Return to Main Page
Return to Country Files

Geography - note: strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea).

total: 28,750 sq km
land: 27,400 sq km
water: 1,350 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Maryland.

Coastline: 362 km

Climate: mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter.

Terrain: mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast.

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, timber, nickel.

Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluen

Population: 3,299,757 (July 1997 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 34% (male 575,087; female 534,618)
15-64 years: 60% (male 927,791; female 1,068,922)
65 years and over: 6% (male 80,135; female 113,204) (July 1997 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.9% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 21.96 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 7.54 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 47.1 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population : 68.28 years
male: 65.24 years
female: 71.55 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.64 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Ethnic groups: Albanian 95%, Greeks 3%, other 2% (Vlachs, Gypsies, Serbs, and Bulgarians) (1989 est.)
note: in 1989, other estimates of the Greek population ranged from 1% (official Albanian statistics) to 12% (from a Greek organization)

Religions: Muslim 70%, Albanian Orthodox 20%, Roman Catholic 10%
note: all mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice.

Languages: Albanian (Tosk is the official dialect), Greek

definition: age 9 and over can read and write
total population: 72%
male: 80%
female: 63% (1955 est.)

National capital: Tirane

Independence: 28 November 1912 (from Ottoman Empire)

National holiday: Independence Day, 28 November (1912)

Constitution: an interim basic law was approved by the People's Assembly on 29 April 1991; a draft constitution was rejected by popular referendum in the fall of 1994 and a new draft is pending.

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Political parties and leaders: Albanian Socialist Party or PS (formerly the Albania Workers Party) [Fatos NANO, chairman]; Democratic Party or PD [Tritan SHEHU]; Albanian Republican Party or PR [Sabri GODO]; Social Democratic Party or SDP [Skender GJINUSHI]; Democratic Alliance Party or DAP [Neritan CEKA, chairman]; Unity for Human Rights Party or PBDNJ [Vasil MELO, chairman]; Movement for Democracy Party or LDP [ruled by committee of Genc RULI, Alfred SERREQI, Dashimir SHEHI, Maksim KONOMI]; Balli
Kombetar [Hysen SELFO].

Economy - overview: An extremely poor country by European standards, Albania is making the difficult transition to a more open-market economy. The economy rebounded in 1993-95 after a severe depression accompanying the collapse of the previous centrally planned system in 1990 and 1991. However, a weakening of government resolve to maintain stabilization policies in the election year of 1996 contributed to renewal of inflationary pressures, spurred by the budget deficit which exceeded 12%. The collapse of financial pyramid schemes in early 1997 - which had attracted deposits from a substantial portion of Albania's adult population - triggered unrest in much of the south in early 1997. The economy continues to be buoyed by remittances of some 20% of the labor force which works abroad, mostly in Greece and Italy. These remittances supplement GDP and help offset the large foreign trade deficit. Most agricultural land was privatized in 1992, substantially improving peasant incomes. Overall economic performance is likely to be substantially worse in 1997; inflation will easily top
50% and GDP may drop by 5% or more.

GDP - real growth rate: 5% (1996 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 56%
industry: 21%
services: 23% (1995)

Agriculture - products: wide range of temperate-zone crops and livestock

total value: $205 million (f.o.b., 1995)
commodities : asphalt, metals and metallic ores, electricity, crude oil, vegetables, fruits, tobacco
partners: Italy, US, Greece, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

total value: $680 million (f.o.b., 1995)
commodities : machinery, consumer goods, grains
partners: Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Debt - external: $500 million (1994 est.)

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 738,082 (1997 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: 600,403 (1997 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $42 million (1996)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.5% to 2.0% (1996)

                                                                                                       Return to Main Page
                                                                                                       Return to Country Files