Population and Demographic Situation
The Republic of Albania is located in South-eastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula. It is bordered by the Adriatic and Ionian Seas to the west. Montengro and Kosova in the north, Macedonia in the east and Greece in south.
During the timeframe 1945 to 1989, Albanian population experienced the quickest population growth in Europe. Population increased from 1.1 million inhabitants in 1945 to 3.2 million inhabitants in 1989. INSTAT 2011 Census counts a population of 2,821,977. Ethnically, Albanian population is compound by: Albanians 98.1%, Greeks 0.9%, other 1% (including Vlach, Roma, Macedonians, Montenegrin, Roma and Egyptian). The law on minorities was updated in 2017 and includes the following recognized minorities: Montenegrins, Greeks, Vlachs, Roma, Egyptian, Bosnians, Macedonians, Serbs and Bulgarians. Although the fertility rate of 2.1 is high, decline in population during the period 1991-2011 is mainly influenced by high waves of migration during post-communist transition.
Based on 2011 Census preliminary data, about 1.58 million Albanians declared themselves as Muslims, 58624 people declared themselves as Bektashi, 281000 were Catholics, 189000 were Orthodox, 154000 declared themselves as non-believers and 70000 declared themselves either atheists or belonging to other minor religion groups. About 145 of the population refused to answer to this question.
The Albanian language, [Shqip or Shqipe] is of interest to linguists because it is the only surviving member of its branch of the Indo-European language family. Influenced by centuries of rule by foreigners, the Albanian vocabulary has adopted many words from the Latin, Greek, Turkish, Italian, and Slavic tongues.
Albanian language has two main dialects. The first is the Geg [Gegë] dialect spoken mainly in the north and Central Albania as well as by Albanians inhabiting in present Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia. The tosk [Toskë] dialect is spoken in south Albania. More archaic forms of this dialect are spoken also in Albanian communities of Greece and Italy. Despite variations Albanians can understand one another without substantial difficulties.
Albanian which is also the official language is spoken by almost 98% of the population of Albania. Minority languages that constitute remaining 2% are Greek (around 60,000 speakers), Romani (the same number), and in lesser numbers, Bulgarian and Serb.