The latest figures ahead of May 19, a holiday dedicated to the country's youth, shows that Turkish youths account for 16.1 percent of the total population and are expected to shrink further in the future. State-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) figures also indicate that the majority of the youth does not smoke and the proportion of obesity among the young has increased in recent years.
Those aged 15 to 24 numbered 12.9 million last year. TurkStat figures released yesterday indicate that young males outnumber young females. Population projections by TurkStat show the young population will constitute only 13.4 percent of the population in 2040 and drop further in the following decades.
The city with the highest youth population is Hakkari in the southeast where the youth constitute 25.6 percent of the total population. It is followed by Şırnak, another southeastern city. Turkey's southeastern and eastern regions, where families tend to have more children compared to western regions, had relatively larger young population than other cities. The lowest young population was in Muğla, a southwestern city popular among local and foreign tourists as well as retirees.
TurkStat says 75.9 percent of youths have never smoked compared to 67.7 percent in 2014 - apparently good news for a country that tries to shed its image as a nation of smokers. Under teetotaler Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's tenure as prime minister and president, the country introduced strict regulations against smoking, including a landmark ban on smoking in public places.
On the other hand, the obesity problem has risen among the youth, as obese young people increased to 3.8 percent in 2016 from 3.3 percent in 2014.