The Social Onslaught of Economic Austerity in Rural Greece..(Coming Here!!)
By Chris Jones
November 01, 2012
Ambelos is just one of a number of ‘mountain’ villages on Samos Island . It is where I have lived full time for the past 5 years. The last 2 censuses have recorded a village population in excess of 300 persons, which is a gross exaggeration as the resident all year population is little more than 120. The additional numbers are made up by those who own property in the village but are resident elsewhere and opt for Ambelos as their place of residency both for voting and for the census. Although there are few resources channeled directly into the village by either the regional or central government, the size of the population does have some bearing on allocations, including political representation. Without 300 inhabitants for example, the village cannot have a mayor.
There is no reason to think that Ambelos is exceptional in Greece . But if all the small villages are as intent as Ambelos in ensuring that the registered population does not fall below 300, then like most other key state statistics in Greece, population data drawn from the census is unlikely to be accurate.
But no amount of statistical massaging can hide the reality that villages like Ambelos are trapped in a long process of decay which stretches back over decades. The combination of economic reliance on small scale, essentially peasant farming and summer specific tourism has never been sufficient for the needs of the population. Emigration for both short and long spells is historically embedded as islanders have sought employment, higher wages and better working conditions than could be found on Samos .
Back to the Land?