Milena Spasovski, Sasa Kicošev and Dragica Živković
The Serbs in the Former SFR of Yugoslavia
Source: The Serbian Questions in The Balkans, University of Belgrade, publisher - Faculty of Geography, Belgrade 1995.
The population in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was ethnically heterogeneous as a consequence of various historical, economic, political, cultural and civilisation factors. The former Yugoslavia was one of the few states in Europe without "state language" and "state nation" of its own. According to the Constitution the following peoples lived in Yugoslavia: Croats, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Muslims, Serbs, and Slovenes, then the national minorities: Albanians, Hungarians, Italians, Bulgarians, Romanians, Slovaks, then the Constitution-based ethnic groups of Vlachs, and Romanies, as well as other nationals: Greeks, Poles, Russians, Czechs, etc. By the decisions of the Communist policy-makers in the course of World War II, the Macedonians and Montenegrins were constituted as the separate peoples, and the Muslims after the 1960s. At the same time, a large number of the inhabitants in the former Yugoslavia declared themselves as Yugoslavs, which was not considered an ethnic category but the category of nationally undecided in the population censuses after World War II. The category of Yugoslavs was predominantly comprised of the Muslim population before the 1961 population census. In the censuses that followed, mostly the Serbs, then the persons from mixed marriages, and some others declared themselves as Yugoslavs.
The Serbs have always been the most numerous people in the Yugoslav geo-area having the longest state tradition, the most spacious autochthonous territory, and important natural and economic potentials. The cultural and civilisation development of the Serbs from the medieval times till today has significantly contributed to the development of the European culture and civilisation. Over the centuries, the population potentials of the Serbian people were reduced by constant wars, by the processes of Islamization, Uniating, Catholicizing, and by a continuous emigration caused by political, economic and other factors. In the recent past, the population potential of the Serbian people was also reduced when the Macedonians, Montenegrins, and Muslims were proclaimed as the separate peoples. Also, the Serbs declared themselves as Yugoslavs as a result of the internationalist communist policy and they were categorised as nationally undecided in all the censuses before the 1991 census. At the same time, the recent phenomena of insufficient natural reproduction, and emigration abroad for economic reasons drastically affected the total population potential of the Serbian people.
Population Dynamics of the Serbs
The number of Serbs increased from 6,547,117 in 1948 to 8,526,872 in 1991, growth index 130.2 points. The Serbian population growth was more rapid before 1961 than later. The records for the period 1971-1981 even show a decline in the count of the Serbs in Yugoslavia as a whole. The average annual growth rates for the Serbian population were close to those for the total Yugoslav population in the intercensal periods before 1961 (1.5% in 1948-1953, 1.2% in 1953-1961). In the subsequent periods, the rates were much lower than the average rates for Yugoslavia. (Table 1)
In the period 1948-1961, the share of the Serbs in the overall population in the former Yugoslavia slightly increased from 41.5% to 42.9%, but its decline began in the 1960s and the share was 36.2% in 1991. Similar trends were recorded in almost all others except the Macedonians (growth: 5.1% to 6.0%), Muslims (growth: 1.5% to 8.9%), Albanians (growth: 4.8% to 7.7%), and Romanies (growth: 0.5% to 0.7%). Yugoslavs also recorded a growth from 1.3% to 5.4%. (Table 2)
The Republic of Serbia was ethnically the most heterogeneous in the former Yugoslavia. In the period after World War II, the Serbian population continuously grew in number from 4,823,730 in 1948 to 6,428,420 in 1991, growth index 133.3 points. In the intercensal periods after the 1960s, the growth indices showed a mild decline, while in the period 1981-1991 apart from the Serbs, the numerical growth was recorded only on the part of the Albanians, Muslims and Romanies.
Within the Republic of Serbia, similar population dynamics of the Serbs was encountered in Central Serbia and Vojvodina. In Central Serbia, where there were 87.3% Serbs in the total population in 1991, their number grew from 3,810,572 in 1948 to 5,081,766 in 1991, growth index 133.4 points. In Vojvodina, where the ethnic structure was particularly heterogeneous, the number of Serbs went up from 841,246 in 1948 to 1,151,353 in 1991, growth index 136.9 points. However, of all the republics and provinces in the former Yugoslavia, Vojvodina was the only one in which a drop in the total population was recorded in the period 1981-1991, but also a higher degree of concentration of the Serbian population.
Table 1 Number of Serbs in Yugoslavia by Population Censuses from 1948-1991
The Serbian population in Kosovo and Metohia had significantly dissimilar population dynamics. Before the 1960s, their growth index was higher than that recorded both in the Republic and in Yugoslavia. This was the consequence of the higher natural increase of the Serbian population in this area than in other parts of the Republic. Thus, in the period 1948-1961, the number of Serbs went up from 173,911 to 227,016, growth index 132.1 points. After the 1960s, the number of Serbs and Montenegrins stagnated and then declined under the pressure of the Albanian separatism and their extensive biological reproduction. In the period 1971-1991, the count of the Serbs dropped from 228,264 to 195,301 in spite of the fact that the natural increase of the Serbs was much higher in this area than that of the Serbian population in other parts of Serbia and in the former Yugoslavia. (Table 1)
Although the number of the Serbs increased, their share in the total population in the Republic of Serbia decreased from 73.8%, 1948 to 65.8%, 1991. For the same period, the relative share of the Serbs in Central Serbia decreased from 92.1% to 87.3%, in Kosovo and Metohia from 23.6% to 10.0%, while in Vojvodina it increased from 50.6% to 57.3%. (Table 2)
The Republic of Bosnia mid Herzegovina had the most complex ethnic structure in the former Yugoslavia. The trimodal ethnic structure was composed of Serbs, Muslims and Croats with insignificant shares of other nationalities. Bosnia and Herzegovina was the only republic in the former Yugoslavia in which none of these nationalities had absolute ethnic predominance and in which the Muslims surpassed the Serbs in number after World War II.
In the population censuses of 1948, 1953, and 1961, the Serbs were the most numerous people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their number constantly grew from 1,136,116 in 1948 to 1,406,057 in 1961, growth index 123.8 points. However, their relative share in the total population went down from 44.3% to 42.9%. In 1961, it was 42.9%, while the share of the Muslims was 25.7%, and of the Croats 21.7%.
After the 1960s, the Serbian population experienced a drop in count for the first time in its long history and thus lost their supremacy in the total population potentials in the Republic. From 1961 to 1981, the number of Serbs dropped from 1,406,057 to 1,320,644, their share from 42.8% to 32.0%. The 1991 census recorded a certain increase in the number of Serbs to 1,369,258, but also a further decline of the share to 31.5%. (Tables 1 and 2)
Table 2 Distribution of Serbs in Yugoslavia by Population Censuses from 1948-1991
The Republic of Croatia had less pronounced ethnic heterogeneity of bimodal type. There were 543,795 Serbs or 14.5% of the total population in Croatia in 1948. Before 1971, the dynamics of the Serbian population in Croatia showed permanent numerical growth and their share was on the rise reaching 15.0% in 1961. The increase in number of the Serbs in Croatia resulted from the positive natural increase, which was somewhat above republic average, since the autochthonous Serbian territories were predominantly of rural nature. Hence, in spite of persistent migratory loss in the period after World War II, the Serbian population in Croatia still grew in number until the 1970s. In the period 1971-81, the number of Serbs dropped to 531,502, growth index 84.8 points, the share of 11.5%. In the last intercensal period (1981-1991), the number of Serbs went up to 580,762 and the share increased to 12.2%. This resulted from the fact that one segment of the population, i.e. Yugoslavs, restored their Serbian ethnic identity under the influence of the most recent inter-ethnic tensions in the 1990s. (Tables 1 and 2)
According to the 1948-1991 population censuses, the number of the Serbs in Croatia increased only by 36,967, growth index 106.8 points. This increase was far below the increase in the number of Serbs in other republics. This points to highly adverse conditions for demographic development of the Serbs in this area.
The Republic of Montenegro also had a heterogeneous ethnic structure. In the first post-war population census in 1948, in which the Montenegrins for the first rime had an opportunity to declare themselves as a separate people, there were only 6707 persons who declared themselves as Serbs. That was only 1.8% of the population in this Republic. The preliminary 1991 census returns gave the count of 57,175 Serbs in Montenegro, 9.3% of the total population. The documents show that the Serbs in this Republic experienced the most rapid population growth on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, index 852.5 points from 1948 to 1991. In the same period, the corresponding growth index for the Serbian population was 130.2 points in Yugoslavia as a whole. (Tables 1 and 2)
However, the population dynamics of the Serbs varied greatly in this Republic in the intercensal periods. The recorded growth indices for the Serbian population were: 206.7 pts in 1948-1953, 280.5 pts in 1961-1971, 294.6 pts in 1981-1991. The period 1953-1961 shows an evident stagnation (101.6 pts) and the 1971-1981 period a particular decline (49.1 pts). The population dynamics of the Serbs in this Republic was affected by the changes in their declaring, while the effects of the demographic variables (natural increase and migration) were less significant. This statement is supported by the population dynamics of the rest of the population in the period 1961-1971. The number of Muslims increased by 2.3 rimes; of Serbs by 2.8 times, of Yugoslavs by 7.0 times, while the number of Montenegrins dropped (92.6 index pts). It is obvious that a portion of those who declared themselves as Montenegrins in the earlier population censuses, later, in the circumstances of the Muslim national emancipation, they declared themselves as Serbs or Yugoslavs. However, in the period 1971-1981, a drastic decline in the number of Serbs occurred in Montenegro due to the fact that Yugoslav republics gained the power of states based on the 1974 Constitution. Then, the majority once again decided to become a constituent people - Montenegrins. Furthermore, the most recent political changes chat preceded the disintegration of the S.F.R. of Yugoslavia instigated a significant increase in the number of the Serbs in Montenegro in the period 1981-1991 (294.6 index pts). In addition to other factors, this reduced the number of Montenegrins and the number of those who declared themselves as Yugoslavs.
The Republic of Slovenia, different from other parts of the former Yugoslavia, had a highly homogeneous ethnic structure. By the preliminary 1991 population census returns, there were 47,097 Serbs in Slovenia or 2.4% of the total population.
The population dynamics of the Serbs in Slovenia is characteristic of the growth of absolute counts and relative shares in all the post-war population censuses. Until 1970s, the growth was relatively uniform. More intense growth (205.6 index pts) was recorded in the period 1971-1981. It was the result of the economic migrating to Slovenia of the Serbs from other republics, Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular. In the period 1981-1991, the Serbian population in Slovenia grew in number slower than in other intercensal periods (111.7 index pts). This can be related to the economic recession in this Republic, mounting of inter-ethnic tensions, distrust and open enmities towards Serbs. It is also important to add that a considerable number of the Serbs in Slovenia declared themselves as Yugoslavs. (Tables 1 and 2)
The Republic of Macedonia was characteristic of the heterogeneous bimodal ethnic structure. The demographic development of the Serbs in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was rather specific throughout this century. Until World War II the Serbian population increased in number owing to comparatively high natural increase and positive migrational balance. During the Second World War many Serbs were expelled or killed. After World War II, the Serbs were forbidden to return and a portion of chose that remained declared themselves as Macedonians and Yugoslavs.
That is why only 29,721 Serbs were enumerated in the 1948 census and 44,159 in 1991. This accounted for 2.6% and 2.2% of the total population in the Republic. (Tables 1 and 2) These were small counts in comparison with the number of Serbs in the period between the two World Wars.
The characteristic of the Serbian population was a relative increase before 1961 and an absolute increase before 1971, while both of these indices had declining trends in later periods. This was due to the continued emigration process, drop in the natural increase and their declaring as Yugoslavs.
Natural Population Increase and Migrations
Natural population increase, the main component of the population dynamics, had a rather poor impact on the demographic development of Serbs. Already in the 1960s in the former Yugoslavia as a whole the Serbian population had a low natural increase rate of 11.1 %o (1961). In 1981, the rate of natural increase was only 4.6%o. Natural reproduction in the Serbian population differed by the republics and regions. In 1961, the natural increase of the Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo and Metohia was twice higher than that in Croatia, Vojvodina and Central Serbia. In 1981, the natural increase rate of the Serbs varied between 2.6%o in Croatia and 10.6%o in Kosovo and Metohia.
However, the Serbs in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo and Metohia were dropping in number, due to incessant emigration. On the other hand, the low natural reproduction of the Serbian population in Central Serbia and Vojvodina would have led to a numerical decline in the Serbian population had it not been for the Serbs who immigrated from other republics.
In the Republic of Serbia the Serbs had a positive balance of migration, while all other republics except Slovenia, had negative balances of migration, i.e. more emigrants than immigrants of the Serbian nationality. This was the result of the planned resettlement of the Serbs from these republics into Vojvodina, Serbia. Thus, the maximum negative balance of migration of the Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro was recorded before 1948. In Slovenia, the number of Serbs increased mostly through immigrations immediately after World War II (the arrival of army officers and their families) and, after the 1970s, for economic reasons. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the high negative balance of migration of the Serbs was counterbalanced by a relatively high natural increase of the Serbian population; thus, before the 1960s, the Serbian population grew in number in this Republic. In Montenegro, the high negative balance of migration of the Serbs was evident before the 1960s due to colonisation and migrations connected with education and employment in Serbia. In Macedonia, the balance of migration of the Serbs was negative with its maximum values immediately after World War II, when Macedonia included a good number of Serbs in its quota for colonisation to Vojvodina. High natural increase prevailed over the negative balance of migration at the beginning, but later, when its values dropped, the emigration process became one of the factors most directly linked with the loss of the Serbian population in Macedonia.
According to the 1981 population census, 61.6% of the total number of immigrants to the Republic of Serbia were Serbs. There were two main migratory routes: from Bosnia and Herzegovina (the Serbs' share was 78.5% in the total number of newcomers) and from Croatia (the Serbs' share was 65.1% in the total number of newcomers). It is important to underline the high share of the Serbian population in the total number of immigrants from Slovenia (45.1%) and Macedonia (35.3%). This speaks of strong trends towards ethnic homogenisation propelled by migrations. Thus, in 1981, the Republic of Serbia received 93.1 % of the Serbs that emigrated from Macedonia, 88.2% from Croatia, 77.1% from Bosnia and Herzegovina, 75.0% from Montenegro, and 66.7% from Slovenia. The face that 87.8% of the total number of all the Serbs that immigrated into Serbia came from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia speaks of a strong exodus of the Serbian population from these republics.
It can be concluded that immediately after World War II natural population increase had a great impact upon the population dynamics of the Serbs. Migrations also had a decisive impact upon the geographical distribution of the Serbian population in the former Yugoslavia after the 1960s, and particularly led towards ethnic homogenisation over the last decades. The 1991 civil war caused new great movements of the population and emigrational streams of the Serbs from Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia, and Macedonia towards Serbia and Montenegro.
Population Dynamics of the Montenegrins
The Montenegrins were proclaimed a separate people after World War II and they declared themselves as Montenegrins in the post war censuses. This category will be analysed separately although they and the Serbs are of the Serbian origin.
The 1948 population census registered 425,703 Montenegrins and the 1981 census 579,023, growth index 136.0 pts. Before the 1960s the average annual growth rates for the Montenegrins were above that for the Yugoslav population as a whole (1.8% in 1948-1953, 1.2% in 1953-1961); between 1961 and 1971, the race was negative (-0.1%); in 1971-1981 it exceeded the Yugoslav average rate (1.3%). The share of Montenegrins in the total population of the former Yugoslavia was stable in the whole post-war period, with the following variations: 2.7% in 1948, 2.8%, in 1961, and 2.6% in 1981. (Tables 3 and 4)
Table 3 Number of Montenegrins in Yugoslavia by Population Censuses from 1948-1991
The described population dynamics came as a consequence of the high natural increase of the Montenegrin population compared with other Yugoslav peoples and national minorities. The natural increase rate of the Montenegrins in Yugoslavia was 21.0%o in 1961.
Among the characteristics of the population dynamics of the Montenegrins in the Republic of Montenegro were notable fluctuations in the periods after World War II. The Montenegrin population increased: 1948-1953 (106.3 index pts), 1953-1961 (105.6 index pts), 1971-1981 (112.6 index pts), and decreased in 1961-1971 (92.6 index pts) and 1981-1991 (95.0 index pts). In the period from the first to the last post-war population censuses, the Montenegrin population increased from 342,009 to 380,484 in Montenegro (111.2 index pts). (Table 3).
The growth of the Montenegrins in this area was slower and the decline more rapid in comparison with the total Montenegrin population in the former Yugoslavia. This process took place in spite of the fact that the Montenegrin population was distinguished by the higher natural increase in this Republic than in others. The natural increase rate of the Montenegrins in Montenegro was 22.10%o in 1961 and 15.8%o in 1971.
After World War II, the Montenegrins emigrated from Montenegro more than they immigrated into it. Thus, in 1948, the coefficient of migration was -5.3. This was the result of the planned colonisation of the Montenegrin population to Vojvodina and also it was due to emigrations in search of employment and education in larger town centres in Serbia and other republics. The migrational coefficients were-3.4 in 1961, -2.7 in 1971, and-2.4 in 1981. This points to incessant emigrating of the Montenegrins from their Republic. Directions of the recent migrational flows were identical to those in the past when Central Serbia (mainly Belgrade and other towns) and Vojvodina became the most attractive destinations for the Montenegrins.
A significant impact upon the decrease in the number of the Montenegrins was noticed in two intercensal periods as a consequence of their different declaring. The persons of the Muslim faith who had declared themselves as Montenegrins before 1960s declared themselves as Muslims in 1961-1971. The 1948 census registered only 387 "undecided Muslims", while in the 1961 census 30,665 persons declared themselves as Muslims, which could not have possibly been the result of their demographic growth. However, the Muslims in Montenegro also increased in number on the basis of natural population increase. In 1981-1991, the numerical decline of the Montenegrins resulted from a drop in natural increase, further continuous negative balance of migration and their return to the Serbian ethnic identity.
The mentioned and other factors caused a very significant drop in the relative share of the Montenegrins in the total population of Montenegro from 90.7% in 1948 to 61.8% in 1991, with a simultaneous growth of the shares of the Muslim, Albanian and Serbian populations. This strengthened a heterogeneous ethnic structure in the Republic of Montenegro. (Table 4)
Table 4 Distribution of Montenegrins in Yugoslavia by Population Censuses from 1948-1991
In the Republic of Serbia the population censuses between 1948 and 1981 recorded a constant increase in the number of Montenegrins from 74,860 to 147,466, growth index 197.0 pts.; their shares in the total population of the Republic were 1.1% and 1.6%, respectively. The 1991 census recorded a drop in the number of Montenegrins (140,024 or 1.4% of the total population) which was due to weaker immigration into Serbia during the economic recession, and their declaring in favour of the Serbian identity in the new political circumstances. For the whole period 1948-1991, the number of the Montenegrins went up by 187.0 index points, which was above the growth of the Serbian population in the same period (133.3 index pts).
The population dynamics of the Montenegrins in the Republic of Serbia was more subject to the impact of traditional migration flows than to the natural reproduction components. In this century, the total population potential of the Montenegrins in Serbia was formed by their permanent arrivals in the planned colonisation to Kosovo and Metohia between the two World Wars, and to Vojvodina after 1945. Thus, the 1948 census revealed the highest positive migration coefficient of the Montenegrins, 10.2 index points. In the following decades, the immigration of the Montenegrins decreased by the coefficients of +3.4 pts in 1961, +2.9 pts in 1971, and +2.7 pts in 1981. High positive migration coefficients for the Montenegrins in Serbia show that the Montenegrins also immigrated to Serbia from other republics.
Migrations were one of decisive factors in the demographic development of the Montenegrins in the Republic of Serbia as a whole, i.e. Central Serbia, Vojvodina, Kosovo and Metohia. They were manifested by the expelling of the Montenegrin and Serbian population from Kosovo and Metohia during World War II, by a ban on their return, and an incessant post-war emigration of the Montenegrins under the pressure of the Albanian separatism and their biological expansion. Owing to this and also to immigration for economic reasons, the Montenegrins grew in number and concentrated in Central Serbia and Vojvodina in the latest decades.
In 1948-1991, the most rapid growth of the Montenegrin population was recorded in Central Serbia from 16,221 to 75,258 (growth index 464.0 pts). In Vojvodina, the number of Montenegrins increased from 30,589 to 44,721 (growth index 146.2 pts). However, in 1948-1961 their number grew in Kosovo and Metohia from 28,050 to 37,588, and in 1991 it dropped to 20,045(1948-1991 growth index 71.5 pts). So, in 1948-1991, the share of the Montenegrins in the total population increased in Central Serbia from 0.4% to 1.3%, in Vojvodina from 1.8% to 2.2%, while in Kosovo and Metohia it dropped from 3.9% to 1.0%.(Tables 3 and 4)
That the mentioned regional differentiation in the population dynamics of the Montenegrins in Serbia was primarily influenced by migrations was demonstrated in the level of natural increase in Montenegrins in Central Serbia, Vojvodina, and Kosovo and Metohia. In 1971, in Central Serbia, in which the Montenegrin population was most rapidly increasing in number, their natural increase rate was only 6.1%o, in Vojvodina 8.9%o. In Kosovo and Metohia, where the number of Montenegrins was on the downgrade, the natural increase rate was 15.8%o.
There was a small number of Montenegrins in other republics, but their population dynamics was above that of the Montenegrins in Montenegro. In the first intercensal period 1948-1953, the number of Montenegrins most rapidly increased in Slovenia (index 260.2 pts), in Bosnia and Herzegovina (index 237.1 pts), in Croatia (index 178.6 pts) as a consequence of the post-war resettlements of civil servants (army, customs services, ere.). In 1948, the migration coefficient for the Montenegrins reached its maximum value in Serbia (10.2 pts), in Slovenia (4.6 pts), in Croatia (2.9 pts), in Macedonia (1.8 pts etc.).
In later periods, the influence of migrations on the population dynamics of the Montenegrins decreased significantly in all the republics except Serbia. In all post-war censuses the positive balance of migration of the Montenegrin population was recorded only in Serbia and Croatia, while the negative migration coefficient was recorded in Slovenia and Macedonia after the 1950s, and in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the 1960s. The population growth of the Montenegrins in these republics resulted from their natural increase, as it was the case in all the republics except Serbia.
In 1948-1981, the number of Montenegrins increased from 3094 to 14,114 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, from 2871 to 9818 in Croatia, from 2348 to 3920 in Macedonia, from 521 to 3217 in Slovenia. In the same period their shares increased from 0.7% to 2.4% in Bosnia and Herzegovina, from 0.7% to 1.7% in Croatia, from 0.5% to 0.7% in Macedonia, and from 0.1% to 0.5% in Slovenia. (Tables 3 and 4)
Persons that Declared Themselves as Yugoslavs
The category of Yugoslavs as nationally undecided persons was introduced in the former Yugoslavia with the 1953 population census. This category mostly included the Muslim population. However, in the 1960s, the number of persons declaring themselves as Yugoslavs abruptly dropped when the Muslims were proclaimed a separate people. In the 1961 census were recorded 317,124 Yugoslavs and 273,077 in the 1971 census. In 1971-1981, their number increased to 1,219,045 (growth index 446.4 pts). Thus, the share of this category in the total population in the former Yugoslavia was immensely increased from 1.7% in 1961 to 5.4% in 1981. (Tables 5 and 6)
Table 5 Persons Declaring Themselves as Yugoslavs by Population Censuses from 1961 to 1991
The category of Yugoslavs most rapidly increased in the Republic of Serbia-from 20,079 in 1961 to 441,941 persons in 1981, and 317,739 persons in 1991. This was the highest growth index in Yugoslavia (1961-1991 index was 1582.3 pts). The increase was considerable in multinational Vojvodina: from 3174 in 1961 to 168,859 in 1991 (growth index 5320.1 pts). Their number in Kosovo and Metohia was insignificant. In the period 1961-1991, it dropped from 5206 to 3070 (growth index 59.0 pts). In Central Serbia they increased from 11,699 in 1961 to 272,050 in 1981, then their number dropped to 145,810 in the 1991 census (1961-1991 index 1246.3 pts). (Table 5)
Yugoslavs recorded a high rise in their share in the total population of the Republic of Serbia - from 0.3% in 1961 to 3.2% in 1991. In Vojvodina, their share rapidly rose from 0.2% Co 8.4%, in Central Serbia from 0.2% to 4.8%, while in Kosovo and Metohia it dropped from 0.5% to 0.2%. (Table 6)
From the total number of Yugoslavs in the former Yugoslavia (the 1961 census) there were 87.0% in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 6.7% in Serbia, 4.9% in Croatia, and insignificant counts in other republics. They comprised 8.4% of the population in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 3.3% in Montenegro and below 1.0% in other republics. The above data and later fluctuations in the number and distribution of Yugoslavs confirm a well-known fact that before the 1960s this category was mostly constituted of Muslims and to a lesser extent of other nationalities as well as of persons coming from mixed marriages. After the 1960s, when the Muslims were proclaimed a separate people, there occurred an abrupt absolute and relative decrease in the number of Yugoslavs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the 1971 census there were only 43,796 Yugoslavs in this Republic, six rimes less than in 1961, when their number was 275,883. Thus, the share of the Yugoslavs went down from 8.4% (1961) to only 1.2% (1971) in the total population of Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Tables 5 and 6)
Different declaring of the Muslims coincided with their vigorous biological reproduction. The Muslims expanded in relation to the Serbs and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to the Montenegrins in Montenegro, and to the Serbs in Serbia. Essential changes occurred in the structure of the category of Yugoslavs in the population censuses after the 1960s. The main population body in this category was comprised of Serbs. This was clear from the geographical distribution of Yugoslavs in the last three censuses. Of all those that declared themselves as Yugoslavs in 1971, 45.4% lived in Serbia, 30.8% in Croatia, and 16.0% in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In these republics the Serbian people lived for centuries on their ethnic area and had strong population potentials. The category of Yugoslavs also included other nationals and persons from mixed marriages.
With regard to the population dynamics, in the period 1961-1971, the most rapid growth in the number of Yugoslavs was recorded in Vojvodina (1478.6 index pts), Montenegro (709.9 pts), Central Serbia (649.4 pts), and Croatia (540.6 pts), but their decrease was recorded in Macedonia. In 1971, the share of Yugoslavs in the total population varied between 2.4% in Vojvodina and 0.1% in Kosovo and Metohia. Their share was highest in Croatia and Vojvodina (8.2%), and lowest in Kosovo and Metohia (0.2%) in 1981.
In the period 1971-1981, a strong expansion of the Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina was accompanied by the growth in the count of the Yugoslavs which was more rapid than in other Yugoslav republics. Thus, their number went up from 43,796 in 1971 to 326,316 in 1981 (745.1 pts) or from 1.2% to 7.9% of the total population. When a drop in the number of Serbs in this republic is taken into account, it is obvious that declaring of the Serbs as Yugoslavs was one of the major factors in weakening the Serbian population potentials and in decreasing their number in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In Croatia, the number of the persons declaring themselves as Yugoslavs went up from 84,118 to 379,057, namely from 1.9% in the total population in 1971 to 8.2% in 1981. These were primarily Serbs that were induced by the nationalist movement of the Croats in the 1970s to temporarily deny their ethnic identity by declaring themselves as Yugoslavs.
The latest inter-ethnic conflicts in the former Yugoslavia propelled a large number of the persons declaring themselves as Yugoslavs to return to then- original ethnic identity. Besides other demographic variables, this induced a drop in the number of Yugoslavs between the last two censuses (1981-1991) in all the republics (no data for the FYR of Macedonia). The drop was slower in Montenegro, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, more rapid in Croatia and Slovenia. In the period 1981-1991, it was characteristic that in the Republic of Serbia the number of Yugoslavs went down in Central Serbia but went up in Vojvodina and Kosovo and Metohia. In these regions the question was about the change of origin of those persons in the category of Yugoslavs as in the new social and political circumstances the members of other Yugoslav peoples and national minorities declared themselves as Yugoslavs in greater number than Serbs.
In the period 1961-1991, the number of Yugoslavs in Vojvodina went up from 5174 to 168,859 persons (growth index 5320.1 pts), in Montenegro from 1559 to 25,854 (1658.3 pts), in Central Serbia from 11,699 to 145,810 (1246.3 pts), in Croatia from 15,559 to 104,728 persons (673.1 pts). The greatest shares of Yugoslavs in the total population were recorded in 1991 in Vojvodina (8.34%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (5.5%), Montenegro (4.2%), Serbia (3.2%), Croatia (2.2%) and Slovenia (0.6%).
Table 6. Distributuion of Yugoslavs in Yugoslavia by Population Censuses from 1961 to 1991
One of the characteristics of the persons declaring themselves as Yugoslavs was a very low level of their natural reproduction. This was a consequence of the fact that they came from the population groups with insufficient natural reproduction, that they were mostly concentrated in urban areas and were at a higher educational level. By the 1971 census, a woman in fertility age declaring herself as Yugoslav had 2.1 births which was identical to the fertility of Serbian or Croatian women that also had 2.1 births on average.
The Yugoslavs constituted a group of distinct territorial mobility. That is why they had a significant share in the migratory population in the Republic of Serbia. According to the 1981 population census, there were 24,608 Yugoslavs from Bosnia and Herzegovina and 27,397 from Croatia that moved to the Republic of Serbia. They comprised 8.6% of all the immigrants to this Republic.
The changes of ethnic affiliation had major importance in the distribution of Yugoslavs. According to R. Petrovic, in the total increase of 949,947 persons that declared themselves as Yugoslavs in the former Yugoslavia in the period 1971-1981, 890,730 or 93.8% changed their ethnic declaring. As regards the ethnic origin, the same author states that 60.3% of the Yugoslavs came from the Serbian population.
The change of national declaring of the Serbs in Vojvodina was evident in the 1991 population census data. In the last intercensal period, a mild increase was recorded in the number of Yugoslavs and a much more significant increase in the number of Serbs in Vojvodina, which was not due to the components of demographic development. On the one hand, the Serbs returned to their ethnic identity and, on the other hand, the members of other nationalities declared themselves as Yugoslavs. In the settlements with the prevalence of the Serbian population the number of Yugoslavs dropped, while in some settlements which earlier had the majority of Croats or others the number of Yugoslavs increased.
Distribution, of the Serbs, Montenegrins and Yugoslavs in the former Yugoslavia
The most important characteristics of the territorial organisation of the Serbs in the former Yugoslavia were wholeness, functional links and compactness of their ethnic area. This area consisted of autochthonous Serbian territories in the Serbian lands of Serbia and Montenegro and other lands of the Serbian people: in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnian Krajina, northern and eastern Bosnia, parts of central Bosnia and eastern Herzegovina), in Croatia (Baranja, parts of eastern Slavonija, western Slavonija, Banija, Kordun, Lika, Dalmatinska Zagora), in Macedonia (Skopska Crna Gora, Kumanovo area). The Serbs were autochthonous and predominant in these areas for centuries not only because of their number but also because of their sizeable land ownership in the smallest administrative, territorial and functional units-settlements.
According to the 1948 population census, 73.7% of the total Serbian population in the former Yugoslavia lived in Serbia, 17.3% in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 8.3% in Croatia and only 0.7% in other republics. The trends in the distribution of the population in the post-war period caused higher concentration of the Serbian population in the Republic of Serbia (Central Serbia and Vojvodina, in particular). By the 1991 population census, 75.4% of all the Serbs in the former Yugoslavia lived in the Republic of Serbia. At the same time, the weakening of the overall Serbian population potentials became evident in Bosnia and Herzegovina (17.3% in 1948 to 16.1% in 1991) and in Croatia (8.3% to 6.8%). As regards other republics, the share of the Serbs increased in Slovenia (0.1% in 1948 to 0.6% in 1991) and in Montenegro (0.1% to 0.6%), and it did not change in Macedonia (0.5%). (Table 2)
According to the 1981 census the Serbian population in Serbia had ethnic majority (50.0% and more) in 4382 settlements, covering the area of 76,648 sq. km. or 86.7% of the territory of the Republic. Very high ethnic homogeneity (90.1% and more) was characteristic of the Serbian population in Central Serbia and in the greater part of Vojvodina. (The data on area size were obtained by planimetry from the maps attached to this paper). According to the 1991 census, the Serbs did not have ethnic prevalence in seven municipalities of Central Serbia only.
The ethnic composition, compactness and imbuing of the peoples and national minorities in this ethnic area can only be realistically comprehended through the data classified by settlements. Thus, the enclosed maps offer an opportunity to conclude that the Serbs in the Republic of Serbia, precisely in the contact zones with the population with which they were on a higher level of ethnic tolerance, more often declared themselves as Yugoslavs primarily due to mixed marriages. The examples for this statement could be the frontier regions of south-eastern Serbia towards Bulgaria or some parts of Vojvodina. The ethnic mimicry of the Serbs, that is, their declaring as Yugoslavs or otherwise (regional affiliation, etc.) was of almost no significance in the contact zones of the Serbs and Albanians, and of the Serbs and Muslims in the Republic of Serbia. Historical and religious antagonisms and cultural and civilisation differences nurtured from the family level to the highest state institutions were the cause of their alienation. The result was that the Serbs, Albanians and Muslims living on the same territory and in the nearest neighbourhood strongly adhered to their own ethnic being. Hence, in these areas, particularly in Kosovo and Metohia and in the part of south-eastern Serbia, the persons declaring themselves as Yugoslavs appeared in insignificantly small absolute and relative numbers.
In 1991, the Serbs in Vojvodina had absolute ethnic majority in 31 out of the total of 45 municipalities, and relative majority in four municipalities. On the level of settlements, the Serbs comprised an absolute majority of the population in the major part of Vojvodina except at its farthest north where the Hungarians were ethnically predominant, while the Serbs constituted about 25.0% of the population. In the settlements in north-western Bačka where the Serbs, Bunjevci, Hungarians and Croats lived, there were many persons who declared themselves as Yugoslavs in 1981. This happened because of a great number of those born in mixed marriages and due to ethnic mimicry most apparent among the Serbs in the political circumstances created by the 1974 Constitution when Vojvodina acquired certain rights of a state.
In Kosovo and Metohia the ethnic area of the Serbs was persistently narrowed over the centuries by the systematic advance of the Albanians from the neighbouring Albania and by expelling of the Serbian population. Over the last decades this process culminated into a unique phenomenon in Europe. Namely, the objective of the Albanians was to expel, by their biological expansion, the remaining Serbian population and conquer the lands owned by the Serbs for centuries. Thus, the present distribution of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohia has a feature of enclaves which, with their locations, confirm the wholeness of the Serbian ethnic area on this territory in the past. In the 1981 census, the Serbs had the absolute ethnic majority in the north of the Region of Kosovo and Metohia (municipalities of Leposavić, Zvečan, Zubin Potok). The high concentration of the Serbs was in the fertile valleys in the south of this Region (Sirinić, Gora, Opolje), in Metohia (Peć, Klina, Istok), and on the route from Uroševac in the south, across Obilić to Kamenica in the north, and Gnjilane and Novo Brdo in the east.
The geographical distribution of the Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina formed a vast and compact Serbian ethnic area in this Republic for centuries. According to the 1981 population census, the Serbs had the absolute ethnic predominance (50.0% and more) in 2439 settlements or in 41.4% of all the settlements in the Republic. At the same time, a rather high level of ethnic homogeneity (90.1 % and more of the Serbian population) was evident in 1705 settlements. The settlements with more than 50% of the Serbs covered 27,255 sq. km. of the area or 53.5% of the territory in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Serbian ethnic area in the Republic was reduced by the high share of Serbs in the group of Yugoslavs which can be seen by comparing the maps showing the distribution of Serbs and Yugoslavs.
The ethnic area of the Serbs in Croatia, analysed by settlements, represents a compact whole linked with the Serbian ethnic area in Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the 1981 population census, the Serbs had absolute ethnic predominance in 1097 settlements or on 10,265 sq. km. In 1991, the Serbs had the absolute majority in eleven municipalities. Autochthonous Serbian territories are the northern parts of Dalmatia, southern and eastern Lika, Kordun, Banija, Slavonija, Baranja and western Srem. In the post-war period, and particularly after the 1960s, a great number of the Serbian population moved to industrial centres: Zagreb, Rijeka, Split, Pula, Sisak, Vinkovci, Bjelovar, Slavonski Brod, etc. Hence, in 1991, there were 210,384 Serbs in the towns of Croatia, which accounted for 36.2% of their total number in Croatia.
The main characteristic of the geographical distribution of the Serbs in Montenegro is their presence on the whole territory of this Republic, but with comparatively small share in the total population. The concentration of Serbs (25.1-50.0%) can be encountered in a number of settlements in northern Montenegro (Pljevlja valley), then in some settlements in the Littoral (surroundings of Budva). The share of Serbs below 10.0% in the total population is recorded in other coastal settlements and below 25.0% in the Bay of Kotor. Also, the share of Serbs below 10.0% of the total population is recorded in numerous settlements in the hinterland. To a lesser extent, the Serbian population is present in those municipalities in Montenegro in which the Muslim or Albanian population predominate.
In the 1981 population census, in Slovenia there were only 5 settlements where Serbs had absolute ethnic majority (50.0% and more) on the territory of 300 sq. km. The highest concentration of the Serbs in Slovenia was in the Ljubljana area. Thus, the 1991 population census registered 17,486 Serbs in five Ljubljana municipalities or 37.1% of the total number of Serbs in Slovenia. A higher concentration of Serbs occurred in the settlements and municipalities with developed mining and other industries. In Slovenia, as in other republics in the former Yugoslavia, a major part of Serbs declared themselves as Yugoslavs in the population censuses after the 1960s.
According to the 1981 population census, in Macedonia the Serbs had the absolute ethnic majority (50.0% and more) in only 12 settlements covering the area of 163 sq. km. Those were the settlements in the areas of Kumanovo and Skopska Crna Gora. The shares of Serbs from 25.1 to 50.0% were found in some municipalities of Skoplje, and up to 10.0% in a number of settlements in the Skoplje valley. Similar was in the Vardar river basin (Kavadarci, Negotino), in the municipality of Gevgelija, etc. It should be added that the zones of higher concentration of the Serbian population in Macedonia coincided with the zones of the higher share of the persons that declared themselves as Yugoslavs (ethnic mimicry). The highest concentration of Serbs was in Skoplje, Kumanovo and environments. In 1981, about 50.0% of all the Serbs in Macedonia lived in these two cities (Skoplje 40.5%, Kumanovo 9.6%). For 1991, the data were available for municipalities only. These data show that of the total number of the Serbs in Macedonia 49.3% lived in the municipalities of Skoplje and 24.4% in the Kumanovo municipality.
After World War II, the characteristics of the distribution of the Montenegrins were their decreasing concentration in Montenegro and their increasing shares in other Yugoslav republics. By the 1948 census, of the total number of Montenegrins in Yugoslavia 80.4% lived in Montenegro and 17.6% in Serbia, while less than 1.0% lived in other republics. According to the 1991 census, of the total number of Montenegrins in Yugoslavia 69.2% lived in Montenegro, 25.5% in Serbia, 2.4% in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1.7% in Croatia, 0.7% in Macedonia, and 0.5% in Slovenia. (Table 4).
The demographic trends and changes in declaring resulted in a notable drop in the share of the Montenegrins in the total population in their native republic after World War II. By the 1948 census, the Montenegrins comprised 90.7% and by the 1991 census, only 61.8% of the total population in Montenegro. At the same time, the shares of other peoples and national minorities in the ethnic composition of Montenegro increased (Muslims, Albanians, Serbs and other).
By the 1981 census, the Montenegrins had absolute ethnic majority (50.0% and more) in 983 settlements in Montenegro, in 20 settlements in Serbia, and in one settlement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of the characteristics of the Montenegrin population was a very high degree of ethnic homogeneity in the highlands of Montenegro but not in the eastern parts which were inhabited by the Muslim and Albanian population. A lower degree of ethnic homogeneity of the Montenegrin population was found in the settlements of lower altitudes and in the Littoral. The Littoral and some towns had heterogeneous ethnic composition in which a considerable share was comprised of other Yugoslav peoples, particularly Muslims, Serbs, Croats, and the Albanian national minority. Over the last decades the number of persons declaring themselves as Yugoslavs increased in this area.
According to the 1981 population census, the share of Montenegrins went up to 50.0% in the settlements in Serbia, namely, in the municipalities of Prokuplje, Kuršumlija and Medvedja and in some municipalities of Vojvodina (Vrbas). These shares resulted from the planned colonisation of the Montenegrins to Toplica at the end of the 19th century and to Vojvodina after World War II. The shares of the Montenegrins from 1.1% to 10.0% in the total population were recorded in the region of Belgrade and in other regional centres and environments: Novi Sad, Pančevo, Smederevo, Kragujevac, Čačak, Kraljevo, etc. They resulted from individual post-war immigrations into Serbia from Montenegro for education and employment reasons. Also, mass emigrations from Kosovo and Metohia took place during World War II and in the post-war period under the pressure of the separatist movement and extensive biological expansion of the Albanians. Due to the emigration streams from Kosovo and Metohia, the total Montenegrin population potentials in this Region dropped, so that only some fragmented enclaves of the Montenegrin and Serbian population were preserved in the area before 1981 (shares 1.1% to 10.0% in the total population). In other republics in the former Yugoslavia, the Montenegrin population of a comparatively small potential was concentrated mostly in towns to which they migrated in search of employment. The presented facts lead to the conclusion that almost the entire Montenegrin population from the former Yugoslavia was concentrated in the republics of Montenegro and Serbia (98.0% in 1948, 94.7% in 1991) with their decreasing in Montenegro and increasing in Serbia.
Considering the distribution of the persons declaring themselves as Yugoslavs, it is possible to determine their ethnic origin. The statement that before the 1960s the main body of the Yugoslavs was comprised of Muslims was confirmed by the 1961 census according to which 87.0% of them lived in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the 1960s, when the Muslims were proclaimed a separate people, the concentration of the Yugoslavs in the Republic of Serbia became higher. Thus, of the total number of those that declared themselves as Yugoslavs in the former Yugoslavia 45.4% lived in Serbia in 1971, and 36.2% in 1981.
An increase in the share of Yugoslavs was also recorded in Croatia. In this Republic, of the total number of Yugoslavs in the former Yugoslavia there were 4.9% in 1961, 30.8% in 1971, and 31.1% in 1981. Their share in the total population in the Republic went up from 0.4% in 1961 to 8.2% in 1981. A higher concentration of Yugoslavs on the Serbian ethnic territory in Croatia resulted from the major share of the Serbian population in this category .
The share of the Yugoslavs in Bosnia and Herzegovina dropped to 16.0% in 1971, and increased to 26.9% in 1981. The shares of Yugoslavs in the total population of the Republic went up from 1.2% in 1971 to 7.9% in 1981. Here also, a high concentration of Yugoslavs was found on the Serbian ethnic territory.
In 1981, on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, there were only 62 settlements in which Yugoslavs comprised majority (50.0% and more). These settlements were located in Croatia (32), in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (12 each), in Montenegro (5), and in Slovenia (1).
Yugoslavs had the most balanced distribution and the most rapid growth in the ethnically heterogeneous region of Vojvodina. In 1981, in the majority of settlements, they accounted for 1.1% up to 10.0% of the total population. The shares of 10.1% to 25.0% of Yugoslavs were characteristic of the regional centres and environments (Novi Sad, Zrenjanin, Pančevo), while their maximum shares (25.1% to 50.0%) were recorded in north-western Bačka where Serbs, Hungarians, Bunjevci, Croats, Ruthenians lived in mixed settlements. In Central Serbia, major shares of Yugoslavs (10.1% to 25.0%) were found in eastern Serbia (Serbs and Vlachs), in south-eastern Serbia (Serbs and Bulgarians). In the Belgrade area and other large conurbation's, the share of Yugoslavs in the total population varied from 1.1% to 10.0%. Minimum shares of Yugoslavs were found in Kosovo and Metohia and in south-western Serbia.
According to the 1981 census, a significant concentration of Yugoslavs in Croatia was found in the Serbian ethnic area, precisely in the settlements of eastern and western Slavonija, Banija, Lika, etc. (10.0% to 25.0 or even 25.1% to 50.0%). Major shares of Yugoslavs were also found in the ethnically heterogeneous Istria and in some settlements in Dalmatia where, after the Croatian nationalist movement in 1971, the Serbian population en masse declared themselves as Yugoslavs.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, larger shares of Yugoslavs were found in the regions with the predominant Serbian population and in larger conurbation's (for example, the settlements in some of the municipalities of Sarajevo, then, in the municipality of Trebinje, Mostar, Bosansko Grahovo, Bosanski Petrovac, Bosanska Dubica). Also, a great number of the inhabitants in the settlements with the Serbian population in western Herzegovina declared themselves as Yugoslavs.
In Montenegro, Yugoslavs had the highest concentration in the Littoral (10.1% to 25.0%), then in the Podgorica region, while the shares of Yugoslavs in the interior of Montenegro were considerably lower (1.1% to 10.0%). In Macedonia and Slovenia the number of Yugoslavs was almost insignificant and their territorial distribution coincided with the settlements with the Serbian population or the regional centres.
Divisions of the Serbian people and the Serbian ethnic area instigated numerous wars for liberation in the 19th and 20th centuries. The latest division of the Serbian ethnic area and consequently of the Serbian national being caused by the secessionist movements and the recognition of the former Yugoslav republics within the Communist boundaries led to a terrible inter-ethnic, civil and religious war among the Yugoslav peoples.
Dr Milena Spasovski is Associate Professor of Geography of Population and Demography at The Faculty of Geography, University of Belgrade. She has published about forty papers in Geography of Population and Demography in Serbian, English and Polish. She is the author of Prirodne komponente razvitka stanovništva Beograda /Natural Components of the Population Development of Belgrade/ (1977); Etnički sastav stanovništva Bosne i Hercegovine /The Ethnic Structure of the Population of Bosnia and Herzegovina/ (1992, with two co-authors). The book has been translated in to Greek (third edition 1995). She has also contributed to monographs the following papers: Prirodne komponente razvitka stanovništva /Natural Components of the Population Development) (1990); Broj i razmeštaj Srba i Crnogoraca u socijalističkoj Federativnoj Republici Jugoslaviji posle drugog Svetskog Rata /Number and Distribution of Serbs and Montenegrins in the S.F.R.Y./(1993).
Dr Saša Kicošev is Assistant Professor of Regional Geography of Asia and Africa, Landscape Planning in Tourism, and Geographical Elements of Physical Planning at the Institute of Geography, University of Novi Sad. His major area of research is Demography and Geopolitics. In addition to numerous scientific papers, he has published Geografske i demografske karakteristike Rumuna u Vojvodini /Geographical and Demographic Characteristics of the Romanians in Vojvodina/ (1991); Ribnjak Ečka /Fish Preserves of Ečka/ (1992); Razvoj populacije Baranje /Population Development in Baranja/ (1993), and Opština Apatin /The Municipality of Apatin/.
Dr Dragica Živković is Assistant Professor of Cartography at the Faculty of Geography, University of Belgrade. Her major area of research is Cartography. She has published about forty scientific and professional articles and is one of the co-authors of Etnički sastav stanovništva Bosne i Hercegovine /The Ethnic Structure of the Population of Bosnia and Herzegovina/ (1992).
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