Towards the end of the 20th and at the beginning of the 21st century, demographic development of Serbia and Montenegro was taking place under exceptional socio-economic and historic circumstances. While the population dynamics were affected by external migrations (intensified immigration, as well as emigration) much more than in the preceding decades, the natural population movement was characterised by a continued tendency of fertility to decline and the life expectancy to increase. Even so, fertility has been declining at a much faster pace than in the nineteen-eighties and the results achieved in the effort to cut the mortality were quite modest, particularly in some age groups. In consequence of such changes in the population movement components and because of the impact produced by a very advanced demographic ageing, the population of Serbia and Montenegro declined and negative natural growth occurred.
On 1 January 2005, the population of Serbia and Montenegro totalled 8,053,380, which is by 117,000 less than 14 years earlier (1991), by 85,500 less than five years ago (2001) and by 24,000 less than in 2004. The total population decreased only in Serbia or in Central Serbia, to be more exact, by more than 183,000 or 3.3%, in contrast to Montenegro and Vojvodina, where it increased by 5.2% and 1.8% respectively. The population of Vojvodina increased only in the 1991-1995 period, because of the inflow of refugees from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The growth of the population of Montenegro and the decline in the population of Serbia resulted exclusively from positive natural growth (number of live births exceeding the number of deaths) in Montenegro and negative natural growth (number of deaths exceeding the number live births) in Serbia. Furthermore, the difference between the number of deaths and number of live births was approximately twice that between the number of immigrants and number of emigrants.
In Serbia and Montenegro as a whole, natural growth has been negative as of 1992 and the negative rate has been growing continuously from 2001 onwards. The difference between the number of deaths and live births reached 23,992 (-3.0‰), which is by about 7,000 more than in 2001.
The true proportions of the negative population growth are particularly striking on the municipality and settlement levels. According to the 2004 data, of the altogether 182 municipalities in Serbia and Montenegro, negative, negative natural growth was registered in 160, which are inhabited by 6.9 million people or 86% of the total population of Serbia and Montenegro. As for the 22 municipalities in which positive natural growth was registered, as much as 12 of them are in Montenegro and the rest are in Central Serbia. Negative population growth was registered in all municipalities of Vojvodina. More than 70% of the population of Serbia and Montenegro live in settlements in which the number of deaths is greater than that of live births.
GORAN PENEV, M.Sc., Researcher Associate, Demographic Research Centre, Institute of Social Sciences, Belgrade
Reviewed by: Dr Branislav S. Đurđev, Professor, Novi Sad Faculty of Natural Sciences
Translated by: Milutin Dovijanić