The Turkish Cypriot class structure changed markedly
1974. During the colonial and pre-1963 independence years,
Turkish Cypriots lived in rural areas and engaged in
Others living in urban areas were mostly employed by the
service. Very few Turkish Cypriots engaged in business.
conditions, one could find the following social classes in
Turkish Cypriot community: large landowners (descendants
Ottoman administrators), bureaucrats, a small class of
professionals, and peasants/farmers.
Once Turkish Cypriots had created their own government
economy, they began to enter new occupations, altering the
structure of their community. At the beginning of the
were many more Turkish Cypriot businessmen than a
earlier, and many others were highly trained professionals
of the marked expansion of higher education. The old
aristocracy no longer accounted for all wealthy Turkish
This class was joined by the new rich, with economic ties
outside world. While such developments should have
the rise of middle-income groups among the Turkish
economic difficulties faced by the new state (most
high inflation) seriously eroded the real incomes of the
class, most of whom were civil servants.
At the beginning of the 1990s, most Turkish Cypriots
neither wealthy nor had professional occupations. The
wage earners, working in small production units or at
clerical and service jobs. About one-fourth of the work
engaged in farming.
Data as of January 1991