Population of breakaway Abkhazia stands at 240,705 with half of them ethnic Abkhazians, according to final figures of census results, released by the breakaway region’s statistics office on December 28.
The recent census was held in February, 2011. According to the previous census, held in Abkhazia in 2003, about 214,000 people lived in the breakaway region. The figures, however, have always been a source of controversy with various estimates ranging from 180,000 to 220,000.
According to the breakaway region’s statistics office, 122,069 residents identified themselves as ethnic Abkhazians (50.71%); 43,166 – Georgians, which is 17.93%, mostly living in the Gali district of the breakaway region (the figures put separately those 3,600 residents, who according to the Abkhaz statistics office, identified themselves as Megrelians, a Georgian sub-ethnos); Armenians – 41,864 (17.39%); Russians – 22,077 (9.17%); Greeks – 1,380 (0.6%).
The 1989 Soviet census put Abkhazia’s population at 525,061, including 239,872 ethnic Georgians (45.7%), 93,267 - Abkhazians (17.8%); 76,541 - Armenians (14.6%) and 74,914 Russians (14.3%).
Georgia’s new national security concept says that “as a result of ethnic cleansings in early 1990s and in 2008 about 80% or up to 500,000” people residing in Abkhazia and South Ossetia were forced out from these regions, 261,000 of which now live on the territory under the Tbilisi’s control.