Istanbul population

Istanbul’s population declined for the first time in 2020

The exodus from large cities during the pandemic caused Istanbul to lose 56,000 inhabitants in 2020.

For the first time in this century, the population of Istanbul fell during the past year 2020, according to the latest data published today by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK), which shows that the Bosphorus metropolis remains the most populous city in Turkey with more 15 million people, despite losing 56,000 inhabitants last year.

According to data released by TÜİK, the population of Istanbul – which in 2000 reached 11 million – is currently around 15.5 million inhabitants; Istanbul continues to be the province with the highest population density in the country, with 2,976 people per square kilometre, well above Turkey’s average of 109 inhabitants / km2. The second most densely packed province is the neighbouring Kocaeli, with 533 inhabitants per square kilometre.

The report does not explain the reasons for Istanbul’s population decline, but they are most likely related to the coronavirus pandemic, which in 2020 led many inhabitants of large cities to scape to their second residences in smaller towns and cities, mainly to the west and south of the country. This migration was especially important in Istanbul, which has long been the largest source of coronavirus infections.

Also contributing to this exodus from the city was the closure of classrooms and their replacement by online classes for much of the year, as well as the increase in remote work due to the pandemic, which according to official data from the Ministry of Health had caused at the end of November 2020 a total of 2,353 dead in Istanbul.

Turkey’s population close to 84 million

On the other hand, Turkey’s population continues to grow and reached 83.6 million inhabitants at the end of 2020, according to the TÜİK statistical report, and that despite the fact that the growth rate plummeted from 13.9 per thousand in 2019 to only 5.5 per thousand last year, in which the population of the Eurasian country increased by 459,000 people.

Despite its population declining in 2020, Istanbul remained by far the most populous province in Turkey, followed in 2nd place by Ankara (5.6 million inhabitants), İzmir (4.4 million), Bursa (3.1 million) and Antalya (2.5 million). On the other hand, the least inhabited province of Turkey is Bayburt – in the northeast of Turkey – since it has only 81,910 inhabitants.