Country List | World Factbook Home
CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Greece
Flag of Greece
Map of Greece
Introduction Greece
Greece achieved its 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 with Greek-speaking populations. Following the defeat of Communist rebels 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. Democratic elections in 1974 and a referendum created a parliamentary republic and abolished the monarchy; Greece joined the European Community or EC in 1981 (which became the EU in 1992).
Geography Greece
Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey
Geographic coordinates:
39 00 N, 22 00 E
Map references:
total: 131,940 sq km
water: 1,140 sq km
land: 130,800 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Alabama
Land boundaries:
total: 1,228 km
border countries: Albania 282 km, Bulgaria 494 km, Turkey 206 km, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 246 km
13,676 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
territorial sea: 6 NM
temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summers
mostly mountains with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Olympus 2,917 m
Natural resources:
bauxite, lignite, magnesite, petroleum, marble, hydropower potential
Land use:
arable land: 22.12%
permanent crops: 8.47%
other: 69.41% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
14,220 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
severe earthquakes
Environment - current issues:
air pollution; water pollution
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, 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, Antarctic Treaty, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note:
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
10,645,343 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 14.8% (male 814,605; female 765,613)
15-64 years: 67.1% (male 3,579,945; female 3,564,068)
65 years and over: 18.1% (male 851,087; female 1,070,025) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.2% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
9.82 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
9.79 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
1.96 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
6.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.74 years
female: 81.48 years (2002 est.)
male: 76.17 years
Total fertility rate:
1.34 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.16% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
8,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 100 (1999 est.)
noun: Greek(s)
adjective: Greek
Ethnic groups:
Greek 98%, other 2%
note: the Greek Government states there are no ethnic divisions in Greece
Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
Greek 99% (official), English, French
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 98.5%
female: 96% (1999)
Government Greece
Country name:
conventional long form: Hellenic Republic
conventional short form: Greece
local short form: Ellas or Ellada
former: Kingdom of Greece
local long form: Elliniki Dhimokratia
Government type:
parliamentary republic; monarchy rejected by referendum 8 December 1974
Administrative divisions:
51 prefectures (nomoi, singular - nomos)and 1 autonomous region*; Agion Oros* (Mt. Athos), Achaia, Aitolia kai Akarmania, 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
1829 (from the Ottoman Empire)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 25 March (1821)
11 June 1975; amended March 1986 and April 2001
Legal system:
based on codified Roman law; judiciary divided into civil, criminal, and administrative courts
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Konstandinos (Kostis) STEPHANOPOULOS (since 10 March 1995)
elections: president elected by Parliament for a five-year term; election last held 8 February 2000 (next to be held by NA February 2005); prime minister appointed by the president
head of government: Prime Minister Konstandinos SIMITIS (since 19 January 1996)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
election results: Konstandinos STEPHANOPOULOS reelected president; percent of Parliament vote - 90%
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament or Vouli ton Ellinon (300 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: elections last held 9 April 2000 (next to be held by NA April 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party - PASOK 43.8%, ND 42.7%, KKE 5.5%, Coalition of the Left and Progress 3.2%; seats by party - PASOK 158, ND 125, KKE 11, Coalition of the Left and Progress 6; note - seats by party as of January 2002 - PASOK 156, ND 122, KKE 11, Coalition of the Left and Progress 6, independents 5
Judicial branch:
Supreme Judicial Court; Special Supreme Tribunal; all judges appointed for life by the president after consultation with a judicial council
Political parties and leaders:
Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) [Nikolaos KONSTANDOPOULOS]; Communist Party of Greece or KKE [Aleka PAPARIGA]; New Democracy or ND (conservative) [Konstandinos KARAMANLIS]; Panhellenic Socialist Movement or PASOK [Konstandinos SIMITIS]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Yeoryious SAVVAIDES
consulate(s): Atlanta, Houston, and New Orleans
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 939-1324
telephone: [1] (202) 939-1300
chancery: 2221 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas J. MILLER
embassy: 91 Vasilissis Sophias Avenue, 101 60 Athens
mailing address: PSC 108, APO AE 09842-0108
telephone: [30] (210) 721-2951
FAX: [30] (210) 725-3025
consulate(s) general: Thessaloniki
Flag description:
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
Economy - overview:
Greece has a mixed capitalist economy with the public sector accounting for about half of GDP and with per capita GDP 70% of the Big Four European 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 GDP. The economy has improved steadily over the last few years, as the government tightened policy in the run-up to Greece's entry into the EU's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) on 1 January 2001. Major challenges remaining include the reduction of unemployment and further restructuring of the economy, including privatizing several state enterprises, undertaking social security reforms, overhauling the tax system, and minimizing bureaucratic inefficiencies. Economic growth is forecast at roughly 4% in 2003.
purchasing power parity - $201.1 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.5% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $19,000 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 9%
industry: 22%
services: 70% (2000) (2000)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 25% (1993 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
33 (1993)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.6% (2002)
Labor force:
4.32 million (1999 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
industry 21%, agriculture 20%, services 59% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
10.3% (2002 est.)
revenues: $45 billion
expenditures: $47.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)
tourism; food and tobacco processing, textiles; chemicals, metal products; mining, petroleum
Industrial production growth rate:
7% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:
49.581 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 92%
hydro: 7%
other: 2% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
46.099 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
1.74 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
1.729 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, olives, tomatoes, wine, tobacco, potatoes; beef, dairy products
$12.6 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Exports - commodities:
food and beverages, manufactured goods, petroleum products, chemicals, textiles
Exports - partners:
EU 51.6% (Germany 15.9%, Italy 13.5%, UK 6.4%), US 5.7% (1999)
$31.4 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Imports - commodities:
machinery, transport equipment, fuels, chemicals
Imports - partners:
EU 66.2% (Italy 15.6%, Germany 15%, France 9.2%, Netherlands 6.4%) (1999)
Debt - external:
$63.4 billion (2002 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$5.4 billion from EU (1997 est.)
euro (EUR); drachma (GRD)
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
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175 (2001); drachmae per US dollar - 380.21 (December 2000), 365.40 (2000), 305.65 (1999), 295.53 (1998), 273.06 (1997)
note: in January 2001, the drachma became a participating currency within the Eurosystem, and the euro market rate became applicable to all transactions
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Greece
Telephones - main lines in use:
5.431 million (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
937,700 (1997)
Telephone system:
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: 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:
AM 26, FM 88, shortwave 4 (1998)
5.02 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
36 (plus 1,341 low-power repeaters); also two stations in the US Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (1995)
2.54 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
27 (2000)
Internet users:
1.4 million (2002)
Transportation Greece
total: 2,571 km
standard gauge: 1,565 km 1.435-m gauge (36 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 961 km 1.000-m gauge; 22 km 0.750-m gauge (a rack-type railway for steep grades)
dual gauge: 23 km combined 1.435-m and 1.000-m gauges (three rail system) (2001 est.)
total: 117,000 km
paved: 107,406 km (including 470 km of expressways)
unpaved: 9,594 km (1996)
80 km
note: system consists of three coastal canals including the Corinth Canal (6 km) which crosses the Isthmus of Corinth connecting the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf and shortens the sea voyage from the Adriatic to Peiraiefs (Piraeus) by 325 km; there are also three unconnected rivers
crude oil 26 km; petroleum products 547 km
Ports and harbors:
Alexandroupolis, Elefsis, Irakleion (Crete), Kavala, Kerkyra, Chalkis, Igoumenitsa, Lavrion, Patrai, Peiraiefs (Piraeus), Thessaloniki, Volos
Merchant marine:
total: 802 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 27,998,523 GRT/49,458,125 DWT
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Ireland 1, Japan 1, Liberia 1, Norway 1, Panama 2, Russia 1, Saudi Arabia 1, United Kingdom 1 (2002 est.)
ships by type: bulk 294, cargo 54, chemical tanker 25, combination bulk 7, combination ore/oil 5, container 45, liquefied gas 7, multi-functional large-load carrier 1, passenger 13, petroleum tanker 265, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 23, short-sea passenger 54, specialized tanker 4, vehicle carrier 2
79 (note - new Athens airport at Spata opened in March 2001) (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 66
over 3,047 m: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 9 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 19
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 13 14
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 10 (2002)
7 (2002)
Military Greece
Military branches:
Hellenic Army, Hellenic Navy, Hellenic Air Force, Police, National Guard
Military manpower - military age:
21 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 2,668,872 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 2,034,192 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 77,976 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$6.12 billion (FY99/00 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
4.91% (FY99/00 est.)
Transnational Issues Greece
Disputes - international:
Greece and Turkey have resumed discussions to resolve their complex maritime, air, territorial, and boundary disputes in the Aegean Sea; Cyprus question with Turkey; dispute with The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia over its name
Illicit drugs:
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 19 March 2003