Istanbul, one of the most populous cities in the world (its population is over 15 million as of 2024) where the continents of Europe and Asia seamlessly blend, is not just a historical and cultural gem, but also one of the world’s most populous cities. Nestled between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, this vibrant metropolis has been a beacon for travelers, traders, and empires for centuries.

With its rich tapestry of stories, Istanbul’s population has grown continuously, reflecting its magnetic allure and strategic significance. As we delve into the numbers and narratives of its inhabitants, we get a glimpse of the heartbeats that make Istanbul the dynamic city it is today. Here’s the population of Istanbul, year by year.

Istanbul’s current population is [2024]: 15,815,231

According to the Turkish Statistical Institute

İstanbul, a rapidly growing metropolis

Istanbul underwent a transformative expansion in the latter half of the 20th century. From 1950 to 2000, the city’s population soared, multiplying tenfold. A significant portion of this growth can be attributed to the broadening of city boundaries, especially during the pivotal period between 1980 and 1985. During these years, the number of residents in Istanbul almost doubled.

This impressive surge was predominantly driven by individuals from eastern Turkey, who flocked to the city, lured by the promise of job opportunities and a better standard of living. Intriguingly, Istanbul is now home to more people originating from several northern and eastern provinces than those provinces themselves. For instance, Sivas and Kastamonu have each contributed over half a million individuals to Istanbul’s burgeoning population.

Every year, Istanbul welcomes close to 200,000 new immigrants, a significant portion of whom hail from Turkey’s own rural villages. This consistent influx ensures that the city remains in a perpetual state of evolution, constantly adapting and transforming its landscape, infrastructure, and culture to accommodate the needs and aspirations of its newest residents.

This phrase indicates that due to the continuous inflow of new residents to the city, there’s a consistent demand for housing and commercial spaces. As a result, construction projects for both residential homes and business structures are perpetually underway. The city witnesses a relentless building activity to cater to the accommodation needs of the ever-growing population and the commercial demands of an expanding urban economy. This continuous construction not only reshapes the city’s skyline but also impacts its infrastructure, economy, and urban planning strategies.

Istanbul population graph [100 AD – 2024]

Istanbul population graph [1980-2024]

Istanbul population graph [2000-2024]

Istanbul population graph [2007-2024], year by year

The population of Istanbul, year by year

  1. 15,815,231
  2. 16,067,031
  3. 15,907,951
  4. 15,840,900
  5. 15,462,452
  6. 15,519,267
  7. 15,067,724
  8. 15,029,231
  9. 14,804,116
  10. 14,657,434
  11. 14,377,018
  12. 14,160,467
  13. 13,854,740
  14. 13,624,240
  15. 13,255,685
  16. 12,915,158
  17. 12,697,164
  18. 12,573,836
Population of Istanbul: Istanbul Bosphorus bridge at night.
İstanbul is the most populous city in Europe and the 15th largest city by population in the world. Photo: Bosphorus bridge at night on Deposit Photos

The population of Istanbul in the years between 1925-2000

  • 2000: 8,831,800
  • 1997: 8,260,400
  • 1994: 7,615,500
  • 1990: 6,620,200
  • 1985: 5,494,900
  • 1980: 2,853,500
  • 1975: 2,547,400
  • 1970: 2,132,400
  • 1965: 1,743,000
  • 1960: 1,459,500 Istanbul’s population goes over one million for the first time in history
  • 1950: 983,000
  • 1945: 845,300
  • 1940: 793,900
  • 1935: 740,800
  • 1927: 691,000
  • 1925: 881,000 The first census after the foundation of the Republic of Türkiye. In 1923, following the aftermath of World War I and the Turkish War of Independence, the Ottoman Empire dissolved. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk spearheaded reforms, leading to the establishment of the Republic of Türkiye on October 29. This pivotal transformation marked the birth of modern Turkey as a secular, nation-state.

The population of Istanbul before the modern Republic of Türkiye

  • 1900: 942,900
  • 1890: 874,000
  • 1860: 715,000
  • 1815: 500,000
  • 1700: 700,000
  • 1550: 660,000
  • 1500: 220,000
  • 1453: 45,000 [Fall of Constantinople. Ottoman Empire, led by Sultan Mehmed II, successfully besieged and captured the Byzantine Empire’s capital. This monumental event marked the end of the Byzantine Empire, concluding a millennium-long era and paving the way for the Ottomans’ dominance in southeastern Europe]
  • 1350: 80,000
  • 1261: 100,000 [Latin Empire]
  • 1200: 200,000
  • 1100: 400,000
  • 1000: 500,000
  • 9th century: 250,000
  • 8th century: 500,000
  • 7th century: 350,000
  • 541: 500,000 [Plague of Justinian. It killed at least a fifth of the population in the imperial capital. Originating in Asia and reaching Constantinople through infected rats on grain ships, it decimated the Byzantine Empire, killing millions in total. This pandemic persisted intermittently for over two centuries, weakening Byzantine defenses and contributing to its decline.]
  • 500: 400,000
  • 361: 300,000
  • 100: 36,000


Özgür Nevres

Published by Özgür Nevres

I am a software developer, a former road racing cyclist, and a science enthusiast. Also an animal lover! I write about the city of Istanbul on this website. I live in Istanbul since 1992.

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