Ethnicity is a delicate issue in Albania, and one that is debated. Official statistics show Albania is very homogeneous with more than 97% Albanian majority, but minority groups like the Roman, Greeks and Macedonians have questioned this data and claim a larger share. Three national minorities are recognized: Greeks, Macedonians and Montenegrins.
There are also two cultural minorities -- Aromanians and Romani -- and other Albanian minorities like the Bulgarians and Jews. The Greek government estimates 300,000 Greeks in the country, while the Albanian government claims just 60,000.
At the 2011 census, the population of Albania was officially 83% Albanian, 0.9% Greek, 0.2% Macedonian, 0.01% Montenegrin, 0.3% Aromanian, 0.3% Romani, 0.1% Balkan Egyptian, 14% no declared ethnicity and 1.6% not relevant.
Many minority groups have criticized the country's census law which imposes a $1,000 fine on anyone who declares an ethnicity that differs from what is on their birth certificate.
Albania Religion, Economy and Politics
Almost 58% of Albanian's are Muslim, with a Christian population of 17%. About 25% of the population belongs to another religion or has no religion. While Albania was the only European country whose Jewish population grew during the Holocaust, the mass emigration to Israel has left just 200 Albanian Jews in the country. In 1967 Albania saw a violent crackdown on any religious activity and became the world's first officially Atheist state.
As a developing nation, the economy in Albania has been particularly susceptible to the fluctuations of the world market and has experienced some downturn in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Agriculture employs nearly half of the Albanian population, but 19% of the nation's GDP. Common crops include tobacco, citrus, figs, grapes and various vegetables. There is also something of a strong wine industry in Albania. Albania is currently experiencing high amounts of public debt and remittances continue to be a significant source of the country's GDP.
Albania Population History
The Italian army invaded the land that is now Albania just before the beginning of the Second World War to cut through and attack Greece. By 1943, the Germans had forced the Italians to surrender and took control of Albania, but the Albanian Communist Party resisted and forced the Germans to withdraw just a year later. As they became more independent, the strength of the communist party increased and by 1948 Albania had broken ties with Yugoslavia in favor of an alliance with the Soviet Union. Their relationship with the Soviet Union was short-lived, however, and by 1961 Albania had allied itself with China.
In 1989, after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, politics in Albania became less extreme as independent political parties began forming and Albanians were allowed to travel abroad, and by 1992 the Democratic party had won the election. In 1997, the son of a late king, Leka, returned to Albania after years in hiding in a failed attempt to restore a monarchy, but he did manage to stir up enough trouble to have communism be able to take a stronghold again. Between 1999-2002, Albania saw an influx in immigrants from Kosovo in response to their country's political unrest.
Albania has a very low fertility rate of just 1.49 children per woman, and massive migration affected its demographics after the fall of Communism in 1990. Between 1991 and 2004, close to 1 million people left Albania, most destined for Greece, and the population decreased in the North and South of the country and increased in Tirana and Durrës.