Facts about Creece

Facts about Creece

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 European Economic and Monetary Union in 2001.


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
land: 130,800 sq km
water: 1,140 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, Macedonia 246 km
13,676 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
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:
lignite, petroleum, iron ore, bauxite, lead, zinc, nickel, magnesite, marble, salt, hydropower potential
Land use:
arable land: 20.45%
permanent crops: 8.59%
other: 70.96% (2005)
Irrigated land:
14,530 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
72 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

 total: 8.7 cu km/yr (16%/3%/81%)
per capita: 782 cu m/yr (1997)

Natural hazards:
severe earthquakes
Environment - current issues:

air pollution; water pollution
Environment - international agreements:

 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:
strategic location dominating the Aegean Sea and southern approach to Turkish Straits; a peninsular country, possessing an archipelago of about 2,000 islands


10,722,816 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 14.3% (male 789,137/female 742,469)
15-64 years: 66.6% (male 3,568,101/female 3,575,572)
65 years and over: 19.1% (male 898,337/female 1,149,200) (2008 est.)
Median age:
total: 41.5 years
male: 40.4 years
female: 42.6 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.146% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
9.54 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
10.42 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.33 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
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: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 5.25 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.77 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.52 years
male: 76.98 years
female: 82.21 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.36 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

9,100 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 100 (2003 est.)
noun: Greek(s)
adjective: Greek
Ethnic groups:
population: Greek 93%, other (foreign citizens) 7% (2001 census)
note: percents represent citizenship, since Greece does not collect data on ethnicity
Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%
Greek 99% (official), other 1% (includes English and French)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96%
male: 97.8%
female: 94.2% (2001 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 17 years
male: 17 years
female: 17 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
4.4% (2005)


Country name:
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:
parliamentary republic
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:
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
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; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:

chief of state: President Karolos PAPOULIAS (since 12 March 2005)

 head of government: Prime Minister Georgios Andreas PAPANDREOU (since 6 October 2009)

 cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
 elections: president elected by parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 3 February 2010 (next to be held by February 2015); president appoints leader of the party securing plurality of vote in election to become prime minister and form a government

 election results: Karolos PAPOULIAS reelected president; number of parliamentary votes, 266 out of 300

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 16 September 2007 (next to be held by 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - ND 41.8%, PASOK 38.1%, KKE 8.2%, Synaspismos 5%, LAOS 3.8%, other 3.1%; seats by party - ND 152, PASOK 102, KKE 22, Synaspismos 14, LAOS 10
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) [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:
Civil Servants Confederation or ADEDY [Spyros PAPASPYROS]; Federation of Greek Industries or SEV [Dimitris DASKALOPOULOS]; General Confederation of Greek Workers or GSEE [Ioannis PANAGOPOULOS]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
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
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Daniel V. SPECKHARD
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:
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 - overview:
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 agricultural and unskilled 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 2007, due partly to infrastructural spending related to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, and in part to an increased availability of credit, which has sustained record levels of consumer spending. Greece violated the EU's Growth and Stability Pact budget deficit criteria of no more than 3% of GDP from 2001 to 2006, but finally met that criteria in 2007. Public debt, inflation, and unemployment are above the euro-zone average, but are falling. The Greek Government continues to grapple with cutting government spending, reducing the size of the public sector, and reforming the labor and pension systems, in the face of often vocal opposition from the country's powerful labor unions and the general public. The economy remains an important domestic political issue in Greece and, while the ruling New Democracy government has had some success in improving economic growth and reducing the budget deficit, Athens faces long-term challenges in its effort to continue its economic reforms, especially social security reform and privatization.
GDP (purchasing power parity):

$324.6 billion (2007 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$314.6 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$29,200 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 3.6%
industry: 24.8%
services: 71.6% (2007 est.)
Labor force:
4.92 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 12%
industry: 20%
services: 68% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate:
8.3% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%:
highest 10%: 26% (2000 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:

33 (2005)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

3% (2007 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

 26.2% of GDP (2007 est.)

revenues: $111.8 billion
expenditures: $120.6 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:
89.7% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, olives, tomatoes, wine, tobacco, potatoes; beef, dairy products
tourism, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products; mining, petroleum
Industrial production growth rate:
3.2% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
56.13 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:

54.31 billion kWh (2005)

Electricity - exports:
1.836 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
5.616 billion kWh (2005)
Oil - production:
5,687 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
415,700 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
119,200 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
550,400 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
7 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
15.35 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:

2.724 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
2.707 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:

950.5 million cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
-$43.7 billion (2007 est.)
$23.91 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
food and beverages, manufactured goods, petroleum products, chemicals, textiles
Exports - partners:
Germany 11.4%, Italy 10.7%, Cyprus 6.5%, Bulgaria 6.4%, UK 5.4%, Romania 4.5%, France 4.2%, US 4.1% (2006)
$80.79 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:

machinery, transport equipment, fuels, chemical

Imports - partners:
Germany 12.9%, Italy 11.7%, Russia 5.6%, France 5.6%, China 5%, Netherlands 5% (2006)
Economic aid - donor:
$424 million (2006)
Economic aid - recipient:
$8 billion annually from EU (2000-06); Greece will receive about $3.8 billion per year between 2007-13 under the EU's Community Support Funds IV
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$3.658 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Debt - external:
$86.72 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$43.18 billion (2007 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$18.02 billion (2007 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

 $145 billion (2005)

Currency (code):
euro (EUR)
Exchange rates:
euros per US dollar - 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003)
Fiscal year:
calendar year


Telephones - main lines in use:

6.185 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular:

11.098 million (2006)
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: country code - 30; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 optical telecommunications submarine cable that provides links to Europe, Middle East, and Asia; a number of smaller submarine cables provide connectivity to various parts of Europe, the Middle East, and Cyprus; tropospheric scatter; satellite earth stations - 4 (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)
Television broadcast stations:

36 (plus 1,341 repeaters); also 2 stations in the US Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (1995)

Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
905,824 (2007)
Internet users:
2.048 million (2006)


81 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 66
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 15
1,524 to 2,437 m: 20
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 9 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 12 (2007)
9 (2007)
gas 1,166 km; oil 94 km (2007)
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) (2006)
total: 117,533 km
paved: 107,895 km (includes 880 km of expressways)
unpaved: 9,638 km (2005)
6 km
note: Corinth Canal (6 km) crosses the Isthmus of Corinth; shortens sea voyage by 325 km (2007)
Merchant marine:
total: 858 ships (1000 GRT or over) 35,952,084 GRT/61,815,586 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 255, cargo 64, carrier 1, chemical tanker 63, combination ore/oil 1, container 45, liquefied gas 8, passenger 13, passenger/cargo 115, petroleum tanker 276, roll on/roll off 15, specialized tanker 2
foreign-owned: 48 (Belgium 16, Cyprus 7, Turkey 1, UK 16, US 8)
registered in other countries: 2,365 (Antigua and Barbuda 2, Bahamas 204, Barbados 12, Belgium 1, Belize 1, Bermuda 9, Brazil 1, Cambodia 6, Cayman Islands 18, China 2, Comoros 8, Cyprus 271, Denmark 4, Dominica 9, Egypt 9, Georgia 6, Gibraltar 7, Honduras 2, Hong Kong 27, Isle of Man 46, Italy 8, Jamaica 8, Lebanon 2, Liberia 362, Maldives 1, Malta 451, Marshall Islands 265, North Korea 2, Norway 3, Panama 497, Philippines 3, Portugal 3, Russia 1, Sao Tome and Principe 1, Saudi Arabia 3, Sierra Leone 2, Singapore 14, Slovakia 2, St Kitts and Nevis 2, St Vincent and the Grenadines 76, Turkey 1, UAE 3, Uruguay 1, Vanuatu 1, Venezuela 3, unknown 5) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Agioitheodoroi, Aspropyrgos, Pachi, Piraeus, Thessaloniki


Military branches:
Hellenic Army (Ellinikos Stratos, ES), Hellenic Navy (Ellinikos Polemiko Navtiko, EPN), Hellenic Air Force (Elliniki Polimiki Aeroporia, EPA) (2007)
Military service age and obligation:
19-45 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 - 1 year for all services; women are eligible for voluntary military service (2008)
Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 2,535,174
females age 16-49: 2,517,273 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 2,084,469
females age 16-49: 2,065,956 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

males age 16-49: 53,858
females age 16-49: 50,488 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
4.3% (2005 est.)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:
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; the mass migration of unemployed Albanians still remains a problem for developed countries, chiefly Greece and Italy
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
* facts taken from ::: THE WORLD FACTBOOK