The population of Albania

The population of Albania has changed during last 30 years. This comes especially because of the changes in economic system, passing from centralized economy to an open market system, which has given its effect in births, deaths, migration, and definitely has an impact in the future of Albanian population.

It is important to know how many inhabitants currently live in the country and how many there will be in the future, so there can be better decisions regarding the construction of schools, hospitals and roads. It is also important to know how old the population is and will be in the coming years, in order to plan for pensions or health care for example.

Fig. 1 Births, Deaths and Net Migration

Decreasing population

On 1 January 2022 population of Albania was 2.79 million persons and compared with the year 2011 has decreased by 3.9 %.

The decreasing trend continues to be present form previous years.


Decreasing of births

During the period 2011-2021 the number of births per year has decreased significantly: from about 34 thousand in 2011 to about 27 thousand in 2021, while the number of deaths per year has remained between 20 thousand and 22 thousand during the period 2011-2019, but has increased to about 30 thousand deaths in 2021, affected by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Usually, more boys are naturally being born than girls, but since men have a higher mortality there are more old women than men.

Women give birth less

Total fertility rate (TFR) is the average number of children born alive to a woman taking into consideration current fertility rates. It tells us how many children a woman is expected to give birth during her lifetime. It is widely accepted that 2.1 children per woman is the replacement level needed for the population of a given country.

The total fertility rate has been decreasing since 2011 when it was 1.65 children per woman, to 1.32 in 2021. In figure two you can see the evolution of this important indicator and its trend.

TFR can be reflected in the number of population in the next decades and have impact, not only in decreasing the population, but more at the effects that derivate from that situations, which can be social or economic, such as: decreasing the purchasing power, increasing the old dependency ratio, putting in risk the scheme of pensions, etc.

Fig. 2 Total Fertility Rate

Some of the social factors that can influence fertility rates are: cultural norms, level of education, religion, use of contraceptive methods, abortion, impact of migration, children as a source of labor (on family farms), children as support for couples at older ages, costs of raising children, etc.

Children expected to live longer

Infant mortality is the death of a child aged less than one year. The infant mortality rate is defined as the number of deaths of children less than one year of age during a year divided by the number of live births in that year; the value is expressed per 1,000 live births.

During this 10 year period, infant mortality has remained between 8 and 10 deaths aged less than one year per 1,000 live births, but has decreased significantly: from 17.4 in 2001 to 8.4 in 2021.

Albanians live longer than before

How long is a person expected to live? This is measured through the indicator life expectancy.

It can be expressed as the life expectancy at birth, which is the number of years a new-born baby can expect to live. In 2021 life expectancy at birth was estimated 74.4 years for males and 78.7 years for females.

Fig. 3 Life expectancy

Life expectancy at birth has been increasing from 2011 to 2019, with women tending to live longer, where the trend of men is growing faster than that of women, but life expectancy at birth has declined during the years 2020-2021, affected by the increase in the number of deaths from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Albanian females born in 2021 are expected to live 4.3 years longer than Albanian males born in the same year.

Aging population

Albanian median age of population has increased: from nearly 33 years on first January 2011, to 38 years on first January 2022. The median age of population has also increased during the same period, by sex: from 31.3 in 37.3 years for males and from 33.9 in 39.1 years for females.

Migration has a big influence on population

The population of Albania started to decline from 1990, as a consequence of a massive emigration. During the years 2011-2021 it is estimated that on average 42 thousand people emigrated every year and 23 thousand people immigrated every year. (Population pyramid) The main reasons for emigration have to do with better opportunities for work, education and health care.


Population structure

In figure 4 we can see the fact that the population of Albania is aging. This is showed by the proportion that people over 65 year old take, compared with young people (under 15 years old) from 2011 to 2022 (population of first January)

The age group of the population 0-14 years has decreased: from 21.6 % in 2011 to 16.3 % in 2022.

The age group of the population aged 15-64 has remained almost the same, experiencing a slight increase: from 67.4 % in 2011 to 68.0 % in 2022.

The age group of the population 65+ years old has increased: from 11.0 % in 2011 to 15.7 % in 2022.

Fig. 4 Population structure on first January

Population distribution by prefectures

On first January 2022 results that about third of the total population lives in the prefecture of Tirana - the most populated prefecture in the country, followed by the prefecture of Durrës and Fier, with about 10 percent of the population each.

The prefecture of Gjirokastër has the lowest part of the population, with about 2.0 % of the total population followed by the prefecture of Kukës, which has 2.6 % of the total population.

Only the prefecture of Tiranë has marked an increase in population for 2021-2022 periods.

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