Serbia Population Structure

By | February 17, 2021

Serbia society

Serbia society

Proportion of literate adults: 97.8%

most important religion: Serbian Orthodox 85%

Urban population: 56% (2011)

Life expectancy: 73.2 / 79.2 years (male / female, 2019)

Gender Inequality Index: Rank 37 (out of 160) (2018)

Number of births: 1.48 / woman (2017)

Infant mortality: 5.6 / 1000 live births (2019)

Population structure

Serbia had 7,120,666 residents (excluding Kosovo). Serbia’s population growth has been negative for years. In mid-2019 Serbia therefore had a total population of 6,963,764. In 2011, the country had a loss of almost 380,000 residents compared to the 2002 census. In 2017, population growth was an estimated -0.5%. With an average age of 40.7 years according to the last census, the Serbian population was among the oldest in the world. In 2017, 18.4% were over 65 years old, the average lifespan is 71 years for men and 76 years for women. In 2019 a pilot census took place in preparation for the census in 2021.

The degree of urbanization to the latest available figures from the year 2011 in Serbia is 56 percent. Around two thirds of them live in the largest Serbian city, the capital Belgrade, where around 29 percent of the total population live. At 44 percent, Serbia has a rather high proportion of rural population in a European comparison.

Ethnic composition

Despite the consequences of the ethnic wars of the 1990’s and the loss of the mostly Albanian-populated Kosovo, Serbia has remained a multi-ethnic state. The 2011 census showed the following ethnic structure – 83.32% of the population identified themselves as Serbs. The majority of the remainder describes themselves as belonging to one of the minorities, the largest among them numerically: Hungarians – 3.53%, Bosniaks (especially in the Sanjak region) – 2.02%, Roma – 2.05%, Yugoslavs – 1.08%, Croatians – 0.81%, Albanians(mostly: southern Serbia) – 0.82% (last available figure from 2002, as the majority of Albanians boycotted the 2011 census). The Vojvodina Province has the largest number of ethnic minorities, over 25. They make up around a third of the population. The largest groups are: Hungarians – 13.00%, Slovaks – 2.60%, Croats – 2.43%, Montenegrins – 1.15%, Yugoslavs – 0.63%. The Serbian state guarantees certain minority rights with regard to the official use of minority languages, the establishment of minority councils as national representation and the lifting of the threshold clause for ethnic minority parties in the Serbian parliament.

Social stratification

According to petsinclude, Serbia is a country located in Southern Europe. Serbian society had developed into a modern industrial society in the socialist phase of modernization. A broad socialist middle class emerged, the proportion of the farming population who are employed full-time in agriculture fell to a level that is comparably low in Western Europe, while the proportion of people with specialist training and university degrees rose continuously, especially from the 1960’s. During the rule of Slobodan Milošević there was a radical change in the structure of society: the former middle class disappeared economically almost completely, a drastic social differentiation between 90% impoverished population and 10% rich (the elites belonging to the regime) took place. A larger part of the youth emigrated during the war decade, an estimated 100,000 young men fled abroad before military service, many, especially very well educated ones, followed them.Brain drain from young people because the social mobility of the younger generations is blocked and youth unemployment is very high. As a result of the events of the 1990’s, when war profiteers and war criminals rose to become role models and folk heroes in Serbia, the existing value system collapsed or was turned upside down. At the same time, there has been a retraditionalization in Serbian society due to the close interweaving of politics and religion, of the Serbian Orthodox Church during the war years.

In Serbia, poverty remains a relevant social problem. In 2011, the proportion of poor people in the total population was 9.2 percent. It fell only insignificantly between 2006 and 2016 and largely followed the decline in population. Poverty is mainly found in rural areas and especially in the south and east of Serbia. It mainly affects households in which the family members who are able to work have little or no training or are unemployed. Children and young people are particularly affected by poverty. Without the private cultivation of food for self-sufficiency, poverty would have been 8.7 percent higher in 2016.

Gender relations

This has mainly had an impact on gender relations. In the socialist industrial society of Yugoslavia, women had quickly risen from a traditional social milieu to a certain emancipation, above all through a level of employment that was almost equal to that of men – work became the norm. In the 1990’s, it was mainly women who were affected by the parallel process of economic collapse and retraditionalization. While women were the first to lose their jobs, the church, supported by the state and nationalist ideology, pushed strongly into the public space and propagated a return to the traditional family model with women as mother and housewife. While in real terms it was often women who had to keep families together at times

In a Country Profile on Gender Democracy published in 2012, the EU found that women are subject to structural discrimination in various areas of society, not least in the labor market. The Statistical Office of Serbia determined the most important data on gender relations on the basis of the 2011 census.

The Serbian government has been compiling the EU-internal Gender Equality Index for Serbia since 2016, making it the only non-EU country. The index for 2016 was published in December 2018. Despite significant improvements compared to 2014, Serbia remained in 22nd place in Europe in terms of gender equality. The country has made the greatest progress in terms of the participation of women in political life. Relatively speaking, Serbia scores worst in terms of female employment. Women in Serbia earned on average 16 percent less than men with comparable qualifications and work.