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)
According to zipcodesexplorer, Serbia had 7,120,666 inhabitants (excluding Kosovo). Serbia’s population growth has been negative for years. As a result, Serbia only had a total population of 6,963,764 in mid-2019. In 2011, the country had a loss of almost 380,000 inhabitants compared to the 2002 census. In 2017 the population grew by 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.
Despite the consequences of the ethnic wars of the 1990s and the loss of the predominantly 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 are: Hungarians – 3.53%, Bosniaks (especially in the Sanjak region) – 2.02%, Roma – 2.05%, Yugoslavs – 1.08%, Croatians – 0.81%, Albanians(predominantly: southern Serbia) – 0.82% (last available figure from 2002, as the majority of Albanians had 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.
Serbian society had developed into a modern industrial society during the socialist phase of modernization. A broad socialist middle class emerged, the proportion of the rural 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 1960s onwards. During the rule of Slobodan Milošević there was a radical change in the social structure: 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 doing 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 1990s, 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 marginally 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 education 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.
Above all, this has 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 the same as that of men – work became the norm. In the 1990s, 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 based on 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 comes off worst in terms of female employment. Women in Serbia earned an average of 16 percent less than men with comparable qualifications and work.