With 32,000 fewer Albanians leaving, emigration has reached its highest level since 2014

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There are 31,807 fewer residents and they are 6 months older. This is only a one-year demographic balance, as INSTAT has published official data on the country’s population as of January 1, 2023.

The drop is smaller than it was a year ago, when the Covid-19 outbreak resulted in the country recording more deaths than births for the first time. The results, however, are concerning, being comparable to a municipality the size of Bulqiza, Divjaka, or Librazhd.

The main cause of this population drop is emigration, with 46,460 Albanians leaving the country, the greatest amount since 2014. Meanwhile, the number of returnees is far lower than before the country was slammed by the earthquake, virus, and pricing crisis all at once.

Young boys are the most registered emigrant group, accounting for around two out of every three emigrants. This is most visible in the average age, which has risen to 38.8 years from 38.2 just a year ago. The country currently has two fewer males for every 100 females.

When combined with the drop in birth rates, the population fell by 1.1%, with Gjirokastr, Berat, and Dibr experiencing the greatest decrease. The issue has also considerably delayed the capital’s expansion, with only 5,757 additional residents, making Tirana the only expanding district.

The INSTAT population numbers were issued with a delay as the institution sought clarification due to the burden in preparing the Census of Population and Housing. The registration, which begins in September, will generate more reliable data on depopulation than the last census, which was also in 2011.