Turkey's rural population growing faster than cities'

Turkey's rural population has reached 6.3 million, adding 287,000 people in the past year, according to the latest figures by the state-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK).

"Proportion of population residing in province and district centers decreased to 92.3 percent in 2018, from 92.5 percent in 2017," the report said.

In Turkey, where the trend had long been a migration from rural areas to cities, the rate of population increase reached 47.6 per thousand people for villages, compared to 12.1 per thousand people in cities, according to TUIK. The figures show that the rural population makes up only 7.7 percent of the total population but the latest data indicates migration from cities to villages.

Turkey has attempted to reduce migration from rural areas to big cities, by granting low-interest loans to farmers and providing saplings to start tree nurseries. Meanwhile, the municipality of Istanbul offered free transportation for families moving back from cities to their rural hometowns.

Turkey's population grew by nearly 1.2 million in 2018 that surpassed 82 million, according to the TUIK figures released last week. Istanbul was again Turkey's most populous city, with over 15 million people, constituting 18.4 percent of the total population, while the western city of Afyon houses the most rural population, at 300,901 people.