Demographics of the Ottoman Empire

Demographics of the Ottoman Empire

This article is about the demographic of the Ottoman Empire, including population density, ethnicity, education level, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.


Population size

Demographic data for the most of the history of the Ottoman Empire is not quite precise. For most of the five centuries of its existence, the empire did not have easily computable valid data except figures for the number of employed citizens. Until the first official census (1881–1893), data was derived from extending the taxation values to the total population. Because of the use of taxation data to infer population size, detailed data for numerous Ottoman urban centers - towns with more than 5000 inhabitants - is accurate. This data was collaborated with data on wages and prices. Another source was used for the numbers of landlords of households in the Ottoman Empire- every household was assumed to have 5 residents.[1]

The first official census (1881–1893) took 10 years to finish. In 1893 the results were compiled and presented. This census is the first modern, general and standardized census accomplished not for taxation nor for military purposes, but to acquire demographic data. The population was divided into ethno-religious and gender characteristics. Numbers of both male and female subjects are given in ethno-religious categories including Muslims, Greeks, Armenians, Bulgarians, Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Latins, Syriacs and Gypsies.[2][3]

After 1893 the Ottoman Empire established a statistics authority (Istatistik-i Umumi Idaresi) under which results of another official census was published in 1899.

Istatistik-i Umumi Idaresi conducted a new census survey for which field work lasted two years (1905–06). As a factual note this survey's complete (total) documentation was not published. Results of regional studies on this data were published later, which were sorted by their publication date. Included in the publication and subsequent ones was the Ottoman Empire's population as of 1911, 1912, and 1914. The substantial archival documentation on the census has been used in many modern studies and international publications. After 1906 the Ottoman Empire began to disband and a chain of violent wars such as the Italo-Turkish War, Balkan Wars and World War I drastically changed the region, its borders, and its demographics.

1520 1566 1683 1831 1856 The Administrative reform 1881-1893 1905–1906 1919
11692480[4] 15000000[5] 30000000[6] 7230660[4] 35350000[4] region map vilayet sanjaks 17388604[4] 20884000[4] 20975345[7] 14629000
Before Administrative reform
Prorportions des populations musulmanes grecques et armeniennes en AsieMineure d'apres la statistique du livreJaune.png
Proportions des populations en Asie Mineure statistique officielle d1914.png
link Bosnia Vilayet NoN NoN
Crete Province NoN
Cyprus Eyalet NoN
Danube Vilayet NoN
Eastern Rumelia Province NoN
Herzegovina Vilayet NoN
Janina Province NoN
Kosovo Province NoN
Monastir Province Region Lost NoN
link Salonica Province Region Lost NoN
Scutari Province
Tripolitania Province NoN
link Aegean Archipelago Province
Hejaz Province
link Adrianople Province NoN
Western vilayet Dardanelles
Western Istanbul sanjak of Uskudar
Asia Minor İzmit
link İzmir Vilayet sanjaks of Manisa İzmir Aydın Denizli Mentese
link Bursa Vilayet sanjaks of Balıkesir Bursa Erdogrul Kütahya Afyon
link Konya Vilayet sanjaks of Burdur Hamid abad Atalya Konya Nigde
link Kastamonu Vilayet sanjaks of Bolu Çankırı Kastamonu Sinop
link Ankara Vilayet sanjaks of Ankara Kırşehir Yozgat Kayseri
link Adana Vilayet sanjaks of Icel (Mersin) Adana Kozan Osmaniye
link Trebizond Vilayet sanjaks of Samsun Trabzon Gümüşhane Lazistan
link Sivas Vilayet sanjaks of Sivas Tokat Amasya Şebinkarahisar
link Erzurum Vilayet
link Bitlis Vilayet sanjaks of Muş Genç Siirt
Diyâr-ı Bekr Vilayet sanjak of Diyarbakır and the mutasarrifate of Zor
Mamure-ul-Azil Vilayet
link Van Vilayet sanjaks of Van Hakkari
Ottoman Syria link Aleppo Vilayet (Haleb [Halep]) Region Lost
Deir ez-Zor Province Region Lost
Beirut Province Region Lost
Syria Province[8] Region Lost
Ottoman Iraq link Mosul Province (from 1879) sanjaks of Mosul Sehrizor (Kirkuk) Suleymaniyeh Region Lost
Baghdad Province Region Lost
Basra Province Region Lost
Tunis Eyalet NoN
9734405[9] Khedivate of Egypt

Population maps

Special Reports

During the World War I; The treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire was a book by Viscount Bryce and Arnold J. Toynbee which compiled statements from eyewitnesses from other countries including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland, who similarly attested to Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during 1915-1916. The publication presents Arnold J. Toynbee's analysis on Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire. A summary table of his analysis included in the page page 199. In the "vilayet of Van", there were two portions, portions in modern use corresponds to county. As explained by Arnold J. Toynbee in the footprint at page 199, he developed his analysis by excluding certain portions of the province where he said "Armenians were a minor". Arnold Toynbee in finding the ratio of Armenians in vilayet of Van; he removed the values originating from portions of Van (listed in the foot print) where Armenians were in minority. The presented table in page 1999 shows the re-calculated values by Arnold J. Toynbee of these selected provinces using values of the parts (counties, sanjacks) which Armenians were not in minority. The presented map shows the re-calculated values of the stated provinces using values where Armenians are not in minority.

See also

Articles discussing the demographics of the Ottoman Empire:


  1. ^ Behar, Cem, ed. 1996. Osmanlı Đmparatorluğu'nun ve Türkiye'nin nüfusu, 1500-1927. Ankara: T.C. Basbakanlık Devlet Đstatistik Enstitüsü = State Institute of Statistics Prime Ministry Republic of Turkey.
  2. ^ (Karpat & 1978 pp.237-274)
  3. ^ (Shaw & 1978 p.323-338)
  4. ^ a b c d e Kabadayı p3
  5. ^ (Kinross & 1979 p. 206)
  6. ^ (Kinross & 1979 p. 281)
  7. ^ (Shaw 1977, pp. 239–241)
  8. ^ Damascus
  9. ^ McCarthy J. 1976. Nineteenth-Century Egyptian Population. Middle Eastern Studies 12.3: 1–39; Panzac D. 1987. The Population of Egypt in the Nineteenth Century. Asian and African Studies 21: 11–32.


  • Shaw, Stanford Jay; Shaw, Ezel Kural (1977). History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Cambridge University Press. 
  • Shaw, Stanford. 1978. The Ottoman Census System and Population, 1831-1914. International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (9):323-338.
  • Karpat, Kemal. 1978. Ottoman Population Records and the Census of 1881/82-1893. International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (9):237-274.
  • L. Kinross, The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire, 1979
  • M. Kabadayı, Inventory for the Ottoman Empire / Turkish Republic 1500–2000 [1]

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