Half a million migrated to Turkey in 2018, Istanbul leads as host

Tourists visit the Ottoman-era Sultanahmet mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, in Istanbul, Turkey, July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis/File Photo

Turkey saw its immigration rate increase by 23.8 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, according to data issued by the Turkish Statistical Institute, with Istanbul leading as the host with approximately 202.000 newcomers

As many as 577,457 people immigrated to Turkey in 2018, an increase of 23.8 percent compared to the previous year, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).

TurkStat data shows that the latest number included 466,890 foreign nationals and 110,567 Turkish citizens, who returned to their country after living abroad or were not registered at the same address that they had been in the previous year.

Of the 577,457, around 52.7 percent are male and 47.3 percent female.

Among foreign immigrants, Iraqis once again ranked first, with 23.6 percent followed by Afghans and Syrians, 9.6 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively. “In 2018, 11.9 percent of the immigrants who arrived in Turkey were between the ages of 25 and 29. Another 11.5 percent were between 20 and 24 and 10.3 percent were between 30 and 34,” TurkStat added.

Istanbul was identified as the preferred destination for most immigrants, with 202,000 people moving into the metropolis. Capital Ankara had become the destination of 71,337 people, followed by the Mediterranean city of Antalya, with 36,674 immigrants arriving in the city in 2018.

Meanwhile, 323,918 people left Turkey for foreign countries, with a 27.7 percent increase over the previous year. Around 53.3 percent of them were male and 46.7 percent female. Iraqis topped this list too with 20.6 percent, followed by Azerbaijanis with 7.4 percent, Uzbekistanis at 7 percent, Turkmenistan nationals at 5.4 percent and Iranians with 4.9 percent.

After age distribution analysis, around 15.7 percent of them were between 25 and 29, around 13.2 percent were between 20 and 24 or 30 and 34. The Institute found out also that 113,430 people emigrated from Istanbul, 28,410 from Ankara and 18,408 from Antalya.

Turkey also hosts the highest number of refugees – nearly 4 million – in the world, according to official figures. The number of Syrian refugees living in the country was 3.63 million as of July.

“Immigration covers Turkish Republic citizens and foreigners who are present in the reference year Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) but not in the previous year ABPRS. Emigration covers Turkish Republic citizens and foreigners who are not present in the reference year ABPRS while present in the previous year ABPRS,” TurkStat clarified.

According to most recent figures based on the official address-based population registration system (ADNKS), released as of Dec. 31, 2018, Turkey’s population has reached 82,003,882, recording an increase of 1,193,357 people year-on-year.

Istanbul was again the country’s most populous city, with over 15 million people, constituting 18.4 percent of the total population. The second and third most populous provinces also remained unchanged with Ankara and Izmir following Istanbul with 5.5 million and 4.3 million, respectively.

On the other hand, the northeastern Bayburt province was the least populated province of Turkey, with a total population slightly over 82,000. Fresh data also showed that the annual population growth rate increased to 1.47 percent in 2018 from 1.24 percent in 2017.