Open Data Albania carried an investigation of the national and cultural minorities in Albania in historical perspective. Statistical data on minorities were collected from different sources, mostly publications of the Institute of Statistics, the Directorate of Statistics and different reports or documents of the Government of Albania.

Introduction: Currently Albania acknowledge two groups of minorities, those who are considered national ethnic and those who are considered cultural and lingual minorities. The acknowledgment of the existence of the minorities has been an evolving process over time. The collection of data on their existence, the methodology employed to collect such data and even the concept of minority has also evolved.

Legal Definition: Nationality other then Albanian currently is accepted from Albania State only if it is registered as such in the life event registers. Data for the compilation of this register were fist compiled using census. In such censuses in the past were collected mostly data on Greek minority and occasionally on other minorities such the Aromenian. In 2011, the general population and housing census collected data on all minorities of Albania, but the methodology of collecting such data is different from the past and as such, those data are not strictly comparable.

Nationality is obtained by birth: Albania accepted to acknowledge the Greek minority living in Albania through a declaration on the League of Nations in 1921 and by such, accepted the equality of citizens disregard their nationality, language, race or religion. The article 3 of the Declaration signed by Fan Noli states that “all persons born in Albania who are not born nationals of another State shall, ipso facto, be Albanian nationals. Persons habitually resident in Albania before the war will be allowed, together with their wives and children under eighteen years of age, within two years from the date of this Declaration, to become Albanian citizens if they make application to that effect.”

The Declaration clearly indicates that inhabitants of Albania that have another nationality different from Albanian, shall, within two years period, declare themselves as Albanian citizens with another nationality. The Albanian legislation currently and in the past doesn’t allow the right to change the registered nationality on demand.

Law NO. 10 129, stipulated on 15.5.2009 “On Civic Register, article 58, states:

1. The newborn baby can take the nationality of the parents when they have the same nationality, documented as such by the National Register of Life Events. This nationality cannot be changed, except, in the cases, when according to the law, is certified that a mistake have occurred on the nationality of the parents, or when there is a court ruling for the change of fatherhood or motherhood .

Based on the principle of non-changeability of the nationality, data on different minorities had been collected in different censuses carried in Albania. In all these occasions, the National Register of Life Events had been used to compile statistics on nationality.

Self declaration: Differently from this principle, in the General Housing and Population Census of 2001, Albanians were asked to answer on their “belonging to an ethnic or cultural group” and this was done in self declaration, disregard their belonging according to the National Register of the Life Events. In this way, Albania surpassed the obligations that it has from the Declaration in the League of Nations in 1921. But the information collected in 2011 census has not legal consequences.

Available statistics

Data published by the government of Albania refers to official statistics and sources and also to different perceptions or estimates. For the Greek minority there are more detailed data while for other minorities, data are scarce of totally absent.

Albania has declared its data on national minorities on consecutive reports delivered as obligation under Article 25, paragraph 1, of the Council of Europe’s FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF NATIONAL MINORITIES and as such are published in the Official Gazette .

General overview on minorities

National minorities counted in the censuses were 44,570 on 1960, 54,687 on 1979 and 64,818 on 1989. The majority of the people belonging to the minorities during this period were of Greek national minorities. The percentage of the national minorities on the general population of Albania has been reduced between 1960 and 1989 from 2.7 per cent to 1.9 per cent. National minorities has an official growth rate of about half of that of the total population. Between 1960 and 1989, the minority population increased by only 45 per cent while the total population increased by 97 per cent.


*In the data of 2011 are included Roma, Egiptians ecc, which were not counted in other censuses
Analysis and comments: ODA

It is difficult to speculate on the reasons why the minorities grew on much slower rate during this period. Possible explanations can be: the tendency to register babies as Albanians in the case of mix marriages or differences on fertility and death rates.


*In the data of 2011 are included Roma, Egiptians ecc, which were not counted in other censuses
Analysis and comments: ODA

In 2011, 52,700 people were registered as national or ethnic minorities, almost 1.9 per cent of the population. Comparing 1989 and 2011 is not possible because the methodology of the measurement is different while the notion “minority” in 2011 was expanded to include communities that in 1989 were not recognized as such, including Macedonians, Aromenian, Roma, Egyptians and others.


Source Census 2011
Analysis and comments: ODA

Greek minority

The Albanian State reported that the Greek minority in 1989 numbered 58,758 members or 1.8 per cent of the total population. These data were extracted by the Life Event Registers while according to the self declarations of 2011 Greek community had 24,242 members and made 0.9 per cent of the population.


Source: Censuses
Analysis and comments: ODA

In 1989, Greeks were present in whole territory of Albania, but the largest groups were registered in Saranda and Delvina, (36,531 people) and in Gjirokastra, (19,921 people). In Saranda and Delvina they made up to 40 per cent of the total population in 1989 while in Gjirokastra, 30 per cent. In other parts of the country, Greeks numbered only in few dozens or few hundreds.


“Souce: 1989 Cesus, published by the Directorate of Statistics, Reported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, First National report from Republic of Albania under Article 25, paragraph 1, of the Council of Europe’s FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF NATIONAL MINORITIES, 2001”
Analysis and comments: ODA

Roma minority

Albania had never counted the numbers of the Roma communities in the past and in 2011 was carried the first ever data compilation. But Albanian Government in its strategy for the improvement of the living conditions of Roma minority, which was approved in 2003, quoted different sources to conclude that their numbers were between 60k and 120k .

However, in the 2011 census only 8,301 Roma were counted through in the country.

Aromenian minority

Albania reported data on Aromenian minority on the years 1950, 2055 and 2011. Their population has 2,381 members in 1950 and increased to 8,266 members in 2011. The growth of about 247 per cent is similar to the growth of the total population in the country.


“Souce: 1989 Cesus, published by the Directorate of Statistics, Reported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, First National report from Republic of Albania under Article 25, paragraph 1, of the Council of Europe’s FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF NATIONAL MINORITIES, 2001”
Analysis and comments: ODA

Other minorities

In Albania in 2011 were reported based on self declaration 5,521 Macedonians, 366 Montenegrins and 3,368 Egyptians. For these minorities there are not available statistics from the past.


“Souce: 1989 Cesus, published by the Directorate of Statistics, Reported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, First National report from Republic of Albania under Article 25, paragraph 1, of the Council of Europe’s FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF NATIONAL MINORITIES, 2001”
Analysis and comments: ODA

Source: http://ungarisches-institut.de/dokumente/pdf/19211002-1.pdf accessed on 31 January 2013

http://80.78.70.231/pls/kuv/f?p=201:Ligj:10129:11.05.2009 accessed on 25 January 2013

The integral report can be found on:

http://www.mfa.gov.al/dokumenta/raporti%20i%20pare%20(ang).pdf accessed on 31 January 2013.

http://80.78.70.231/pls/kuv/f?p=201:Vendim%20i%20KM:633:18.09.2003 accessed on26 January 2013