How Big Is Istanbul?: Understanding Istanbul With Numbers

You may have already visited İstanbul or you may be planning to visit at some point. In any case, it can be sometimes difficult to comprehend how big a city is when you are in the city itself. Even though İstanbul, for the natives of it, may not feel large, when the numbers are considered, it is quite a large city. In fact, İstanbul is a metropolitan city that is known to be the 4th largest city in the world while being the largest city in Europe. To be exact, Istanbul is 5.461 square km with 39 districts.

To be exact, Istanbul is 5.461 square km with 39 districts.


Istanbul’s population is 15,029,231 as of 2018 which means the 18.5% of Turkey’s population live in İstanbul. The population grows approximately 1% each year. If you want to have a clear idea what that means, let’s look at New York, a city that is considered to be large and crowded. New York City’s

population is 8,398,748 as of 2018. İstanbul’s population is almost the double of New York’s population. Around 35% of the people who live in İstanbul are living on the Asian side while the 65% of them are living in the European side. 50.1% of the population of Istanbul is men, almost at a perfect equilibrium with the population of women. Only 15,8% of the population are born in İstanbul.


İstanbul is also a valuable city for the real estate industry and the investors. It was estimated around 2017 that there were 1.528.782 buildings and/or 5,5 million single apartment units. As Istanbul is known to be the harbor of many different cultures, nationalities and religions, there are 3.356 mosques as of 2017, 143 churches and  16 synagogues for anyone from any belief to practice their religion.


In 2018, it was estimated that İstanbul had 4.167.889 motor vehicles which means approximately 1 car for each 5 person. In fact, one fifth of the motor vehicles in Turkey are found in İstanbul. However, the new cars coming into the city increase rapidly, around 30.000 in every month which brings up the concerns about air pollution in İstanbul. There are 6.135 public buses, 3 bridges over the Bosphorus and 2 underwater tunnels that connect Europe and Asia as well as 2 international airports.


The literacy rate in İstanbul is 97.3% which is a little over Turkey’s average of 95.8%. There are over 3 million students in İstanbul as well as 2.981elementary schools, 1.190 middle schools, 914 high schools and 51universities. The universities in İstanbul make up 30% of the universities in Turkey. In İstanbul, 70% of these students are in State universities while 30% of the students are in Private universities.


İstanbul is a center for cultural and artistic activities with 72 libraries, 62 cultural centers, 8 congress centers, 28 concert halls, 70 movie theaters,, 23 theatres and 68 art galleries.


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