THE ALBANIAN PEOPLE
The average annual growth rate of the Albanian population for
the period 1960-90 was 2.4 percent, or approximately three to
four times higher than that of other European countries. Population
growth was actively encouraged by the government, which deemed
it "essential for the further strengthening and prosperity of
socialist society." Albania had a population of 3,335,000 in July
1991, compared with 2,761,000 in mid-1981 and 1,626,000 in 1960.
The most sparsely populated Balkan country until 1965, Albania
attained a population density of 111 inhabitants per square kilometer
in 1989--the highest in the Balkans. The 1991 growth rate was
In 1991 Albania had a birth rate of 24 per 1,000, and its death
rate had declined from 14 per 1,000 in 1950 to 5 per 1,000. A
concomitant of the reduced death rate was an increase in life
expectancy. Official Albanian sources indicated that average life
expectancy at birth increased from fifty-three years in 1950 to
seventy-two years for males and seventy-nine years for females
in 1991. The population was among the most youthful in Europe,
with an average age of twenty-seven years, and the fertility rate--2.9
children born per woman--was one of Europe's highest.
Albania was the only country in Europe with more males than females.
The disparity in the male-to-female ratio, which was 1,055:1,000
in 1970, had increased to the point where males accounted for
51.5 percent of the population in 1990, This discrepancy was attributed
in part to a higher mortality rate among female infants, caused
by neglect and the traditional deference accorded male progeny.
Losses in World War II, estimated by the United Nations at 30,000
persons, or 2.5 percent of the population, apparently had little
influence on the ratio of males to females.
Data as of April 1992