Capital'e abone olun.

Population Delivers Seven Critical Messages

The rate of population increase, the rise in the number of female heads of households, the size of households, the ageing population and the proportion of young people… Recent research on populatio...

Son Güncelleme: 01.01.2005

The rate of population increase, the rise in the number of female heads of households, the size of households, the ageing population and the proportion of young people… Recent research on population and demographics contain vitally important results for the future of Turkey. The direction of trends will affect everybody’s business and marketing strategies from executives to entrepreneurs.

The population and changes in the demographic structure are some of the criteria that everyone must bear in mind when making any kind of plan about the future whether in the world of business or the running of the country. If these changes are evaluated correctly then it is possible to make accurate predictions about a number of different issues such as urbanisation, industrialisation, employment, unemployment and consumption.

The ‘Turkish Population and Health Survey’, which is conducted every five years by the Hacettepe University Population Studies Institute, is a very well-respected survey which has been designed to determine these trends. The Institute recently released the results of its survey for 2003. The study covers 10,836 households throughout Turkey. We compared the results of this study with the research conducted by the Population Studies Institute in 1993 and tried to determine the changes over the intervening 10 year period. Assistant Professor Dr. İsmet Koç and Researchers Mehmet Ali Eryurt and Erhan Özdemir helped us understand what these changes in demographic indicators mean from a social and economic perspective.

The seven demographic trends which have an impact on economic and social life in Turkey are as follows:

1. The population growth rate is falling

hedThe population growth rate reached its highest point in the period 1955-60 when it was rising by 2.9% per year. In the period 1990-2000 it had fallen to 1.8%. In the period 2003-2010 the rate is expected to fall still further to 0.97%. This represents an almost halving of the rate of 1.8% in the period 1990-2000.

The Turkish population is estimated to have reached 71,332,000 in 2003. The State Institute of Statistics (SIS) projects that it will rise to 78 million in 2010 and 86 million in 2020.

The decline in the rate of population increase has a very positive impact from the point of view of the economy. National income will be distributed between a smaller number of people. The sharing of national income between less people will result in an increase in welfare in individuals’ daily lives.

2. The average age has increased

hedIn 1993 the average age in Turkey was 22. In 2003 it had risen to 24.7. This shows that the population is ageing. The ageing of a population is the result of a fall in the birth-rate and ageing of the young population produced when the birth-rate was high. Today approximately half of the population is over 25 years of age.

Before its recent expansion, the old 15-member EU had an average age of 38.9. This clearly shows that, compared with Turkey, the EU has an old population. By 2010 the average age of the Turkish population is expected to rise to 28.

The current average age of the Turkish population is in the middle, neither very low, nor very high. A population with a medium average age is ideal for creating a booming economy

3. The elderly population is increasing

hedAccording to the study conducted by the Hacettepe University Population Studies Institute in 1993, people over 65 years of age accounted for 5.5 percent of the population. By 2003 this proportion had risen to 6.9 percent.

The extended family no longer supports the elderly. Grandmothers and grandfathers no longer live with their grandchildren.

For this reason, a healthy social security system is essential in order for the elderly population to continue with their lives. The future will see an increase in companies providing ‘health’ or ‘care’ services for them.

4. The young population will stabilize

hedIn the Population Census conducted in 1990 the share of the population under 15 was 35 percent. According to the 1993 ‘Turkish Population and Health Survey’ conducted by the Hacettepe University Population Studies Institute this proportion stood at 33 percent. By 2003 it had fallen to 29 percent.

This proportion will continue to decline for the next 50 years, falling to 22 percent in 2020. Over the next 20 years the number of people in Turkey under the age of 15 is forecast to remain fixed at around 20-21 million.

As the number of children of primary school age of 7-14 years old will not increase there will be no need to open new schools. As a result, the share of the budget which is assigned to education will not go to opening new schools but be spent on raising the quality of education.

5. The number of female heads of households is increasing

hedThe number of female heads of households has been increasing since the 1950s. In the 1950s they accounted for around 6 percent of all households rising to 10 percent in 1993 and 12.5 percent in 2003. This means that in 2003 there were around 2.5 million female heads of households. More than half of all female heads of households were over the age of 55.

The increase in the number and proportion of female heads of households means that the time has come for the development of special social policies on this issue.

6. Large families are becoming history

hedIn the decade from 1993 to 2003 the proportion of single-person households rose from 4.4 percent to 6.3 percent of the total, while the rate for two-person households rose from 14 percent to 16.8 percent, that for three person households from 15.5 percent to 19.4 percent, and four-person households from 21.3 percent to 24.2 percent. The number of households with five or more people fell from 43 percent to 33 percent over the same ten year period.

The decline in the number of people in the average household, coupled with an increase in total population, has fuelled a rise in the number of households. In 2003 there were around 17,160,000 households in Turkey. This figure is expected to rise to 22-23 million in 2020.

This will create approximately 5,450,000 new homes, which will create new demand for the white goods, furniture and automobile sectors. It will sustain a boom on these markets.

7. The number of people living alone is increasing

hedThe ageing population, young people living apart from their families, the rise in the numbers of university students and divorces have combined, as elsewhere in the world, to increase the number of people who live on their own in Turkey. To put it another way, there are approximately 1,080,000 households occupied by one person.

Single person households could increase interest in small homes designed for different income and age groups.

The increasing trend towards living alone could strengthen demand for compact white goods, small automobiles and practical household goods.


The indicators show that the rate of population increase has declined (percent)

1990-2000 2001-2010
1.8 0.97


The average age of the Turkish population is rising (age)

1993  2003

22     24.7


The number of people over 65 as a proportion of the total population (percent)

1993    2003

5.5    6.9


The number of people under 14 as a proportion of the total population is falling (percent)

1993    2003

33        29


The number of female heads of households is rising (percentage)

1993    2003

10    12.5


The average number of people in each household has fallen over the last ten years (people)

1993    2003

4.5    4.1


Socio-economic change is increasing the number of single-person households (percent)

1993    2003

4.4    6.3