Countryaah, population growth in present-day Serbia changed radically
from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s. Around 1975, the
annual population increase was about 6 percent, which is a
very high growth rate. Ten years later it was down to 2.5
per cent and from 1992 onwards the population of Serbia has
decreased. The death toll is significantly higher than the
birth rate and the exchange of immigration with other
countries gives no net contribution. The number of children
is now small and the proportion of older people increases
every year, especially in the countryside. From there, the
youths move to the cities.
About 60 percent of the population lives in cities.
Dominating is Belgrade, which at the 2011 census had 1.64
million residents in the urban area. Next follows
Vojvodina's main town Novi Sad (336,000), Nis (258,000) and
For information on life expectancy and other demographic
statistics, see Country facts.
The largest ethnic group is Serbs, which in 2011 made up
83.3 percent of the population. Next are Hungarians (3.5
percent), who mainly live in northern Vojvodina, and Roma (2
percent), who live mainly near the border with Romania and
farthest to the south. During the 1990s, about half a
million refugees, mostly Serbs, came from other parts of
former Yugoslavia, mainly from Croatia and Bosnia and
Herzegovina. Some of them have been integrated and in 2011
it was estimated that in Serbia there are over 73,000
refugees from other countries. In addition, about 100,000
were displaced from Kosovo. In Serbia, they are regarded as
internal refugees, since Kosovo is considered part of the
In Serbia, štokavian dialects are spoken by the South
Slavic language, formerly called Serbo-Croatian or Croatian
Serbian and today sometimes Central South Slavic.
Serbo-Croatian has four main dialects: štokaviska,
čakaviska, kaykaviska and torlakic.
The official language is Serbian, which, like the
Croatian, Montenegrin and Bosnian standard languages, is
based on štokavian dialects. Languages recognized as
regional or minority languages according to the Council of
Europe's language statute are Hungarian, Albanian,
Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Russian (Rutanese), Slovak, Croatian,
Bosnian and Romani. Serbian is also recognized as a regional
or minority language in Croatia, Hungary and Romania, is one
of the three official languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina
and may be used officially in Montenegro.
According to the 2011 census, 85 percent of the
population belongs to the Orthodox churches, 5 percent are
Catholics (especially in the northern parts of the country)
and 3 percent are Muslims.
Serbia has freedom of religion but in practice, however,
the Serbian Orthodox Church functions as something of a