Cyprus : Society


Population density (per sq. km): 


Life expectancy: 
80 years
Primary enrolment: 

1,141,000 (2013); 67 per cent of people live in urban areas; growth 1.7 per cent p.a. 1990–2013; birth rate 11 per 1,000 people (19 in 1970); life expectancy 80 years (71 in 1970).

The population comprises Greek Cypriots (approximately 80 per cent) and Turkish Cypriots, and small populations of Armenians, Maronites and ‘Latins’ (the term used in Cyprus for Roman Catholics of European origin). The population of the occupied north was estimated at 257,000 in 2005, and included around 160,000 Turkish illegal settlers.


Official languages are Greek and Turkish. English is widely spoken; German and French spoken in tourist centres.


Most Greek Cypriots belong to the autocephalous Cypriot Orthodox Church; most Turkish Cypriots are Sunni Muslims. There are small religious groups of Maronites, Armenians, Roman Catholics and Anglicans.


Public spending on health was three per cent of GDP in 2012. In the Republic, medical care is free for government employees, displaced persons and low-income families, including in all about 65 per cent of the population. The government has proposed a national health insurance scheme. A new general hospital was built in Nicosia in the latter 1990s. Infant mortality was three per 1,000 live births in 2013 (30 in 1960).

The Government of Cyprus offers free treatment in government hospitals to all Turkish Cypriots residing in the occupied north.


Public spending on education was seven per cent of GDP in 2010. There are nine years of compulsory education starting at the age of six. Primary school comprises six years and secondary six, with two cycles each of three years. There are many private schools. Some 95 per cent of pupils complete primary school (2007). The school year starts in September.

The University of Cyprus is a bilingual (Greek and Turkish) university which opened in 1992. The other public universities are Cyprus University of Technology (2007) and Open University of Cyprus (2002). Private universities include the European University Cyprus (2007), which developed out of Cyprus College (1961); Frederick University (2007), which developed out of the Frederick Institute of Technology (1965); Neapolis University (Paphos, 2010); and University of Nicosia (2007), which developed out of Intercollege (1980). Other tertiary institutions include Cyprus Forestry College (1951); Higher Hotel Institute of Cyprus (1966); Higher Technical Institute (1968); Mediterranean Institute of Management (1976, postgraduate); Nursing School; and Cyprus International Institute of Management (1990). The female–male ratio for gross enrolment in tertiary education is 0.90:1 (2010). There is virtually no illiteracy among people aged 15–24.


There are several daily papers, most in Greek (including Phileleftheros, Politis, Simerini) but the Cyprus Mail is in English. Of the several bi-weekly, weekly and fortnightly papers, two (Cyprus Weekly and Financial Mirror) are in English.

The public radio and TV provider is the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, broadcasting in Greek, English, Turkish and Armenian. Private radio and TV stations compete with the public networks. The switch from analogue to digital TV was completed in July 2011.

There are 627 personal computers per 1,000 people (2012).


Country code 357; internet domain ‘.cy’. Mobile phone coverage is good.

For every 1,000 people there are 306 landlines, 952 mobile phone subscriptions and 655 internet users (2013).

Public holidays: 

New Year’s Day, Epiphany (6 January), Greek Independence Day (25 March), EOKA Day (1 April), Labour Day (1 May), Assumption (15 August), Independence Day (1 October), Ochi Day (28 October), Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day (26 December). Fixed-date holidays falling on a Saturday or Sunday are not moved.

Religious and other festivals whose dates vary from year to year include Green Monday (start of Lent, 50 days before Greek Orthodox Easter), Good Friday (Greek Orthodox), Easter Monday (Greek Orthodox) and Kataklysmos (Pentecost, 50 days after Greek Orthodox Easter).