Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, but was conquered by Italy in 1939 and occupied by Germany in 1943. Communist partisans took over the country in 1944. Albania allied itself first with the USSR (until 1960), and then with China (to 1978). In the early 1990s, Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, dilapidated infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents.
Albania has made progress in its democratic development since first holding multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain. Most of Albania's post-communist elections were marred by claims of electoral fraud; however, international observers judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability following the collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997. Albania joined NATO in April 2009 and in June 2014 became a candidate for EU accession. Albania in November 2016 received a European Commission recommendation to open EU accession negotiations conditioned upon implementation of a judicial reform package passed the same year. Although Albania's economy continues to grow, it has slowed, and the country is still one of the poorest in Europe. A large informal economy and an inadequate energy and transportation infrastructure remain obstacles.



Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece to the south and Montenegro and Kosovo to the north

Geographic coordinates

41 00 N, 20 00 E

Map references



total: 28,748 sq km
land: 27,398 sq km
water: 1,350 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Maryland

Land boundaries

total: 691 km
border countries (4): Greece 212 km, Kosovo 112 km, Macedonia 181 km, Montenegro 186 km


362 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation


mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter


mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast


mean elevation: 708 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,764 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 43.8%
arable land 22.7%; permanent crops 2.7%; permanent pasture 18.4%
forest: 28.3%
other: 27.9% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

3,310 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought

Environment - current issues

deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)

People and Society

Ethnic groups

Albanian 82.6%, Greek 0.9%, other 1% (including Vlach, Roma (Gypsy), Macedonian, Montenegrin, and Egyptian), unspecified 15.5% (2011 est.)


3,038,594 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Albanian(s)
adjective: Albanian


Albanian 98.8% (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek 0.5%, other 0.6% (including Macedonian, Roma, Vlach, Turkish, Italian, and Serbo-Croatian), unspecified 0.1% (2011 est.)


Muslim 56.7%, Roman Catholic 10%, Orthodox 6.8%, atheist 2.5%, Bektashi (a Sufi order) 2.1%, other 5.7%, unspecified 16.2%
note: all mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice (2011 est.)

Birth rate

13.1 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 18.37% (male 295,022/female 263,141)
15-24 years: 18.09% (male 284,201/female 265,530)
25-54 years: 40.73% (male 589,707/female 648,021)
55-64 years: 11.23% (male 168,500/female 172,587)
65 years and over: 11.58% (male 165,076/female 186,809) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 44.8%
youth dependency ratio: 26.9%
elderly dependency ratio: 18%
potential support ratio: 5.6% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 32.5 years
male: 31.2 years
female: 33.8 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

0.31% (2016 est.)

Death rate

6.7 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

-3.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Population distribution

a fairly even distribution, with somewhat higher concentrations of people in the western and central parts of the country


urban population: 57.4% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.21% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

TIRANA (capital) 454,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.1 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.12 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Child labor - children ages 5-14

total number: 72,818
percentage: 12% (2005 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

29 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 12.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 78.3 years
male: 75.7 years
female: 81.2 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.51 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

69.3% (2008/09)

Health expenditures

5.9% of GDP (2014)

Physicians density

1.15 physicians/1,000 population (2013)

Hospital bed density

2.6 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

urban: 84.3% of population
rural: 81.8% of population
total: 83.6% of population
urban: 15.7% of population
rural: 18.2% of population
total: 16.4% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 95.5% of population
rural: 90.2% of population
total: 93.2% of population
urban: 4.5% of population
rural: 9.8% of population
total: 6.8% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.04% (2013 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Obesity - adult prevalence rate

18.1% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

6.3% (2009)

Education expenditures

3.5% of GDP (2013)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.6%
male: 98.4%
female: 96.9% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 16 years (2014)

Mother's mean age at first birth

25 (2010 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 30.2%
male: 32.5%
female: 26.1% (2013 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Albania
conventional short form: Albania
local long form: Republika e Shqiperise
local short form: Shqiperia
former: People's Socialist Republic of Albania
etymology: the English-language country name seems to be derived from the ancient Illyrian tribe of the Albani; the native name "Shqiperia" is popularly interpreted to mean "Land of the eagles"

Government type

parliamentary republic


name: Tirana (Tirane)
geographic coordinates: 41 19 N, 19 49 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions

12 counties (qarqe, singular - qark); Berat, Diber, Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Korce, Kukes, Lezhe, Shkoder, Tirane, Vlore


28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire)

National holiday

Independence Day, 28 November (1912) also known as Flag Day


history: several previous; latest approved by the Assembly 21 October 1998, adopted by referendum 22 November 1998, promulgated 28 November 1998; amended several times, last in 2012
amendments: proposed by at least one-fifth of Assembly members; approval required by at least two-thirds vote of members; referendum required only if approved by two-thirds of Assembly; amendments approved by referendum effective upon declaration by the president of the republic; amended several times, last in 2012 (2016)

Legal system

civil law system except in the northern rural areas where customary law known as the "Code of Leke" prevails

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Albania
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President of the Republic Bujar NISHANI (since 24 July 2012)
head of government: Prime Minister Edi RAMA (since 10 September 2013); Deputy Prime Minister Niko PELESHI
cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, nominated by the president, and approved by the Assembly
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the Assembly for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); a candidate needs three-fifths majority vote of the Assembly in 1 of 3 rounds or a simple majority in 2 additional rounds to become president; election last held in 4 rounds during the period 30 May-11 June 2012 (next election to be held in 2017); prime minister appointed by the president on the proposal of the majority party or coalition of parties in the Assembly
election results: Bujar NISHANI elected president; Assembly vote - 73 of 140 in fourth round

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Assembly or Kuvendi (140 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 23 June 2013 (next to be held in 2017)
election results: percent of vote by party - PS 41.36%, PD 30.63%, LSI 10.46%, PR 3.02%, PDIU 2.61%, other 11.92%; seats by party - PS 65, PD 50, LSI 16, PDIU 4, PR 3, other 2; seats by parliamentary group as of April 2015 - ASHE 88, APMI 50, 2 - outside of the majority and opposition groups

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of 150 judges organized into 4 divisions: civil and commercial; social security and labor; criminal; and administrative; Constitutional Council (consists of 9 members including the court president); note - Algeria's judicial system does not include sharia courts
judge selection and term of office: Constitutional Court judges appointed by the president with the consent of the Assembly to serve single 9-year terms with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years; chairman elected by the People's Assembly for a single 3-year term; Court of Cassation judges, including the chairman, appointed by the president with the consent of the Assembly to serve single 9-year terms)
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance

Political parties and leaders

Alliance for Employment, Welfare, and Integration or APMI (coalition of 24 centrist and center-right parties) [Sali BERISHA]:
Christian Democratic Party or PDK [Nard NDOKA]
Democratic Party or PD [Lulzim BASHA]
Movement for National Development of LZHK [Dashamir SHEHI]
Republican Party or PR [Fatmir MEDIU]
Alliance for a European Albania or ASHE (coalition of 38 parties from far left to right wing) [Edi RAMA]:
Christian Democratic Party of PKD [Mark FRROKU]
Party for Justice, Integration and Unity or PDIU [Shpetim IDRIZI] (formerly part of APMI)
Socialist Movement for Integration or LSI [Ilir META]
Socialist Party or PS [Edi RAMA]
Union for Human Rights Party or PBDNJ [Vangjel DULE]
other parties:
New Democratic Spirit or FRD [Bamir TOPI]
note: only the major parties of each coalition are listed

Political pressure groups and leaders

Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania or KSSH [Kol NIKOLLAJ]
Omonia [Vasil BOLLANO]
Union of Independent Trade Unions of Albania or BSPSH [Gezim KALAJA]

International organization participation

BSEC, CD, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, EITI (compliant country), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SELEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Floreta FABER (since 18 May 2015)
chancery: 1312 18th Street NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 223-4942
FAX: [1] (202) 628-7342
consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Donald LU (since 13 January 2015)
embassy: Rruga e Elbasanit, 103, Tirana
mailing address: US Department of State, 9510 Tirana Place, Dulles, VA 20189-9510
telephone: [355] (4) 2247-285
FAX: [355] (4) 2232-222

Flag description

red with a black two-headed eagle in the center; the design is claimed to be that of 15th-century hero George Kastrioti SKANDERBEG, who led a successful uprising against the Ottoman Turks that resulted in a short-lived independence for some Albanian regions (1443-78); an unsubstantiated explanation for the eagle symbol is the tradition that Albanians see themselves as descendants of the eagle; they refer to themselves as "Shqiptare," which translates as "sons of the eagle"

National symbol(s)

double-headed eagle; national colors: red, black

National anthem

name: "Hymni i Flamurit" (Hymn to the Flag)
lyrics/music: Aleksander Stavre DRENOVA/Ciprian PORUMBESCU
note: adopted 1912


Population below poverty line

14.3% (2012 est.)

Economy - overview

Albania, a formerly closed, centrally-planned state, is a developing country with a modern open-market economy. Albania managed to weather the first waves of the global financial crisis but, more recently, the negative effects of the crisis have caused a

Remittances, a significant catalyst for economic growth, declined from 12-15% of GDP before the 2008 financial crisis to 5.7% of GDP in 2014, mostly from Albanians residing in Greece and Italy. The agricultural sector, which accounts for almost half of em

Albania’s electricity supply is uneven despite upgraded transmission capacities with neighboring countries. Technical and non-technical losses in electricity - including theft and non-payment - continue to undermine the financial viability of the entire s

Inward FDI has increased significantly in recent years as the government has embarked on an ambitious program to improve the business climate through fiscal and legislative reforms. The government is focused on the simplification of licensing requirements

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$34.21 billion (2016 est.)
$33.09 billion (2015 est.)
$32.2 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
unreported output may be as large as 50% of official GDP

GDP (official exchange rate)

$12.14 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

3.4% (2016 est.)
2.8% (2015 est.)
1.8% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$11,900 (2016 est.)
$11,500 (2015 est.)
$11,100 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

15.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
15% of GDP (2015 est.)
13% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 85.7%
government consumption: 10.4%
investment in fixed capital: 27.6%
investment in inventories: 1.5%
exports of goods and services: 37.1%
imports of goods and services: -62.3% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 21.6%
industry: 14.9%
services: 63.5%
(2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes; meat, dairy products; sheep


food and tobacco products; textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower

Industrial production growth rate

2.9% (2016 est.)

Labor force

1.179 million (2016 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 41.8%
industry: 11.4%
services: 46.8% (December 2014 est)

Unemployment rate

17.3% (2015 est.)
17.5% (2014 est.)
note: these official rates may not include those working at near-subsistence farming

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 4.1%
highest 10%: 20.5% (2012)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

29 (2012 est.)
30 (2008 est.)


revenues: $3.203 billion
expenditures: $3.546 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

26.4% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

71% of GDP (2016 est.)
71.4% of GDP (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.2% (2016 est.)
1.9% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

2.25% (31 December 2014)
3% (31 December 2013)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

9.1% (31 December 2016 est.)
8.7% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$3.01 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.054 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$5.588 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.756 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$7.008 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.18 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares


Current account balance

-$1.612 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.281 billion (2015 est.)


$810.5 million (2016 est.)
$854.7 million (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

textiles, footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco

Exports - partners

Italy 43.4%, Kosovo 9.8%, US 7.7%, China 6.2%, Greece 5.3%, Spain 4.8% (2015)


$3.613 billion (2016 est.)
$3.402 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals

Imports - partners

Italy 33.5%, China 10.1%, Greece 9%, Turkey 6.7%, Germany 5.2% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$3.213 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.139 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$7.797 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.716 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$5.557 billion (31 December 2013)
$4.994 billion (31 December 2012)

Exchange rates

leke (ALL) per US dollar -
127.4 (2016 est.)
125.96 (2015 est.)
125.96 (2014 est.)
105.48 (2013 est.)
108.19 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Electricity - production

4.7 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

7.793 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

288.5 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - imports

3.355 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

1.9 million kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

5.2% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

94.8% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Crude oil - production

20,160 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

23,320 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

200 million bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

753.2 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

27,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

614.1 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

28,330 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

32 million cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

32 million cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

821.2 million cu m (1 January 2016 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

4.3 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 226,718
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 7 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 3.401 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 112 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: despite new investment in fixed lines, teledensity remains low with roughly 10 fixed lines per 100 people; mobile-cellular telephone use is widespread and generally effective
domestic: offsetting the shortage of fixed-line capacity, mobile-cellular phone service has been available since 1996; by 2011, multiple companies were providing mobile services, and mobile teledensity had reached 100 per 100 persons; Internet broadband services in
international: country code - 355; submarine cable provides connectivity to Italy, Croatia, and Greece; the Trans-Balkan Line, a combination submarine cable and land fiber-optic system, provides additional connectivity to Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Turkey; international t (2015)

Broadcast media

3 public TV networks, one of which transmits by satellite to Albanian-language communities in neighboring countries; more than 60 private TV stations; many viewers can pick up Italian and Greek TV broadcasts via terrestrial reception; cable TV service is (2010)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 1.916 million
percent of population: 63.2% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 1
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 151,632
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 0 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

ZA (2016)


4 (2016)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)


1 (2013)


gas 331 km; oil 249 km (2013)


total: 677 km
standard gauge: 677 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)


total: 18,000 km
paved: 7,020 km
unpaved: 10,980 km (2002)


41 km (on the Bojana River) (2011)

Merchant marine

total: 17
by type: cargo 16, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 1 (Turkey 1)
registered in other countries: 5 (Antigua and Barbuda 1, Panama 4) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore


Military branches

Land Forces Command, Navy Force Command, Air Forces Command (2013)

Military service age and obligation

19 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; 18 is the legal minimum age in case of general/partial compulsory mobilization (2012)

Military expenditures

0.85% of GDP (2015)
1.04% of GDP (2014)
1.5% of GDP (2013)
1.47% of GDP (2012)
1.52% of GDP (2011)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 7,442 (2015)

Illicit drugs

increasingly active transshipment point for Southwest Asian opiates, hashish, and cannabis transiting the Balkan route and - to a lesser extent - cocaine from South America destined for Western Europe; limited opium and expanding cannabis production; ethnic Albanian narcotrafficking organizations active and expanding in Europe; vulnerable to money laundering associated with regional trafficking in narcotics, arms, contraband, and illegal aliens