Corsicans - Settlements

Today, the greater part of Corsica's population (54 percent) is concentrated in the two main cities, Ajaccio and Bastia; 80 percent of the island's 360 communes have less than 500 inhabitants, 60 percent less than 200. The interior highlands most clearly show the effects of the Corsican exodus; many villages are left with only a few individuals as permanent residents. These inland villages also have the oldest populations, with one-third of Corsica's elderly (60 years and older). Formerly, the majority of Corsicans were concentrated in the rural villages of the interior.

In the interior, dressed-stone multistory buildings cluster on the hillsides in nucleated villages; often these stand today pristine and well maintained, as the emigrant villagers residing in distant cities return only during holidays to their ancestral homes. A few old fortified coastal cities of densely built housing laced by narrow medieval streets remain home to a dwindling population of traditional urbanites descended from the colonists of earlier eras. In the main cities of Ajaccio and Bastia, and along the rest of the coastal areas, modern housing and hotel developments predominate.

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