Top banner
The World Factbook Banner

Flag of Greece
Click to enlarge
Categories Banner
 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

Map of Greece

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Greece Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Greece achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1829. During the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, it gradually added neighboring islands and territories, most with Greek-speaking populations. In World War II, Greece was first invaded by Italy (1940) and subsequently occupied by Germany (1941-44); fighting endured in a protracted civil war between supporters of the king and Communist rebels. Following the latter's defeat in 1949, Greece joined NATO in 1952. A military dictatorship, which in 1967 suspended many political liberties and forced the king to flee the country, lasted seven years. The 1974 democratic elections and a referendum created a parliamentary republic and abolished the monarchy. In 1981 Greece joined the EC (now the EU); it became the 12th member of the euro zone in 2001.
   Geography    Greece Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
39 00 N, 22 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 131,940 sq km
land: 130,800 sq km
water: 1,140 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than Alabama
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1,228 km
border countries: Albania 282 km, Bulgaria 494 km, Turkey 206 km, Macedonia 246 km
Definition Field Listing
13,676 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Definition Field Listing
temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summers
Definition Field Listing
mostly mountains with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Olympus 2,917 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
lignite, petroleum, iron ore, bauxite, lead, zinc, nickel, magnesite, marble, salt, hydropower potential
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 20.45%
permanent crops: 8.59%
other: 70.96% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
14,530 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
severe earthquakes
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
air pollution; water pollution
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
strategic location dominating the Aegean Sea and southern approach to Turkish Straits; a peninsular country, possessing an archipelago of about 2,000 islands
   People    Greece Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10,688,058 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 14.3% (male 790,291/female 742,902)
15-64 years: 66.7% (male 3,562,251/female 3,566,097)
65 years and over: 19% (male 891,620/female 1,134,897) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 40.8 years
male: 39.7 years
female: 42 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.18% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.68 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10.24 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.34 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 5.43 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.97 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 79.24 years
male: 76.72 years
female: 81.91 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.34 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9,100 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 100 (2003 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Greek(s)
adjective: Greek
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Greek 98%, Turkish and other 2%
note: the Greek Government states there are no ethnic divisions in Greece
Definition Field Listing
Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
Definition Field Listing
Greek 99% (official), English, French
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.5%
male: 98.6%
female: 96.5% (2003 est.)
People - note:
Definition Field Listing
women, men, and children are trafficked to and within Greece for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor
   Government    Greece Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Hellenic Republic
conventional short form: Greece
local long form: Elliniki Dhimokratia
local short form: Ellas or Ellada
former: Kingdom of Greece
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
parliamentary republic
Definition Field Listing
name: Athens
geographic coordinates: 37 59 N, 23 44 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
51 prefectures (nomoi, singular - nomos) and 1 autonomous region*; Achaia, Agion Oros* (Mt. Athos), Aitolia kai Akarnania, Argolis, Arkadia, Arta, Attiki, Chalkidiki, Chanion, Chios, Dodekanisos, Drama, Evros, Evrytania, Evvoia, Florina, Fokidos, Fthiotis, Grevena, Ileia, Imathia, Ioannina, Irakleion, Karditsa, Kastoria, Kavala, Kefallinia, Kerkyra, Kilkis, Korinthia, Kozani, Kyklades, Lakonia, Larisa, Lasithi, Lefkas, Lesvos, Magnisia, Messinia, Pella, Pieria, Preveza, Rethynnis, Rodopi, Samos, Serrai, Thesprotia, Thessaloniki, Trikala, Voiotia, Xanthi, Zakynthos
Definition Field Listing
1829 (from the Ottoman Empire)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 25 March (1821)
Definition Field Listing
11 June 1975; amended March 1986 and April 2001
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on codified Roman law; judiciary divided into civil, criminal, and administrative courts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Karolos PAPOULIAS (since 12 March 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Konstandinos (Kostas) KARAMANLIS (since 7 March 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: president elected by parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 8 February 2005 (next to be held by February 2010); according to the Greek Constitution, presidents may only serve two terms; president appoints leader of the party securing plurality of vote in election to become prime minister and form a government
election results: Karolos PAPOULIAS elected president; number of parlimentary votes, 279 out of 300
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral Parliament or Vouli ton Ellinon (300 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: elections last held 7 March 2004 (next to be held by March 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - ND 45.4%, PASOK 40.6%, KKE 5.9%, Synaspismos 3.3%; seats by party - ND 165, PASOK 117, KKE 12, Synaspismos 6; note - as of December 2006, seats by party - ND 164, PASOK 113, KKE 12, Synaspismos 6, independents 5, other 6
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Judicial Court; Special Supreme Tribunal; all judges appointed for life by the president after consultation with a judicial council
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) [Alekos ALAVANOS]; Communist Party of Greece or KKE [Aleka PAPARIGA]; New Democracy or ND (conservative) [Konstandinos KARAMANLIS]; Panhellenic Socialist Movement or PASOK [Yiorgos PAPANDREOU]; Popular Orthodox Rally or LAOS [Yeoryios KARATZAFERIS]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
General Confederation of Greek Workers or GSEE [Khristos POLYZOGOPOULOS]; Federation of Greek Industries or SEV [Odysseas KYRIAKOPOULOS]; Civil Servants Confederation or ADEDY [Spyros PAPASPYROS]
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Alexandros P. MALLIAS
chancery: 2221 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-1300
FAX: [1] (202) 939-1324
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Tampa
consulate(s): Atlanta, Houston, New Orleans
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Charles P. RIES
embassy: 91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue, 10160 Athens
mailing address: PSC 108, APO AE 09842-0108
telephone: [30] (210) 721-2951
FAX: [30] (210) 645-6282
consulate(s) general: Thessaloniki
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
nine equal horizontal stripes of blue alternating with white; there is a blue square in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white cross; the cross symbolizes Greek Orthodoxy, the established religion of the country
   Economy    Greece Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Greece has a capitalist economy with the public sector accounting for about 40% of GDP and with per capita GDP at least 75% of the leading euro-zone economies. Tourism provides 15% of GDP. Immigrants make up nearly one-fifth of the work force, mainly in menial jobs. Greece is a major beneficiary of EU aid, equal to about 3.3% of annual GDP. The Greek economy grew by nearly 4.0% per year between 2003 and 2006, largely because of an investment boom and infrastructure upgrades for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Greece has not met the EU's Growth and Stability Pact budget deficit criteria of 3% of GDP since 2000. Public debt, inflation, and unemployment are above the euro-zone average. To overcome these challenges, the Greek Government is expected to continue cutting government spending, reducing the size of the public sector, and reforming the labor and pension systems, despite vocal opposition from the country's powerful labor unions and the general public.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$251.7 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$222.5 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.6% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$23,500 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 5.1%
industry: 20.6%
services: 74.4% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.88 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 12%
industry: 20%
services: 68% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.2% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 28.3% (1998 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
35.1 (2003)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.3% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
25.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $99.16 billion
expenditures: $106.7 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
104.6% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, olives, tomatoes, wine, tobacco, potatoes; beef, dairy products
Definition Field Listing
tourism, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products; mining, petroleum
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
55.51 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
53.5 billion kWh (2005 est.)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
1.5 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
3.4 billion kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5,401 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
435,700 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
84,720 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
468,300 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.5 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
23 million cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.34 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.641 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
991.1 million cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-21.37 billion (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$24.42 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
food and beverages, manufactured goods, petroleum products, chemicals, textiles
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 12.4%, Italy 10.4%, UK 6.7%, Bulgaria 5.9%, US 5.3%, Cyprus 5.2%, Turkey 5.1%, France 4.2% (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$59.12 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery, transport equipment, fuels, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 12.7%, Italy 12.4%, Russia 7.8%, France 5.7%, Netherlands 5.5%, Saudi Arabia 4.1% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$2.5 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$301.9 billion (30 June 2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$8 billion from EU (2000-06)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
euros per US dollar - 0.79987 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Greece Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.303 million (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10.043 million (2005)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: adequate, modern networks reach all areas; good mobile telephone and international service
domestic: microwave radio relay trunk system; extensive open-wire connections; submarine cable to offshore islands
international: country code - 30; tropospheric scatter; 8 submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), 1 Eutelsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Indian Ocean region)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 26, FM 88, shortwave 4 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
36 (plus 1,341 low-power repeaters); also two stations in the US Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (1995)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
587,717 (2006)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.8 million (2005)
   Transportation    Greece Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
82 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 66
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16
1,524 to 2,437 m: 19
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 9 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 13 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
8 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
gas 1,166 km; oil 94 km (2006)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 2,571 km
standard gauge: 1,565 km 1.435-m gauge (764 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 961 km 1.000-m gauge; 22 km 0.750-m gauge
dual gauge: 23 km combined 1.435 m and 1.000-m gauges (three rail system) (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 114,931 km
paved: 105,507 km (including 880 km of expressways)
unpaved: 9,424 km (2004)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6 km
note: Corinth Canal (6 km) crosses the Isthmus of Corinth; shortens sea voyage by 325 km (2006)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 817 ships (1000 GRT or over) 31,895,832 GRT/54,341,584 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 270, cargo 61, chemical tanker 47, container 47, liquefied gas 5, passenger 11, passenger/cargo 114, petroleum tanker 244, roll on/roll off 17, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 24 (Belgium 12, Cyprus 1, Hong Kong 1, UK 9, US 1)
registered in other countries: 2,363 (Bahamas 232, Barbados 11, Belgium 4, Belize 2, Bermuda 2, Cambodia 8, Cayman Islands 21, Comoros 10, Cyprus 337, Denmark 5, Dominica 5, Egypt 6, Georgia 8, Gibraltar 7, Honduras 3, Hong Kong 27, Isle of Man 45, Italy 6, Jamaica 6, North Korea 1, Lebanon 3, Liberia 267, Malta 495, Marshall Islands 199, Norway 1, Panama 524, Philippines 5, Portugal 4, Russia 1, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 82, Sao Tome and Principe 1, Singapore 9, Slovakia 4, UAE 2, UK 7, Uruguay 1, US 1, Venezuela 3, unknown 7) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Agioitheodoroi, Aspropyrgos, Irakleion, Pachi, Piraeus, Thessaloniki
   Military    Greece Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Hellenic Army (Ellinikos Stratos, ES), Hellenic Navy (Ellinikos Polemiko Navtiko, EPN), Hellenic Air Force (Elliniki Polimiki Aeroporia, EPA) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age for compulsory military service; during wartime the law allows for recruitment beginning January of the year of inductee's 18th birthday, thus including 17 year olds; 17 years of age for volunteers; conscript service obligation - 12 months for the Army, Air Force; 15 months for Navy; women are eligible for military service (2005)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 2,459,988
females age 18-49: 2,442,818 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 2,018,557
females age 18-49: 2,000,650 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 58,399
females age 18-49: 55,571 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.3% (2003)
   Transnational Issues    Greece Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Greece and Turkey continue discussions to resolve their complex maritime, air, territorial, and boundary disputes in the Aegean Sea; Cyprus question with Turkey; Greece rejects the use of the name Macedonia or Republic of Macedonia
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
a gateway to Europe for traffickers smuggling cannabis and heroin from the Middle East and Southwest Asia to the West and precursor chemicals to the East; some South American cocaine transits or is consumed in Greece; money laundering related to drug trafficking and organized crime

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

Bottom Banner