Demographics in the Republic of Serbia

After World War II, nine censuses were carried out in the Republic of Serbia in 1948, 1953, 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2002, 2011, and 2022. These censuses have been essential in tracking the demographic changes in the country over the decades.

Population Trends

The population of the Republic of Serbia has been continuously documented through these censuses. In 2021, the estimated population was 6,834,326, with a negative growth rate of -9.4 per 1000 inhabitants compared to the previous year. The non-official results of the 2022 Census indicate a population of 6,690,887, marking a trend of reduction in the number of residents compared to previous censuses. The largest cities include Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš, and Kragujevac.

When compared with 2011 the total number of inhabitants fell by 49,975, i.e. by 6.9%. Decreased number of inhabitants was recorded in all the regions (about 10%), except for the Belgrade region where the number of inhabitants grew by about 1.6%.

State of forests of the Republic of Serbia by ownership (Statistical Yearbook 2022)

Administrative Division

Serbia is divided into regions and municipalities, with Belgrade being the capital city. The country has a complex administrative division that plays a significant role in understanding population distribution and changes.

Spatial Distribution of Population

The population is unevenly distributed across Serbia, with some regions experiencing growth while others face a decline. According to the 2022 Census, the municipalities with the largest increase in the number of inhabitants are Zvezdara, Voždovac, Novi Sad, and Novi Pazar. On the other hand, municipalities with the largest decrease in the number of inhabitants include Crna Trava, Gadžin Han, Rekovac, and Babušnica.

Approximately 55% of the population resides in rural areas. Notably, rural areas cover a vast 85% of the country’s territory and make a substantial contribution of 41% to the nation’s GDP.

Population Dynamics

Population dynamics in Serbia are influenced by factors such as internal migration, age distribution, and economic activity. Internal migration data from 2021 show that the Belgrade Region and the Vojvodina Region had a positive migration balance, while other regions faced negative migration balances. Economic activity is also a crucial factor, with a significant portion of the population being employed in agriculture, which presents challenges for diversification of income sources.

Migration balance by regions of the Republic of Serbia for 2021, 2022

Migration balance by regions of the Republic of Serbia for 2021, 2022

Future Demographic Trends

Serbia is projected to face ongoing depopulation in the coming years. Projections indicate that by 2041, the population will be lower than it was in 2011, with an aging demographic. The proportion of persons older than 65 is expected to increase from 17% to 24%, and the rate of demographic dependency of older people will rise from 25% to 39%. These trends pose demographic challenges for the country.

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