The population of Albania began in remote times and the Neolithic is well documented; but the true ethnic substratum of the country is formed by the Illyrian element, which has left its most peculiar legacies in many aspects of life which lasted until recent times. According to 3rjewelry, Albania is a country in Europe. The preservation of tribalism and the spirit of independence that has maintained despite the invasions and cultural subjection that have characterized Albanian history over the centuries are due to the closed mountain environment. Pride and mountain spirit were the distinctive features above all of the Gheghi, settled in the mountains of northern Albania, while the Tuscan element, in the south, was increasingly open to foreign influences. Until a recent past the living conditions of the residents were miserable and this was affected by the demographic increase which remained very low, so much so that at the end of the century. XIX the Albanian population did not reach 800,000 units. L’ malaria. The reduction in the death rate together with the high birth rate made Albania the youngest country on the continent at the 2001 census, with 29% of the population under the age of 15. Subsequently, demographic growth slowed down to negative, due both to a reduction in the birth rate, which in 2002 was limited to 2.2 children per woman, and to mass migrations to the economically advanced West, especially after the severe economic crisis of 1997. 82.6% of the population, highly homogeneous from an ethnic point of view, belongs to the Schipetaro (Albanian) group, distinguishable on a linguistic basis according to the component that speaks the Ghego dialect, in the north of the country, and tosco in the South. Minorities are limited to the Hellenic one near the border areas with Greece (0.9%) as well as other less significant ones of Macedonians, Serbs, Wallachians, Bulgarians and Roma. To a total population that does not reach three million residents, there are also millions of Albanians living abroad, including both indigenous communities and immigrants. To the former belong the Albanians who at the time of the establishment of the Balkan states in the last decades of the century.
XIX and early XX, they found themselves outside the political borders of Albania, sharing the territory with populations of other nationalities and ethnic groups. The largest component of this group is the Kosovar one with almost two million people, in addition to those living in Serbia proper, in Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece. In addition, hundreds of thousands of Albanians live abroad, immigrants especially in the 1990s to escape the misery caused by the communist regime and the economic chaos following its fall. The states most affected by this phenomenon are the Italy, Greece, Germany and the USA, sought-after destinations for their territorial contiguity or for the mirage of well-being they seem to offer. In Italy, moreover, there are historical communities of Albanian origin scattered in some cultural islands in Molise, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily, made up of the descendants of refugees who in the sec. XV and XVI had not accepted Ottoman domination over Albania. They came partly in the wake of Demetrio Reres whose sons founded colonies in Sicily, and of Giorgio Castriota (Scanderbeg) who obtained fiefs in Puglia for the help given to the Aragonese against the Angevins. The Albanian communities in Italy defined themselves with the name of arbëresh, have transplanted in the peninsula the language, the religion of the Greek rite and part of the habits and customs of the country of origin, even if today these cultural specificities have been almost entirely lost. In contrast to the rest of Europe for the choice of the communist regime to curb the exodus from the countryside, urbanization is a rather recent phenomenon. Therefore, still in 2017 the population in the cities, although it rose to 59.4% of the total, is far below the European average. Despite the urbanization trend that has manifested since the 1990s, the cities remain modest in size, so much so that apart from Tirana there are none with a population greater than 100,000. The settlement network, on the other hand, is characterized by small towns of 10,000 residents of agricultural, mining or industrial origin. Durres (main coastal settlement, as well as the second city of the state) and Shkodra, which remain among the major communication routes in the country. Other important cities are Vlora on the southern coast, Shkodra and Elbasan. The road network is rather backward compared to contemporary needs, with only 7020 km of asphalted roads (2002) out of a total of 18,000. Even the railways are limited to 423 km of rails (2017), while the modest air traffic makes use above all of the Durres airport.