The foundation date of the center of the Salihli city that goes back to the 16th – 17th centuries and the Sart city whose date of founding dates back to 2000 - 3000 B. C. may be taken into consideration from the point of view of population. However, there is not much of a source available that belong to the pre republican era when the population movements are examined. A population of 500 people could be determined in the population census of 1831 together with the Sart city.
It may comfortably be expressed that the population in Salihli city has developed in a faster manner compared to other Anatolian cities in the period following the passing of the railway from Salihli city until the War of Independence. The figures in the “ salname “ of 1893 indicate that 3 000 persons had lived in the Salihli city whereas 4 400 persons had lived in 1908.
7 191 persons were recorded in 1927. It may be concluded that at least 10 000 persons had been living in the 1915’ s which represents a relatively large no. in case one considers the population losses that had happened during the Independence war and that the minorities had left Salihli. Salihli also became a center of attraction for the population when the internal migrations inside Turkey had speeded up in the 1950' s. Along with these, those who fled from the atrocities in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria and those who fled from the atrocities in China have settled also in Salihli.
The population in Salihli is around 170 000 when the population censuses that had been carried out in 1985 – 1990 and when the rate of increase of population in Salihli is taken into consideration and we may observe that around 60 % of this figure is living in the center of the county. As a last point, the population of Salihli as of the population census that had been carried out in 1997 in general terms (as a whole) is 143 956 persons in total. The 79 837 persons out of this figure is the population that lives in the center (centrum part) of the county and the remaining 64 119 persons comprise the population that live in the towns and villages.
POPULATION MOVEMENTS :
Salihli has continually received migration from its foundation as a village onwards. Salihli continues to receive migration also today. Today, it became hard to find and to determine the people who had settled in Salihli as a native.
The region where Salihli is located (Gediz region) is a place where the tribes had stayed at all times during the Ottoman era and where these have then settled or have been housed. Noticable population movements have been observed in this long period and especially after the 17th century and lately the migrations have been received in the 19th century and at the beginnings of the 20th century from Caucasia and Europe.
It is possible to come across those people who gave the names of the villages and that have set up those villages by settling as tribes in the vicinity of Salihli by looking at those names. For example among these are : Karayahşi, Araplı, Burhan, Beylikli, Çökelek, Eldelek, Dombaylı, Durasıllı, Sindel etc. Apart from this, there are a lot of other tribes who did not give their names to the region after settling or whose names did not reach our days or whose names have changed also. (like : Sığıralcısı, Bayındırlı, Karatekeli, Kuşdoğanlı, Kacar, Taras, Karakeçili, etc.)
We are learning that the Karatekeli and Karasığıralcısı tribes had been made to settle in the 19th century in Salihli in the last settlement and the Turks that came from Bulgaria in the year 1890 have founded the Yılmaz village in the vicinity of Salihli.
It is being observed again in this century during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamit the 2nd that some tribes and the Circassian people that had come from Crimea were housed in the Kırveli district and Süleymaniye village in Salihli.
The presence of small umbers of Armenians and Jews is known in Salihli in the 19th century along with the Roman people.
Salihli continued to receive migration in the 20th century also. New etnical groups entered its population. The Turks who came from the Balkan countries in amounts which prove to be less in the first half of the century in which we live now and more in the second half have taken an important share in the population of Salihli today. The emigrants who originate from Romania and Greece take a little part in the population and whereas those who originate from Bulgaria are more than the previous ones.
The emigrants who originate from Bulgaria have been made to be housed (361 families altogether) when they came as a community in the year 1951 by “ Toprak – İskân Genel Müdürlüğü “ / “ Soil – Housing General Management] int those houses that were constructed in the Kurtuluş district. Those came did not reach Salihli directly and these people had been housed here after their first / temporaray housing places like Eskişehir, Bursa and Samsun where they stayed only for a short while.
Even though some emigrants inside the center of Salihli city who migrated before and after the year 1950, their numbers is not as much as those who came in the year 1951.
The first coming of the emigrants from Yugoslavia happened in the 1925' s. The migrations that had been very scarce and low in number op to the year 1955 have earned intensity in the 1955 - 1963 period. It is being specified that 30 - 40 families have freely migrated by their own in those years. The most important reason for these emigrants who originate from both Bulgaria and also Yugoslavia to select Salihli for settlement / housing is the need for labor in the construction of Demir köprü between the years 1950 - 1960. Apart from this, the informing of those who had been housed / settled in Salihli their relatives and the people that they know that the agricultural meand of this place to be extremely suitable has played an important role in the preferring Salihli of the emigrant people.
Only very little of those emigrants who were employed and a part of those who have high income; have left here. Another ethnical group that had been effective in the population movements of the city had been the Kazakh Turks who are known as the " Türkistanlılar ". The Kazakh Turks who had been made to be settled / housed in the years 1954 - 1955 in Salihli are living in their emigrants’ houses in the Kurtuluş district. The Kazakh Turks who are are known as the " Türkistanlılar " and a part of whom then migrated to large cities where İstanbul is in the forefront today are now around 80 – 90 families whereas these were 140 families altogether (TÜRKDOĞAN – 1968) when they came for the first time.
Those who came from the close counties and villages after the 1950’ s in to the population of Salihli where those who came from Kula are in the forefront together with those people who came from the eastern provinces in the last years from the 1970’ s onwards (like Bitlis, Erzurum, Kars, Tunceli, Ağrı, Muş etc.) are the last creators of population movements in the city.
Salihli continues to receive migration also in the days of our times as it was in the past by the being vivid of the economy of the county by its industry that develops every day and with its qualification of having the productive agricultural soil. Salihli almost does not originate any emigration towards outside of the city. It is also being presumed that a lot of those who had gone for working abroad in the 1960’ s (especially Germany and France) excepting those negligible no. of families who settled in large cities like İzmir, İstanbul and Ankara by the wishes to live in large cities by depending on the increasing of the economic power of the families have also returned Salihli.