South Aegean: The only region in Greece that recorded a population increase

Lindos Rhodes Greek flag South Aegean

The only one of the 13 administrative regions of Greece which shows a population increase is the South Aegean. This remarkable finding is highlighted by the provisional results of the Population-Housing Census 2021, which ELSTAT published on July 19.

While as a whole the country’s population decreased by 3.5% (from 10,816,286 people in 2011, to 10,432 .481 in 2021), permanent residents of the South Aegean Region increased by 5% between the two censuses.

The reasons for the opposite direction followed by this particular department compared to the negative trend which is overwhelmingly dominant in the rest of Greece are not easy to determine – at least not at this stage and while ELSTAT is still processing the census data.

However, with every reservation, one could assume that the positive percentages reflect the increase in the population of island regions of the Aegean, in direct relation to their tourism development in recent years.

In this light, the statistical picture of Kalymnos with an increase of registered permanent residents by 6.6%, and Karpathos and Kasos with +4.5%, is interpreted as particularly auspicious.

The paradox of the exception to the general rule of population shrinkage is further intensified if a more detailed description of the individual parts of the South Aegean Region is taken into account.

The South Aegean region consists of islands of both the Cyclades and the Dodecanes, specifically Andros, Thira, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Keas-Kythnos, Kos, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Rhodes, Syros and Tinos.

ELSTAT data show that not all administrative units contribute equally to the total +5% of the South Aegean Region.

On the contrary, the statistics highlight strong imbalances, such as the increase of 7.8% in the population of the Regional Unit of Rhodes (the largest in the South Aegean), in complete contrast to the decrease of permanent residents in the Unit of Andros by 3.7%.

In detail, the variations of the individual Units that make up the South Aegean Region during the decade between the last two censuses are as follows:

  • Kos +10.6% (38,029 inhabitants in 2021)
  • Rhodes +7.8% (129,151)
  • Kalymnos +6.6% (31,382)
  • Karpathos-Iroiki Kasos +4.5% (7,640)
  • Naxos +4.3% (21,777)
  • Paros +4.2% (15,554)
  • Milos +0.9 % (10,023)
  • Thira +0.7% (19,013)
  • Tinos -0.3% (8,611)
  • Keas-Kythnos -0.6% (3,886)
  • Syros -3.3% (20,791)
  • Mykonos -3 .3% (9,802)
  • Andros -3.7% (8,883).

In absolute numbers, the population increase in the South Aegean Region corresponds to 15,527 people. And regarding the ratio between the two sexes, of the current 324,542 permanent residents of the Region, 162,576 are men (50.1%) and 161,966 are women (49.9%).

More generally, the ranking of the country’s 13 Regions are based on the findings of the latest census, from the top in population decline to the bottom (or the positive “champion”), is as follows:

1 Western Macedonia -10.1% (255,056 permanent residents)

2 Central Greece -7.7% (505,269)

3 Eastern Macedonia and Thrace -7.6% (562,069)

4 Peloponnese -6.8% (538,366)

5 Thessaly -6.2% (687,527)

6 Western Greece -5 .4% (643,349)

7 Epirus -5.1% (319,543)

8 Central Macedonia -4.8% (1,792,069)

9 Ionian Islands -3.4% (200,726)

10 Northern Aegean -2.6% (194,136 )

11 Attica -0.9% (3,792,469)

12 Crete -0.9% (617,360)

13 South Aegean +5.0% (324,542)

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1 Comment
  1. There is no way Kalymnos has 31,382 residents. We estimate around 12.000. It obviously has 31.382 people registered as living there but 20.000 of them live somewhere else. So not sure what the census figures represent…?

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