Total population
c. 7 to 11.6 million[1]
Regions with significant populations
 Albania 2,509,879 (2016)[2]
 Kosovo 1,749,323 (2016)[3]
Other countries
 Italy800,000 1[4][5][6]
 Turkey500,000–5,000,000 2[7][8][9][10][11][12]
 Macedonia509,083 (2002)[13][needs update]
 Montenegro30,439 (2011)[20]
 Croatia17,513 (2011)[21]
 Romania10,000 (2010)[22]
 United Kingdom30,000[24]
 Serbia5,809 (2011)
 United States194,028[32]
 New Zealand243[36]
Islam (majority)
Sunni Islam · Bektashism
Christianity (minority)
Catholicism (Roman Catholic · Albanian Greek Catholic · Italian Albanian Catholic) · Eastern Orthodoxy (Albanian Orthodox) · Protestantism

1 502,546 Albanian citizens, an additional 43,751 Kosovo Albanians and 260,000 Arbëreshë people[4][5][37]

2 Albanians are not recognized as a minority in Turkey. However approximately 500,000 people are reported to profess an Albanian identity. Of those with full or partial Albanian ancestry and others who have adopted Turkish language, culture and identity their number is estimated at 1,300,000–5,000,000 many whom do not speak Albanian.[8][11]

3 Native speakers of Albanian

The Albanians (Albanian: Shqiptarët) are a nation and an ethnic group in Southern Europe sharing a common Albanian ancestry, culture, history and language.[38] They primarily live in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia as well as in Croatia, Greece and Italy.

The majority of Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo, with significant communities in Turkey, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia, followed by smaller ones in Australia, Argentina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Germany, Egypt, Romania, Switzerland and the United States. The Albanian diaspora was formed during the Middle Ages due to economic factors, sociopolitical circumstances of discrimination and violence against the Albanians in the Balkans. Between the 11th and 18th centuries, sizeable numbers of Albanians migrated from the area of contemporary Albania to escape either various sociopolitical difficulties or the Ottoman conquest.[39][40][41][42]

One population which became the Arvanites settled down in southern Greece who starting from the 16th century though mainly during the 19th century onwards assimilated and today self identify as Greeks.[42][43][44][45][46][47] Another population, who became the Arbëreshë, settled in southern Italy[40] and form the oldest continuous Albanian diaspora, producing influential and many prominent figures. Smaller populations dating to migrations during the 18th century are located on Croatia's Dalmatian coast (the Arbanasi community) and scattered communities across southern Ukraine.[48][49]

Albanians produced many prominent figures such as Skanderbeg, leader of the medieval Albanian resistance to the Ottoman conquest, and others during the Albanian National Awakening seeking self-determination. During the 17th and 18th century, Albanians in large numbers converted to Islam, often to escape higher taxes levied on Christian subjects as well as a plethora of other reasons including ecclesiastical decay,[50] coercion by Ottoman authorities in times of war[51][52][53] and the privileged legal and social position of Muslims.[54][55][56] As Muslims, some Albanians attained important political and military positions within the Ottoman Empire and culturally contributed to the wider Muslim world.[57] Albania gained its independence during the Balkan Wars (1912-1913),[58] and from 1945 to 1992 Albanians lived under a communist government. Albanians in neighbouring Yugoslavia underwent periods of discrimination and eventual self-determination that concluded with the breakup of that state in the early 1990s culminating with Albanians living in new countries and Kosovo. Outside the southwestern Balkans where Albanians have traditionally been located, Albanian populations through the course of history have formed new communities contributing to the cultural, economic, social and political life of their host populations and countries while also at times assimilating too.


The Albanians (Albanian: Shqiptarët) and their country Albania (Albanian: Shqipëria) have been identified by many ethnonyms. The most common native ethnonym is "Shqiptar", plural "Shqiptarë"; the name "Albanians" (Byzantine Greek: Albanoi/Arbanitai/Arbanites; Latin: Albanenses/Arbanenses) was used in medieval documents, that gradually entered European languages from which other similar derivative names emerged.[59]

From these ethnonyms, names for Albanians were also derived in other languages, that were or still are in use.[60][61][62] In English "Albanians"; Italian "Albanesi"; German "Albaner"; Greek "Arvanites", "Alvanitis" (Αλβανίτης) plural: "Alvanites" (Αλβανίτες), "Alvanos" (Αλβανός) plural: "Alvanoi" (Αλβανοί); Turkish "Arnaut", "Arnavut"; South Slavic languages "Arbanasi" (Арбанаси), "Albanci" (Албанци); Aromanian "Arbineş" and so on.[45][60][61][62][63][64]

The term "Albanoi" (Αλβανοί) is first encountered twice in the works of Byzantine historian Michael Attaliates, and the term "Arvanitai" (Αρβανίται) is used once by the same author. He referred to the "Albanoi" as having taken part in a revolt against the Byzantine Empire in 1043, and to the "Arbanitai" as subjects of the Duke of Dyrrachium (modern Durrës).[65] These references have been disputed as to whether they refer to the people of Albania.[65][66] Historian E. Vranoussi believes that these "Albanoi" were Normans from Sicily. She also notes that the same term (as "Albani") in medieval Latin meant "foreigners".[67]

The reference to "Arvanitai" from Attaliates regarding the participation of Albanians in a rebellion around 1078 is undisputed.[68] In later Byzantine usage, the terms "Arbanitai" and "Albanoi" with a range of variants were used interchangeably, while sometimes the same groups were also called by the classicising name Illyrians.[69][70][71] The first reference to the Albanian language dates to the latter 13th century (around 1285).[72]

The ethnonym Albanian has been hypothesized to be connected to and stem from the Albanoi,[73][74][75] an Illyrian tribe mentioned by Ptolemy with their centre at the city of Albanopolis.[60][76] Linguists believe that the alb part in the root word originates from an Indo-European term for a type of mountainous topography, from which other words such as alps are derived.[77] Through the root word alban and its rhotacized equivalents arban, albar, and arbar, the term in Albanian became rendered as Arbëneshë/Arbëreshë for the people and Arbënia/Arbëria for the country.[59][60] The Albanian language was referred to as Arbnisht and Arbërisht.[76] While the exonym Albania for the general region inhabited by the Albanians does have connotations to Classical Antiquity, the Albanian language employs a different ethnonym, with modern Albanians referring to themselves as Shqip(ë)tarë and to their country as Shqipëria.[60] Two etymologies have been proposed for this ethnonym: one, derived from the etymology from the Albanian word for eagle (shqipe, var., shqiponjë).[62] In Albanian folk etymology, this word denotes a bird totem, dating from the times of Skanderbeg as displayed on the Albanian flag.[62][78] The other is within scholarship that connects it to the verb 'to speak' (me shqiptue) from the Latin "excipere".[62] In this instance the Albanian endonym like Slav and others would originally have been a term connoting "those who speak [intelligibly, the same language]".[62] The new ethnonyms Shqip(ë)tarë and Shqipëria emerged and replaced the older ethnonyms Arbëneshë/Arbëreshë and Arbënia/Arbëria between the late 17th and early 18th centuries.[60] That era brought about religious and other sociopolitical changes.[60] As such a new and generalised response by Albanians based on ethnic and linguistic consciousness to this new and different Ottoman world emerging around them was a change in ethnonym.[60]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Albanese
العربية: ألبان
aragonés: Albaneses
azərbaycanca: Albanlar
تۆرکجه: آلبان‌لار
башҡортса: Албандар
беларуская: Албанцы
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Альбанцы
български: Албанци
bosanski: Albanci
català: Albanesos
Чӑвашла: Албансем
čeština: Albánci
Cymraeg: Albaniaid
Deutsch: Albaner
Ελληνικά: Αλβανοί
español: Pueblo albanés
Esperanto: Albanoj
euskara: Albaniar
Frysk: Albanezen
한국어: 알바니아인
հայերեն: Ալբանացիներ
hrvatski: Albanci
Bahasa Indonesia: Bangsa Albania
italiano: Albanesi
Basa Jawa: Wong Albania
қазақша: Албандар
kurdî: Alban
Кыргызча: Албандар
latviešu: Albāņi
lietuvių: Albanai
magyar: Albánok
македонски: Албанци
Nederlands: Albanezen
нохчийн: Албанаш
norsk: Albanere
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Albanlar
polski: Albańczycy
português: Albaneses
română: Albanezi
русский: Албанцы
Scots: Albanies
slovenčina: Albánci
slovenščina: Albanci
српски / srpski: Албанци
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Albanci
suomi: Albaanit
svenska: Albaner
татарча/tatarça: Албаннар
Türkçe: Arnavutlar
українська: Албанці
Tiếng Việt: Người Albania
Zazaki: Arnawud