Cyprus Table of Contents
Major demographic changes could also be seen in the distribution of the population between urban and rural areas in the past fifty years. From 1881 to 1911 there was almost no internal migration, and the rural population constituted 81 percent of the total. The first change was noted in the 1931 census, when 22 percent of the population was classified as town dwellers. In the following decades, especially in the period 1946-60, the urban proportion grew increasingly rapidly; the urban population increased by 78 percent in that period, while that of rural areas grew by only 10 percent. Some 36 percent of the island's population was concentrated in towns in 1960. The urban share increased to 42 percent by 1973. In this same period, the rural population actually declined by 0.7 percent.
Following the displacement of one-third of the population in 1974, the urban population in the government-controlled area rose to 52 percent in 1976 and 63.5 percent in 1983. Urbanization did not abate in the following years, for in 1986 fully 64 percent of the population living in government-controlled areas of Cyprus was urban-based. According to the republic's 1988 Demographic Report for those areas controlled by the government, 363,000 persons lived in urban areas and 199,300 in rural areas. Such a phenomenal change in the island's demographic composition could not fail to have significant repercussions in all areas of life.
The Nicosia district, historically the largest of the island's six districts, continued to expand at a faster rate than the other districts. In 1881 its population constituted 30 percent of the total; in 1973, it constituted 37 percent, and in 1986, it was up to 42 percent. In the late 1980s, its population was estimated at 234,000, despite the fact that a large part of Nicosia is in the occupied north; Limassol, the second largest district, had 91,500; Paphos, 49,500; and Famagusta, most of which is under Turkish occupation, 29,100.
Data as of January 1991