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2.2 million people moved from İstanbul in last 5 years: official data

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Approximately 2.2 million people moved from İstanbul to other cities in Turkey in the past five years in search of better housing and living conditions, Euronews Turkish edition reported over the weekend, citing data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).

According to the data covering the five years from 2018 to 2022, 2,182,000 people left İstanbul for other cities, with the figure dropping from 596,000 in 2018 to 378,000 in 2019 before gradually increasing again and surpassing 418,000 in 2022.

The data show that the main reason people left İstanbul between 2018 and 2022 was due to a household or family member. Some 95,000 people left the city for this reason last year, accounting for 22.8 percent of all departures.

The second most significant reason for the exodus from the city in 2022 was “better housing and living conditions,” with more than 92,000 people leaving İstanbul for this reason, corresponding to 22.1 percent of all who left.

According to the statistics, some 462,000 people have departed İstanbul for “better housing and living conditions” in the last five years.

Meanwhile, a total of 1,983,000 people moved to İstanbul in the last five years between 2018 and 2022, with the net migration figure in İstanbul over the same period being 199,000.

Net migration is the difference between incoming and outgoing migration in cities.

According to data from the Interior Ministry’s Directorate of Migration Management on Oct. 12, there are 532,000 Syrians under temporary protection in İstanbul. The city’s population, including Syrians, is 16,440,000, indicating that 32 out of every 1,000 residents in the city are Syrians.

Dr. Buğra Gökçe, İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality deputy secretary-general, said, citing water consumption data from the İstanbul Water and Sewer Administration (İSKİ), that there are approximately 2.5 million foreigners living in İstanbul.

Gökçe also referred to data from the İstanbul Planning Agency (IPA), which was established in 2020 under the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality, saying that as of October 2023, the average rent in İstanbul has approached around TL 13,300 ($474). Consequently, the rate at which the minimum wage covers rent has dropped to 85 percent. Retirement pensions, on the other hand, can only cover around 40 percent of the average rent.

According to the İstanbul Barometer Report, showing the results of a survey conducted between Sept. 27 and Oct. 12 with the participation of 623 individuals, financial hardship is significantly affecting people residing in İstanbul.

When asked what was discussed most at home in September, 65 percent of respondents answered “financial problems.”

The participants stated that the top three problems in İstanbul are refugees and migrants at 52 percent, financial problems at 50 percent and traffic at 45 percent. Housing sales and rental prices, along with a potential earthquake in the city, follow these three concerns.

In 2001, two years after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake left 17,000 people dead in northwest Turkey, experts calculated a 65 percent probability that a quake with a magnitude above 7 would occur before 2030 in the same region — which includes İstanbul.

The risk climbs to 75 percent in 50 years and 95 percent in 90 years.

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