Population. – The census of April 1951 attributed to Greece a population of 7,632,801 residents with a density of 57.6 residents per km 2 ; the increase that occurred from the 1940 census (7,335,675 residents) appears very modest. For the distribution in the individual regions and the population of the main cities, see table on page following. The official figures are still not always in agreement in indicating the percentage of alloglots (about 4%) as a large part of the 57,000 Aromuni living in the northern mountains, the 82,000 Bulgarians, the 70,000 Albanians and the minor groups are bilingual. There are about 150,000 Muslims in Greece, most of them living in centers in the northern part.
Economic conditions. – After the period of necessary adjustment in the immediate post-war period, agricultural production increased considerably and between 1956 and 1957 recorded an overall increase of 13% sustained above all by the high grain production. In fact, wheat from 14 million q in 1953 went to 17.5 million q in 1958; despite the increase in the harvest, wheat is always below local needs. From tobacco, olive oil and cotton, products are obtained that exceed the demands of the local market, although the harvests of 1958 (as can be seen in the table on the previous page) were significantly lower than those of previous years.
The livestock herd heavily decimated during the last war was rapidly reconstituting and in 1957 consisted (in thousands of heads) of 9275 sheep, 4894 goats, 981 cattle, 392 horses, 511 donkeys, 215 mules, 641 pigs. As a consequence of the significant increase in livestock farming, the production of milk and dairy products has increased considerably in recent times. Industrial expansion is evolving after the Second World War and in recent years has seen an increase, especially in the extractive industries, notably in the extraction of lignite from the Ptolemaís mine (in Macedonia) and in the start of use of a mine of nickel. Iron ores extracted in 1957 amounted to 165,000 t, bauxite 833,000 t.
Communications. – In 1957 2600 km of railways were in operation, of which 1516 km were state-owned, while in 1938 the railways were 2976 km. The improvement in communications is especially noticeable in the road sector where the 13,500 km of rolling roads of 1938 are matched by the 47,164 km of 1957, of which 5,724 km asphalted, and 14,500 artificial ground. The number of vehicles in 1958 amounted to 72,100, of which 39,000 were cars. Air connections within the state (Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete) are maintained by a national airline, while international connections almost all stop at Athens airport.
Communications and commercial traffic with foreign countries are maintained by the merchant navy which has filled the fearful gaps produced by the war; in September 1959 it had 1,005 ships with 5,132,232 tonnes; and reached the sixth place in the world rankings; considering the ship belonging to Greek shipowners but flying other flags, the number of ships rises to 1550 with 12,500,000 tonnes.
Commerce. – The imbalance that arose after the war between imports and exports has slowly diminished without however canceling itself out; among imports, those of food products tend to decrease as a result of the development of national production, but the demand for raw materials needed by industries is still very strong. Exports, which in 1957 had in millions of drachmas the value of 4287 for fruit and legumes, 492 for textiles, 583 for raw minerals, 437 for oils and oily fruits, had a slight contraction for tobacco. The trade recorded the following values from 1954 to 1958 (in millions of drachmas):
Finances. – The country’s economic progress has begun to consolidate only in recent years in a virtually free import regime. The slow accumulation of savings, due to mistrust in money, if it has meant the greatest problem for the banks in the last decade, for the state and productive activities has constituted a considerable obstacle. A large part of public spending was offset by American aid, with which a special development institute (since 1954) was also financed for the granting of loans to private companies (industrial and tourism).
In the last three years, the financial situation has improved considerably, in conjunction with the stabilization of prices and the levels of foreign exchange reserves, thanks to the recovery of tourism and the contributions of NATO for infrastructure works in the Greek territory. But the underlying problems (unemployment and lasting balance of payments) still await a solution that requires commitment to a massive program of industrialization and agricultural development. The official exchange rate is 30 drachmas for one US dollar Starting from May 25, 1959, with the introduction of the convertibility of the drachma for non-residents, the exchange rates per dollar oscillate from 25.85 to 30.15 drachmas respectively..