Browse the information below for demographic information on Greece, including population,
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Population (March 2001 est.): 10,939,771 million.
Growth rate: 0.21%.
Languages: Greek 99% (official); English.
Religions: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other .7%.
Education: Years compulsory--9. Literacy--95%. All levels are free.
Health: Infant mortality rate--6/1,000. Life expectancy--male 76 years, female 81 years.
Work force: 4.32 million.
People of Greece
Greece was inhabited as early as the Paleolithic period and by 3000 BC had become home, in the Cycladic Islands, to a culture whose art remains among the most evocative in world history. In the second millennium BC, the island of Crete nurtured the maritime empire of the Minoans, whose trade reached from Egypt to Sicily. The Minoans were supplanted by the Mycenaeans of the Greek mainland, who spoke a dialect of ancient Greek. During the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires (1st-19th centuries), Greece's ethnic composition became more diverse. Since independence in 1830 and an exchange of populations with Turkey in 1923, Greece has forged a national state which claims roots reaching back 3,000 years. The Greek language dates back at least 3,500 years, and modern Greek preserves many elements of its classical predecessor.
Greek education is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 15. English language study is compulsory from 4th grade through high school. University education, including books, is also free, contingent upon the student's ability to meet stiff entrance requirements. Overall responsibility for education rests with the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs. Private primary and secondary schools are under the authority of the Ministry of National Education. Control is mainly exercised in matters of curriculum and competence of teaching staff, as well as financial control in connection with fee collection and increases in fees. The Greek constitution does not permit the operation of private universities in Greece. Private colleges and universities (mostly foreign), however, do have campuses in Greece in spite of the fact that their degrees are not recognized by the Greek state.
Low salaries and recent legislation aimed at teacher evaluation have prompted a new wave of demonstrations and protests. Delay, on behalf of the state, to supply students with textbooks, lack of supplies, labs, and computers are matters of concern for Greek parents and educators.
A high percentage of the student population seeks higher education. About 295,000 students are registered at Greek universities, and 15% of the population currently holds a university degree. Entrance to a university is determined by state-administered exams, the candidate's grade-point average from high school, and his/her priority choices of major. About three in four candidates gain admission to Greek universities and/or technical educational institutions but rarely at the institution and major of their preference.
A large number of students, mainly those who are excluded from university admission or are admitted by less the respected technical educational institutions, pursue higher education abroad. When they return, they present their degrees to the official body of the Ministry of Education responsible for awarding recognition and equivalence of foreign university degrees. This body decides, through an evaluation procedure, whether to recognize degrees from specific foreign universities as a qualification for public sector hiring. Other students attend private, post-secondary educational institutions in Greece that are not recognized by the Greek Government.
The number of Greek students studying at European institutions is increasing along with EU support for educational exchange. In addition, nearly 5,000 Greeks are studying in the United States, about half of whom are in graduate school. Greek per capita student representation in the U.S. is the highest of any European country.
Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion in Greece and receives state funding. During the centuries of Ottoman domination, the Greek Orthodox Church preserved the Greek language and cultural identity and was an important rallying point in the struggle for independence. There is a Muslim religious minority concentrated in Thrace. Smaller religious communities in Greece include Old Calendar Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mormons.
Surveys show that most Greeks get their news from television. In 1988, a new law provided the legal framework for the establishment of private radio stations and, as of 1989, private television stations. Although official licensing has been delayed for many years, Greece now has about 140 television stations and 1,000 radio stations supplementing the 4,500 print publications throughout the country.
In 1994, the Ministry of Press and Information was established to deal with media and communication issues. State broadcaster ERT is nominally part of the Ministry and operates three national television channels and five national radio stations. The Minister of Press serves as the government spokesperson.
The Ministry also administers the Athens News Agency (APE), whose daily Bulletin is a primary source of information for the Greek press. The same Ministry also issues the Macedonian News Agency (MPE) Bulletin, which is distributed throughout the Balkan region. For international news, CNN is a particular influence in the Greek market; the major TV channels often use it as a source. A few papers and stations have overseas correspondents, including in the United States.