This article is about the demographic features of the population of Kosovo, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Kosovo has an estimated population of 2.1 million (as of 2007)[1]. The dominant ethnic group is Albanian (92%), with significant minorities of Serbs and others.


The 2000 Living Standard Measurement Survey by Statistical Office of Kosovo (rejected by Belgrade[2]): Total population estimated between 1.8-2.0 million, however, it was boycotted largely by non-Albanians.[3] From 2000, AMSJ (confirmed by Kosovo Statistical Office in 2003), estimating a 1,900,000 strong population.

Kosovo currently has the youngest population in Europe, with a fertility estimated by the Census Bureau of 2.4 children per woman. [3] As recently as 1990, [4] Kosovo's population structure resembled those of countries like Haiti, and was in stark contrast to the rest of Serbia [5] and other European countries.


File:Kosovo ethnic 2005.png

The 2000 Living Standard Measurement Survey by Statistical Office of Kosovo found an ethnic composition of the population as follows:

A most comprehensive (October 2002) estimate (for the 1.9 million inhabitants) for these years:

During the Kosovo War in 1999, over 700,000 ethnic Albanians[4] and around 100,000 ethnic Serbs were forced out of the province to neighbouring Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Serbia. After the United Nations took over administration of Kosovo following the war, the vast majority of the Albanian refugees returned.[citation needed] The largest diaspora communities of Kosovo Albanians are in Germany and Switzerland accounting for some 200,000 individuals each, or for 20% of the population resident in Kosovo.

Many non-Albanians - chiefly Serbs and Roma - fled or were expelled, mostly to the rest of Serbia at the end of the war, with further refugee outflows occurring as the result of sporadic ethnic violence. The number of registered refugees is around 250,000.[5][6][7] The non-Albanian population in Kosovo is now about half of its pre-war total[citation needed]. The largest concentration of Serbs in the province is in the north, but many remain in Kosovo Serb enclaves surrounded by Albanian-populated areas. Also, according to Serbian sources, the Gorani people, living on the south-most tip of the Kosovo are systematically oppressed and denied their minority rights.[8]

Religion Edit

File:New Mosque in Obilic Kastriot.JPG

Islam 90% (1,800,000) (mostly Sunni, with a small Sufi minority) is the predominant religion, professed by most of the majority ethnic Albanian population, the Bosniak, Gorani and Turkish communities, and some of the Roma/Ashkali/Egyptian community.[9]

The Serb population, estimated at 100,000 to 150,000 persons, is largely Serbian Orthodox.

Albanian Catholic communities are mostly concentrated in Prizren, Klinë, Gjakovë, Pejë, Prishtinë and Viti.


Archeological findings show that Bronze and Iron Age tombs were found only in Dukagjini, not in Kosovo proper.

After Roman conquest of Illyria at 168 BC,Ulpiana is founded by Romans and settled by Roman legionaries[10].The region already was inhabited by Illyrians, Celts[11][12] and Thracians[12][13].The ethnic origin of the legionaires is unknown.Romans colonized and founded several cities in the region[14].

In the early 7th century, Serbs settled in Balkans (including Kosovo)[15]. In the 12th century, according to the Byzantine Empress Anna Angelina Komnenos, the Serbs were the main inhabitants of Kosovo (Eastern Dalmatia and former Moesia Superior)[16]. Archeological findings from the 7th century onwards show a Serb (Slavic) cultural domination in case of glagolithic letters, pottery, cemeteries, churches and monasteries[17].

14th century Edit

The Dečani Charter from 1330 contained a detailed list of households and chartered villages in Metohija and northwestern Albania:

3 of 89 settlements were Albanian, the other being Serb.

15th century Edit

The ethnic composition of Kosovo's population during this period included Serbs, Albanians, and Vlachs along with a token number of Greeks, Armenians, Saxons, and Bulgarians, according to Serbian monastic charters or chrysobulls (Hristovulja). A majority of the given names in the charters are overwhelmingly Serbian (Of 24,795 names, 23,774 were ethnic Serb names, 470 of Roman origin, 65 of Albanian origin and 61 of Greek origin). This claim is supported by the Turkish cadastral tax-census (defter) of 1455 which took into account religion and language and found an overwhelming Serb majority.

1455: Turkish cadastral tax census (defter)[18] of the Brankovic dynasty lands (covering 80% of present-day Kosovo) recorded 480 villages, 13,693 adult males, 12,985 dwellings, 14,087 household heads (480 widows and 13,607 adult males). Totally there were around 75,000 inhabitants in 590 villages comprising modern-day Kosovo. By ethnicity:

  • 13,000 Serb dwellings present in all 480 villages and towns
  • 75 Vlach dwellings in 34 villages
  • 46 Albanian dwellings in 23 villages
  • 17 Bulgarian dwellings in 10 villages
  • 5 Greek dwellings in Lauša, Vučitrn
  • 1 Jewish dwelling in Vučitrn
  • 1 Croat dwelling

1487: A census of the House of Branković[citation needed]

  • Ipek (Peć) district:
  • 131 Christian household of which 52% in Suho Grlo were Serbs
  • 6,124 Christian housings (99%)
  • 55 Moslem houses (1%)

17th - 18th century Edit

The Great Turkish War of 1683–1699 between the Ottomans and the Habsburgs led to the flight of a substantial part of Serbian population to Austrian held Vojvodina and the Military Frontier - about 60-70,000 Serb refugees total settled in the Habsburg Monarchy in that time of whom many were from Kosovo.

19th century Edit


19th century data about the population of Kosovo tend to be rather conflicting, giving sometimes numerical superiority to the Serbs and sometimes to the Albanians. The Ottoman statistics are regarded as unreliable, as the empire counted its citizens by religion rather than nationality, using birth records rather than surveys of individuals.

A study in 1838 by an Austrian physician, dr. Joseph Müller found Metohija to be mostly Slavic (Serbian) in character.[19] Müller gives data for the three counties (Bezirke) of Prizren, Peja and Gjakova which roughly covered Dukagjini, the portion adjacent to Albania and most affected by Albanian settlers. Out of 195,000 inhabitants in Dukagjini, Müller found:

Müller's observations on towns:

Map published by French ethnographer G. Lejean[20] in 1861 shows that Albanians lived on around 57% of the territory of today's province while a similar map, published by British travellers G. M. Mackenzie and A. P. Irby[20] in 1867 shows slightly less; these maps don't show which population was larger overall. Nevethless, maps cannot be used to measure population as they leave out density.

A study done in 1871 by Austrian colonel Peter Kukulj[21] for the internal use of the Austro-Hungarian army showed that the mutesarifluk of Prizren (corresponding largely to present-day Kosovo) had some 500,000 inhabitants, of which:

Miloš S. Milojević travelled the region in 1871–1877 and left accounts which testify that Serbs were majority population, and were predominant in all cities, while Albanians were minority and lived mostly in villages.[22] According to his data, Albanians were majority population in southern Drenica (Muslim Albanians), and in region around Đakovica (Catholic Albanians), while the city was majorly Serbian. He also recorded several settlements of Turks, Romas and Circassians.

It is estimated that around 400,000[23] Serbs were cleansed out of the Vilayet of Kosovo between 1876 and 1912, especially during the Greek-Ottoman War in 1897.[24]

Maps published by German historian Kiepert[20] in 1876, J. Hahn[20] and Austrian consul K. Sax,[20] show that Albanians live on most of the territory of today's province, however they don't show which population is larger. According to these, the regions of Kosovska Mitrovica and Kosovo Polje were settled mostly by Serbs, whereas most of the terrirory of western and eastern parts of today's province was settled by Muslim Albanians.

An Austrian statistics[25] published in 1899 estimated:

At the end of the 19th century, Spiridon Gopchevich, an Austrian traveller - comprised a statistics and published them in Vienna. They established that Prizren had 60,000 citizens of whome 11,000 were Christian Serbs and 36,000 Moslem Serbs. The remaining population were Turks, Albanians, Tzintzars and Roma. For Pec he said that it had 2,530 households of which 1,600 were Mohammedan, 700 Christian Serb, 200 Catholic Albanian and 10 Turkish.

Note: some of Muslim Serbs mentioned by travelers were later assimilated into Kosovo Albanian population while their descendants today mostly self-declare as Muslims by nationality, Bosniaks or Gorani.

20th century Edit

File:Distribution of Races on the Balkans in 1922 Hammond.png

British journalist H. Brailsford estimated in 1906[26] that two-thirds of the population of Kosovo was Albanian and one-third Serbian. The most populous western districts of Đakovica and Peć were said to have between 20,000 and 25,000 Albanian households, as against some 5,000 Serbian ones. A map of Alfred Stead,[27] published in 1909 , shows that similar numbers of Serbs and Albanians were living in the territory.

German scholar Gustav Weigand gave the following statistical data about the population of Kosovo[28], based on the pre-war situation in Kosovo in 1912:

  • Pristina District: 67% Albanians, 30% Serbs
  • Prizren District: 63% Albanians, 36% Serbs
  • Vučitrn District: 90% Albanians, 10% Serbs
  • Uroševac District: 70% Albanians, 30% Serbs
  • Gnjilane District: 75% Albanians, 23% Serbs
  • Mitrovica District: 60% Serbs, 40% Albanians

Metohija with the town of Đakovica is furthermore defined as almost exclusively Albanian by Weigand[28]. Citing Serbian sources, Noel Malcolm also states that in 1912 when Kosovo came under Serbian control, "the Orthodox Serb population at less than 25%,[6]"

Balkan Wars and World War I-World War II Edit

File:Distribution of Races on the Balkans in 1923.jpg
  • The 1921 Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes population census for the territories comprising modern day Kosovo listed 439,010 inhabitants:
By religion:
By native language:
  • According to the 1931 Kingdom of Yugoslavia population census, there were 552,064 inhabitants in today's Kosovo.
By religion:
By native language:

Colonization programs were implemented by the Serbian authorities in the periods between 1922 and 1929, 1933 and 1938, leading to the settlement of some 10,000 Serbian families, mostly in northern Kosovo, Kosovo Polje and along the Lab River, mostly from Montenegro and poor regions of central Serbia.[citation needed] The process was a result of the agrarian reform pursued by the Yugoslavian authorities. "Tax and property incentives for Serbs to move to Kosovo produced a measurable demographic change in Kosovo’s cities by 1929, but the province’s overall ethnic balance remained roughly 60% Albanian, 35% Serb,[7]".

The ethnic Albanian and Turkish population, at the time, in Kosovo and Metohia were reluctant to reconcile with living in a European-organized state where, instead of the status of the absolutely privileged class they had enjoyed during the Turkish rule, they acquired only civil equality with what had previously been the infidel masses. Discontent with the new state among the ethnic Albanian masses stepped up emigration to Turkey, in whose Muslim environment they felt at home. [29]

By the 1930s, thousands of ethnic Albanian and Turkish families had voluntarily moved to Turkey Republic of Turkey, and in 1938, after lengthly negotiations, the Yugoslav and Turkish governments prepared a convention on the emigration of some 200,000 Muslims (ethnic Albanians and Turks) from Kosovo-Metohia and Macedonia to Turkey. Because the Turkish government abandoned the agreement and a lack of funds to dispatch the emigrants, the convention was never implemented. The Yugoslav authorities conducted a census on the region of Kosovo in 1939. The census was handed poorly and not finished. It registered some 125,000 Albanians, while the number of the entire non-Slav population (Albanians, Turks, Roma etc.) was 422,828 or 65.6%. The percentage of native Slavic population and the colonists was 25.2% and 9.2%, respectively.[29]

World War II-1968 Edit

Most of the territory of today's province is occupied by Italian-controlled Greater Albania, massacres of some 10,000[30][31] Serbs, ethnic cleansing of about 80[30] to 100,000[30][32] or more[31] (including all of the colonists[citation needed][31])

1968-1989: Autonomy Edit

Especially after 1961, 103,000 Serbs and Montenegrins have left Kosovo, mainly due to mistreatment by Albanian authorities and population[33].

After the province gained autonomy, local provincial Statistical office given authority over census whereas the rest of the country's census was under the tutelage of the Federal Statistical Commission. Allegations of census rigging (for the 1971 and 1981) by Turkish, Muslim and Romani minorities who claim forceful Albanization[citation needed]. Serb claims Albanians drastically overincreased their own numbers. Nothing could be substantiated though because the Kosovo Statistical offices were under exclusive Albanian control which was against the national norm at the time which dictated that census takers had to be of different nationalities

1971: 1,243,693 total inhabitants[citation needed]

Albanians take ever-increasing control of Autonomous province with the introduction of the 1974 Constitution of SFRY.

1989-1999: Centralized Yugoslav Control Edit

File:Kosovo ethnic.png

Yugoslav Central Government reasserts control over Kosovo in 1989.

Official Yugoslav statistical results, almost all Albanians and some Roma, Muslims boycott the census following a call by Ibrahim Rugova to boycott Serbian institutions. 1991 359,346 total population

Official Yugoslav statistical corrections and projections, with the help of previous census results (1948-1981):

1,956,196 Total population

The corrections should not taken to be fully accurate. The number of Albanians is sometimes regarded as being an underestimate. On the other hand, it is sometimes regarded as an overestimate, being derived from earlier censa which are believed to be overestimates. The Statistical Office of Kosovo states that the quality of the 1991 census is "questionable." [8].

In September 1993 , the Bosniak parliament returned their historical name Bosniaks. Some Kosovar Muslims have started using this term to refer to themselves since.

1995 Hivzi Islami's estimate Edit

In the year of 1995, Dr. Hivzi Islami of the Pristina Demographic Department for Kosovo conducted an unofficial census estimate for Kosovo. There was a total of around 1,600,000 inhabitants in Kosovo (and a further 600,000 living abroad):

  • Albanians - around 1,360,000 (89.9%); 1,960,000 with the diaspora
  • Serbs - around 140,000 (6.3%)
  • Muslims - around 40,000 (1.9%)
  • Roma - around 40,000 (1.9%)
  • Turks - around 8,000 (0.3%)
  • Montenegro - around 7,000 (0.3%)
  • others - around 5,000 (0.2%)

The same department counted in the list of all Albanian diaspora that had the Yugoslav citizenship - a list of around 500,000 ethnic Albanians with Yugoslav citizenship living abroad:

Refugees in the second half of 1998 Edit

Just before the 13 October 1998, UNHCR estimated that there were around 200,000 misplaced people in Kosovo in the civil war that already engulfed half of the province. Of that, some 120,000 were displaced abroad (forming 80% of FRJ's displaced diaspora):

1998 Federal Secretariat of Information Edit

In 1998 the Federal Secretariat of Information in Belgrade estimated a pre-term population census for the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija listing around 1,378,980 citizens:

Kosovo War refugees Edit

The total list of countries to which the refugees refuged and in what numbers:


other countries to which Kosovars refuged:

See alsoEdit


  1. CIA World Factbook - Kosovo
  2. People's Daily: Belgrade to Reject Results of U.N.-Conducted Census in Kosovo
  3. Living Standard Measurement Survey 2000, Statistical Office of Kosovo - see also Kosovo and its Population
  4. BBC: [1]
  5. Coordination Centre of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Republic of Serbia for Kosovo and Metohija
  6. UNHCR: 2002 Annual Statistical Report: Serbia and Montenegro, pg. 9
  7. USCR: Country report: Yugoslavia
  8. [Projekat Rastko - Gora] E-biblioteka kulture i tradicije Gore i Goranaca
  9. BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Muslims in Europe: Country guide
  10. The Roman army as a community: including papers of a conference held at Adrian Keith Goldsworthy, Ian Haynes, Colin E. P. Adams,ISBN-1887829342,1997,page 100
  11. The central Balkan tribes in pre-Roman times: Triballi, Autariatae, Dardanians, Scordisci and Moesians by Fanula Papazoglu,ISBN-10: 9025607934,page 265
  12. 12.0 12.1 Pannonia and Upper Moesia: a history of the middle Danube provinces of the Roman Empire The Provinces of the Roman Empire Tome 4,ISBN-0710077149, 9780710077141,1974,page 9
  13. Wilkes, J. J. The Illyrians, 1992,ISBN 0631198075.,Page 85,"... Whether the Dardanians were an Illyrian or a Thracian people has been much debated and one view suggests that the area was originally populated with Thracians who where then exposed to direct contact with illyrians over a long period..."
  14. Hauptstädte in Südosteuropa: Geschichte, Funktion, nationale Symbolkraft by Harald Heppner,page 134
  15. Constantine Porphyrogenitus: De administrando imperio
  16. Anne Comnène, Alexiade - Règne de l'Empereur Alexis I Comnène 1081-1118, texte etabli et traduit par B. Leib, Paris 1937-1945, II, 147-148, 157, 166, 184
  17. A. Backalov: The Early Middle Ages, The Archaeological Treasures of Kosovo and Metohija from the Neolityc to the Early Middle Ages, Gallery of Serbian Academy of Sciencies and Arts, 90, Beograd, 1998, pp 372-391, 678-728
  18. The original Turkish-language copy of the census is stored in Istanbul's archives. However, in 1972 the Sarajevo Institute of Middle Eastern Studies translated the census and published an analysis of it Kovačević Mr. Ešref, Handžić A., Hadžibegović H. Oblast Brankovića - Opširni katastarski popis iz 1455., Orijentalni institut, Sarajevo 1972. Subsequently others have covered the subject as well such as Vukanović Tatomir, Srbi na Kosovu, Vranje, 1986.
  19. Dr. Joseph Müller, Albanien, Rumelien und die Österreichisch-montenegrinische Gränze, Prag, 1844
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 H.R. Wilkinson, Maps and Politics; a review of the ethnographic cartography of Macedonia, Liverpool University Press, 1951
  21. Das Fürstenthum Serbien und Türkisch-Serbien, eine militärisch-geographische Skizze von Peter Kukolj, Major im k.k.Generalstabe, Wien 1871
  22. ISBN 86-80029-29-7: Mirčeta Vemić: Ethnic Map of a Part of Ancient Serbia: According to the travel-record of Miloš S. Milojević 1871–1877, Belgrade, 2005
  23. ISBN 86-17-09287-4: Kosta Nikolić, Nikola Žutić, Momčilo Pavlović, Zorica Špadijer: Историја за трећи разред гимназије, Belgrade, 2002, pg. 63
  25. Detailbeschreibung des Sandzaks Plevlje und des Vilajets Kosovo (Mit 8 Beilagen und 10 Taffeln), Als Manuskript gedruckt, Vien 1899, 80-81.
  26. H. N. Brailsford, Macedonia, Its Races and Their Future, London, 1906
  27. Servia by the Servians, Compiled and Edited by Alfred Stead, With a Map, London (William Heinemann), 1909. (Etnographical Map of Servia, Scale 1:2.750.000).
  28. 28.0 28.1 Gustav Weigand, Ethnographie von Makedonien, Leipzig, 1924; Густав Вайганд, Етнография на Македония (Bulgarian translation)
  29. 29.0 29.1 [2]
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Serge Krizman, Maps of Yugoslavia at War, Washington 1943.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 ISBN 86-17-09287-4: Kosta Nikolić, Nikola Žutić, Momčilo Pavlović, Zorica Špadijer: Историја за трећи разред гимназије природно-математичког смера и четврти разред гимназије општег и друштвено-језичког смера, Belgrade, 2002, pg. 182
  32. Annexe I, by the Serbian Information Centre-London to a report of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
  33. Ruza Petrovic; Marina Blagojevic. "Preface". The Migration of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo and Metohija. 

External linksEdit

Template:Ethnic groups in Kosovo Template:Ethnic groups in Serbia Template:Demographics of Europebg:Население на Косово lt:Kosovo demografija ro:Demografia provinciei Kosovo sq:Demografia e Kosovës sr:Демографска историја Косова и Метохије

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