Turkey’s population exceeds 75 million, acceleration declines

Turkey’s population exceeds 75 million, acceleration declines

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Eighteen percent of Turkey’s total population resides in Istanbul, which has over 13.8 million people living within its borders, according to the latest population figures announced by TÜİK.

Turkey’s population exceeded 75.6 million as of 2012 with a 0.12 percent increase from numbers seen a year earlier, according to data revealed by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) yesterday.

This increase rate was slower than the last year’s 13.5, which is a positive development to see unfold in one year, according to columnist Tarhan Erdem.

In the future this rate would be fixed at the 0.8 percent or 0.9 percent if the Turkish prime minister’s attempts to increase the birth rate do not succeed, Erdem, who also heads KONDA Research Company told the Hürriyet Daily News. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has previously called on Turks to have at least three children in order to prevent Turkey’s demographics from resembling that of developed European countries such as Germany. However, having more elderly is a result of higher life standards and an increase in the health sector and should not be seen as a negative development, Erdem said. The average age of the country increased to 30, with the working age group also increasing in numbers, according to official data. Erdem said this would necessitate taking measures such as increasing the age of retirement.

The decrease in the population increase rate is actually a result of Erdoğan’s policies despite his oft-stated desire to increase Turkey’s population, according to Serdar Sayan, an academic from TOBB University of Economics and Technologies.

Window of opportunity

“Ironically the prime minister’s success in the economy in the past 10 years has led to an increase of wealth in Turkey, which is the reason for the decrease in the population growth rate,” Sayan told the Hürriyet Daily News.

A widening in the middle-aged population is also a signal that Turkey’s demographic window of opportunity may not last long. “The share of population that can be employed - those between the ages of 15 and 65 - in the total population is expected to rise in Turkey in the next 15 to 20 years. That means Turkey is within the period called the window of opportunity. But we cannot utilize it,” said Sayan.

“It will cease being a window of opportunity. It becomes a window of threat. We have to create more employment and more skilled workers by providing better education for the youth. Also, we have to end the unregistered economy,” Sayan said.

An increase of 903,115 in the population from 2011 was seen over the previous year, with the male population nearing 50.2 percent and the female population coming falling to 49.8 percent.

There is a small decrease in the rate of the population growth in Istanbul, said Erdem, citing TUİK’s data. Erdem said this might be a result of a decrease in the migration to Istanbul or a decrease in the birth rates in Istanbul, adding that both cases can be seen as a positive development. Of the country’s total population, 18 percent resides in Istanbul, which sees over 13.8 million people living within its borders, TUİK data revealed.