Turkey marks least population growth of decade in 2023 

Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) published the Turkish census data and reported the country’s population as 85.3 million as of Dec. 31, 2023. Census data revealed the smallest increase and the slowest population growth rate of the decade, raising questions about the effect of the Feb. 6 quakes.  

Duvar English

Turkey’s Statistics Authority (TÜİK) on Feb. 6 reported that Turkey's population grew by 92,824 people in the past year and reached 85,372,377, marking the least population growth of the decade.

The 2023 population increased by less than one-fifth of what it increased in 2022. The 0,0071 population growth rate also dropped to 0,0011, marking around a seven-fold decrease. 

The increase in the number of population in the previous decade surpassed 2023 by a long shot. 

In six years of the past decade, the population increased by more than one million people. The lowest increase before 2023 occurred in 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 459,300 people. 

TÜİK data shows the total population (blue) and population growth rate (red) since 2007.

On social media, the stunted growth was attributed to the Feb. 6 earthquakes. Compared to the 2022 census, over a 500,000-person discrepancy was observed. The recently updated official numbers put the death toll of earthquakes at 53,500. 

Whether the decrease in population growth can solely be attributed to earthquake deaths remains unclear, as the government report did not include an analysis. 

In the provinces gravely affected by the Feb. 6 earthquakes, Hatay, Malatya, Kahramanmaraş, Adıyaman, and Gaziantep, the total population decrease was 312,350. The population decrease in the hardest hit Hatay province alone was 141,403 people. 

In addition to the deaths, many survivors in the quake region relocated to surrounding provinces or big cities, contributing to the population decrease. 

According to the census, 50.1 percent of Turkish citizens were male, and 49.9 were female.

The number of foreign nationals residing in Turkey dropped by over 250.000 in 2023. Additionally, the urban population rate slightly decreased to 93% from 93,4% of the previous year. 

The most populated provinces remained the same in 2023, although Istanbul's population dropped by 252,000 people. The capital Ankara, Aegean İzmir, and Marmara Bursa provinces followed İstanbul. 

Turkey’s median age increased by half an age to 34 in 2023. The median age is an important indicator to determine whether a population is aging.