Greece Population and Economy

Greece Population and Economy


The population of the country is, from an ethnic point of view, remarkably homogeneous, even though it has undergone a long and complex series of changes internally. The last of these dates back to the period of the Greek-Turkish war (1921-23), which was followed by an exchange of populations for which over 1,200,000 Greeks from Asia Minor they were welcomed within the Greek borders, while 600,000 Muslim Turks and Bulgarians left the country. This story gave rise in Macedonia and Thrace, where refugees were mainly accommodated, to some reform measures that concerned the traditional structure of landed property and interventions to enhance the productive sense of agricultural land. The population generally lives centralized, albeit in small nuclei; the village is the characteristic center of the countryside and mountainous areas. A concentration of residents and means of production occurred along the median axis that unites the two main cities of the country, Athens and Thessaloniki, even if, in the country, urbanism has manifested itself as a rather recent phenomenon, closely linked to the events that followed the conquest of independence. The slowdown in natural dynamics (the birth rate at 9.6 ‰ fell to values ​​just below those of mortality) made the migratory flow towards foreign countries modest, which has been equalized or overtaken by returns and immigration for some time.. On the other hand, internal movements are lively, as a result of which the less favored regions, such as western Macedonia, the Peloponnese and some of the smaller islands, are losing population to the advantage of the more dynamic and more urbanized areas; however, the urban population stands at 61% (2008), a modest value for a European country. The vast agglomeration of Greater Athens firmly maintains its share of the total population at around 30% of the national total, Lárissa, the only other cities over 100,000 residents, have seen their respective urban areas grow.

The religion practiced by the vast majority is Greek Orthodox (91.8%).

Economic conditions

The Greek economy, traditionally poor and generally endowed with scarce structures and of an antiquated level, only showed a consistent trend towards development and progressive modernization from around 1950: this was possible thanks to the help of other countries., among which above all the United States, Great Britain and Germany. Between 1962 and 1967 there were notable improvements in agriculture and industry; but especially starting from 1974, after the period of the dictatorship, efforts increased for a radical transformation that affected every sector of the economic apparatus. In Greece there are still serious social and regional imbalances. In the 1990s the Greek government promoted an austerity policy, with the aim of meeting the parameters established by the Maastricht Treaty by 1997.and allow the country to join the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The results of this policy, which caused severe social tensions, are measured by the reduction of the public sector deficit from 9.9% of GDP (1994) to 1.8% (2000), of the public debt from 160% of GDP. GDP (1990) to 90.1% (2008), inflation from 11% (1990) to 4.4% (2008). On the basis of these results, Greece managed to enter EMU, albeit late, on 1 January 2001. It has shown good administration in using the funds obtained from the European Union for the construction of transport infrastructures, partly planned for the 2004 Olympics, but still essential for the modernization of the country (new airport and Athens metropolitan railways, motorways, oil pipelines). In the endinvestments abroad (especially in the Near and Middle East) have experienced a phase of growth. However, the economic structure is still far from the typical structures of European Community, within which the country remains one of the two most backward members (the other is Portugal), and has been heavily affected by the global crisis of 2008-09 with a considerable increase in public debt, inflation and unemployment.

The number of employees in the primary sector (12.4% of the active population in 2005) is quite high both in absolute terms and in relation to its contribution to GDP (3.5% in 2008), especially since agriculture has not suitable for fully competitive production models; industrial reconversion is proceeding with difficulty (however, the modernization of the chemical, petrochemical and electromechanical sectors should be noted) and the production of consumer goods is dangerously exposed to competition from other EU countries; the tertiary sector is dominated by tourism (11% of both employment and GDP, over 16,039,000 visitors in 2005), on which the country’s economy is largely dependent and which suffers the repercussions of fluctuations in annual flows, while the excessive tourist pressure has produced environmental damage in many areas of particular attraction. Added to this are the problems deriving from the serious territorial imbalances of the country due to the persistent backwardness of the southern regions (the Peloponnese and many of the smaller islands, especially the more eastern ones), which cannot count on other forms of development besides those related to tourism. and who have suffered from the prolonged state of tension with Turkey.

Greece was also heavily affected by the 2008-09 global crisis. Prime Minister Papandreou already in 2009 had feared the possibility of bankruptcy for the country: the government was unable to cope with unemployment, corruption and public debt, which continues to grow. In 2010, Europe allocated an aid package worth 110 billion euros over three years; however, in 2011 the situation did not improve and the government drew up an austerity program that includes massive cuts in public spending and massive privatizations. These measures have sparked protests from the civilian population; general strikes and demonstrations of dissent were organized which often resulted in clashes with the police. The Greek economic and social crisis has worried the international community;

Greece Population and Economy