Country Listing

Cyprus Table of Contents



Population: Republic of Cyprus estimate of 575,000 in the government-controlled area at the end of 1990. Turkish Cypriots estimate their number at about 171,000 at mid-1990, about 40,000 higher than estimates of the Republic of Cyprus. Difference may stem in part from the tens of thousands of Turks who settled on the island after 1974. No de facto census since 1960.

Languages: Three principal languages: Greek, Turkish, and English. Knowledge and use of Greek and Turkish as second language, never common, declining further owing to de facto partition of the island; English the standard second language for Cypriots of both ethnic communities.

Religion: Virtually all Greek Cypriots are Greek Orthodox Christians, adherents of the autocephalous Church of Cyprus, headed by a synod composed of bishops and an elected archbishop. The Armenian Apostolic Church--another of the eastern Christian religions that does not recognize the authority of the pope in Rome--has minor following. Also small numbers of members of churches in full communion with Rome--Maronites and Roman Catholics. Turkish Cypriots are Muslims and form the second largest religious group.

Education and Literacy: Republic of Cyprus level of education high; literacy rate of 99 percent; illiteracy confined to the old. Free and compulsory education offered at preprimary, primary, and at secondary levels in academic and technical vocational high schools. Higher education available at specialized schools and at one university to open in early 1990s. Many Greek Cypriots studied at foreign universities.

[Turkish Cypriots established parallel system and also had high literacy rate. Although several universities in operation by 1990, some Turkish Cypriots received higher education abroad.]

Health: Republic of Cyprus health care provided both through public heath service administered by Ministry of Health and private sector. Lower income families entitled to free medical care and middle-income families to care at reduced rates. In 1990 six general hospitals and twenty-one rural health centers. Life expectancy 73.9 years for males and 77.8 years for females in 1990.

[Turkish Cypriots had extensive health care system administered by Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. In late 1980s, five state and four private hospitals and ten public health centers in addition to many clinics. Life expectancy 70 years for males and 72 years for females in 1979.]

Data as of January 1991