and İzmir with 360 people per km². The city with the lowest population density is Tunceli with 12 people per km².

Distribution of population in narrow age cohort according to age and gender in Turkey

A number of findings can be derived from the review of the pyramid indicating the age and gender distribution of the population in Turkey in 2018. Although the pyramid reflects the demographic characteristics of an underdeveloped country up to the age group of 35-39, it is marked with significant changes as from this group. In that sense, the number of people joining the population every 4 years after the age level of 35-39 is more or less the same. This is a clear indication of the fact that the population increase rate is not marked with any increase. Still, there is a significant increase in the total population of the country. A review into the population trends in Turkey for the last 40 years could lead to the conclusion that the population increase rate shall not be marked with any change for a long period hereafter. Hence, the current population pyramid does not accord with any type of the characteristic population pyramids classified previously. Accordingly, it is not possible to name the population pyramid such as triangle, bell curve or diamond shape in Turkey.

Census Year Urban Population Rate Rural Population Rate
2014 91.8 8.2
2015 92.1 7.9
2015 92.3 7.7
2017 92.5 7.5
2018 92.3 7.7

The rural-urban migration, one of the most characteristic features of population in Turkey, gained pace in 1950s and seriously increased until now. The population increase in the metropolitan cities in the north western part of the country has resulted in a great number of serious problems. The pressure created by the population in metropolitan areas leads to a large scale cultural shock, socioeconomic problems and inadequacies in governmental services. The housing problem resulting from this trend has been resolved thanks to the development of construction industry in the country. In that respect, it could be argued that new “apartment type shanty settlements” shall be created as part of urban transformation projects to be implemented for resolving housing problems beginning from 2018.

Census Year Median Age
2014 30.7
2015 31
2015 31.4
2017 31.7
2018 32

One of the outstanding findings of 2018 census is that median age has reached 32. This median age value clearly indicates the current position of Turkey in terms of development level. The fact that median age is 32 is a concrete result of the prolongation of lifetime and the increase in life quality.

Country Median Age
Japan 46.9
Germany 46.8
Greece 44.2
Finland 42.4
Tunisia 32.4
Argentina 31.5


All of the existing data imply that “the population doubling time is 50 years in Turkey”. In that respect, Turkey could be defined as a “developing country which has made progress”. Turkey shall be marked with more or less similar demographic features with the developed western societies in near future.


The population increasingly tends to move to the western and north western regions of the country. It could be argued that ¼ of the total population shall live in Istanbul in near future if this trend remains the same. This means that more than 90% of the population shall be concentrated in North Western Anatolia around 20 years later.

In 2018, the urban population was 92.3% while the rural population turned out to be 7.7%” in Turkey. This indicates that the rural-urban migration persists without losing pace, let alone getting slower in the country. It is inferred from those figures that the urban population shall increase to 97% in Turkey in near future. The rural-urban migration shall continue without losing pace because of the population mobility shall be fuelled through:

  • Inefficiency of agricultural policies;
  • Abandonment of social state concept;
  • Inadequate and irregular distribution of education and healthcare services in the country;
  • Decrease in the economic value of agriculture; and
  • Failure to ensure fair distribution the increase in income per capita to the society.

[i] Yazının çevirisi Mina HAVUTÇU tarafından yapılmıştır. Kendisine teşekkür ederim, Doğu ATEŞ.

Translated by Mina HAVUTÇU.

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