From: Alice Taylor
Domestic Violence, Son Preference, Poverty, and Underage Marriage Highlighted in INSTAT Data

Data published by INSTAT has found a number of concerning trends in relation to disparities between men and women in Albania.

The Women and Men in Albania 2020 report found that women are getting married younger, being paid less or not at all, and more at risk from violence and sexual assault. It did, however, find that they are more educated, live longer, and are less likely to suffer from diseases and severe health conditions.

Birth, death, and marriage

In 2019, around 28,600 births were registered. The ratio of boys to girls was higher than the natural ration and female births decreased almost one percentage point than male. This could point to the alleged practice of son preference and gender-selective abortion which still prevails in Albanian society.

The birth rate is also decreasing with the average number of children per woman at 1.36. This is below the level of 2.1 children per woman which is the replacement rate. Albanian women are also having children later with an increase in ‘older’ age groups. During 2019, the mean age to give birth was 28.9 years.

The report also found that men become parents on average five years later than women and continue having children after the age of 30, while the number of women that do the same decreases.

The number of adolescents between 15-19 giving birth has decreased during 2019, accounting for just 14.2 births out of every 1000. In 2019, it was 14.5 births per 1000

Albanian men have a higher death rate with 11,781 deaths in 2019 compared to 10,156 women. Overall, men have a lower life expectancy than women.

Unfortunately, the infant mortality rate is 11.2 per 1000 for boys and 9.2 per 1000 for girls. This figure has increased since 2018. The EU average is 3.4 per 1000.

In terms of marriage, 50% of Albanian women are married before 24 and 77.7% by the age of 29. The average age for marriage is 27.8. Only 53.8% of men get married before the age of 29 and 81.9% by the age of 34. The average age for men getting married is just under 31 years.

The study found that almost 10% of girls were married under the age of 19 whereas no boys were married under the age of 18.

The main causes of death for both women and men remain cardiovascular system diseases, accounting for 55.9% of female deaths and 51.1% of male deaths. Other leading causes of mortality are unspecified symptoms and tumours.

INSTAT found that men are more likely to commit suicide than women, but that the instances of suicide are increasing for both genders surveyed.


73.4% of women said they did not drink alcohol when compared with 38.3% of men. Those women that did drink, said they only drank 1-3 times per month. In terms of diet, only 6.8% of women and 2.6% of men ate the recommended number of fruit and vegetables per day.

The study found that almost half of Albanian men are overweight when compared to 30% of women. Women are also more likely to do exercise than their male counterparts.

In terms of education, women are almost twice as likely to continue to higher education than men. They are also more likely to graduate from university but the overall number decreased from 2018.

Women are more likely to graduate from business, administration, law, health, arts, and education. Men are more likely to graduate in business, administration, law, engineering, manufacturing and construction.

The working world

61.6% of women are involved in the labour market. The reason for this low number is because 18% are doing unpaid labour at home, or attending school. Only 1% of men do unpaid work at home. Some 15% of women undertake unpaid work in the family business.

The unemployment rate for men is 12.2% and 11.8% for women.  This has declined for both when compared to the previous year.

In Albania, the average monthly gross wage per employee is 52,380 ALL. This has increased on figures from 2018. Unfortunately, the gender pay gap is 10.1%.

Crime and domestic violence

The number of criminal offences reported increased by 8.6% from 2018. In 2019, 5051 women and 315 girls were victims of crime- 18.7% of these were sexual offences. A further 3372 women reported domestic violence in 2019 with Tirana, Durres, and Vlore having the highest rate. In 2019 out of 58 homicides, almost a quarter was due to domestic violence.

52.9% of Albanian women claimed to have experienced domestic violence in their lives and over 36% said they were experiencing it currently. They are most commonly attacked by their intimate partner. The most common form of violence is coercive control, psychological violence, and physician and sexual violence.

These incidents most commonly happen in the first 1-3 years of marriage. But the age group that experiences violence most frequently are 45-64 years old.

Around 20% of women said they had been physically or sexually assaulted by a man who was not their partner.

Sadly, 46.5% of community members believe that domestic violence should be tolerated in order to keep the family together. Violence is seen as part of a woman’s guilt and publicising the experience is considered shameful.


Severe material deprivation is estimated at 38.3% of the population. A further 23.4% are at risk of poverty. Girls and women are more likely to be at risk from poverty or social exclusion than men.