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Greece

Population

Of the country's residents, about 95 percent have native Greek as their mother tongue. Today's Greeks are a people who have undergone considerable mixing for two millennia, not least with slaves in the early Middle Ages. However, they consider themselves primarily Greeks, and the country can be considered ethnically homogeneous. Some minor foreign groups exist. The largest of these is the Turkish in eastern Thrace and Rhodes. In Greece, there are also Macedonians, Albanians, Bulgarians and Romans. The population density is 81 residents per km2, but the distribution is very uneven. The most densely populated are the coastal landscapes (Attica, the Thessal plain and northern Peloponnese) and the Ionian Islands, the sparse of the central mountain landscapes. More than three-quarters of the population live in cities and close to one-third in the Athens-Piraeus area (3.9 million residents, 2010). Other cities include Thessaloniki (346,300 residents, 2010) and Patra (167,400).

Religion and Languages of Greece

According to Countryaah, Greece has for a long time been characterized by emigration, with a peak in the 1960s, but during the 00s the country had a positive net migration. Since 2010, economic and political development has led to an increase in emigration. At the same time, the country has welcomed a large number of asylum seekers from Asia and Africa.

Language

Official language since 1976 is the form of Neo-Greek called dimotiki; see Greek. The people of Greece have almost exclusively Greek as their mother tongue. The linguistic minorities that existed previously (Albanian, Slavic, Turkish) have largely been assimilated.

Religion

Greece is officially an Orthodox country with strong ties between church and state; about 98% of the population belongs to the Orthodox Church. The priests are paid by the state; the church, on the other hand, is obliged to pay taxes on its income. The largest minority are the Muslims (about 150,000).

Its strong national character gained the Orthodox Church during the Ottoman period, when it became the Greek people's foremost identity factor and congregations and monasteries became centers of resistance to the Turks. The church still has stronger popular support in Greece than in most European countries. Daily life is largely characterized by ecclesiastical customs. Upon the liberation of Greece, the church was separated from the Constantinople Patriarchate and was given the position of autocephalic church under the leadership of a synod with the Archbishop of Athens, which is being primed. The church in Crete and many of the islands belong to the patriarchate but has the same relation to the Greek state as the church on the mainland.

For the history of the Greek Church from the 300s to 1453, see Byzantine Empire. On pre-Christian religion in Greece, see Greek religion.

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