The ethnic composition of the population of the Republic of Serbia is very diverse, which is a result of the country's turbulent past. The majority of the population of Serbia are Serbs, but another 37 ethnicities also live on its territory. All citizens have equal rights and responsibilities and enjoy full ethnic equality.
With respect to its ethnic composition, Republic of Serbia is a highly heterogeneous state. The prevalent national minorities are Albanians, Hungarians and Bosniaks. According to the 1991 census, (Serbia carried out a new census in 2002) 33.7% of the Serbia population belongs to minority communities, of which four fifths are Albanians, Hungarians and Bosniaks.
The New Constitution of the Republic of Serbia approved on the national refferendum held on 28-29 October 2006, guarantees rights to minorities, in accordance with the highest international standards. Serbs make up 82.86% of the population, Hungarians 3.91%, Bosniaks 1.81%, Roma 1.44%, Yugoslavs 1.08%, Croats 0.94%, Montenegrins 0.92%, Albanians 0.82%, Slovaks 0.79%, Vlachs 0.53%, Romanians 0.46%, Macedonians 0.34%, Bulgarians and Vojvodina Croats 0.27% each, Muslims 0.26%, Ruthenians 0.21%, Slovaks and Ukrainians 0.7% each, Gorani 0.06%, Germans 0.05%, and Russians and Czechs 0.03% each.
According to the 2002 census, there are 1, 135, 393 members of national minorities in Serbia, excluding Kosovo-Metohija. The largest number of national minorities live in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina - Hungarians (290, 207), Croats (56, 645) Slovaks (56, 637), Romanians (30, 419), Roma (29,057) Bunjevci (19, 766) Ruthenes (15, 626), Macedonians (11, 785), Ukrainians (4, 635), Germans (3, 154), Czechs (1, 648) and others.
There are 59, 952 members of national minorities in Central Serbia, and these are: Bosniaks (135, 670), Bulgarians (18, 839), Vlachs (39, 953), Gorani (3, 975), Macedonians (14, 062), Muslims (15, 869), Roma (79, 136), Croats (14, 569) and others.
The largest number of ethnic Albanians live in the southern Serbian province of Kosovo-Metohija. However, it is difficult to establish their exact number in the province due to a number of reasons, including the fact that the ethnic Albanian minority last took part in the 1981 census, boycotting the one carried out in 1991. Also, armed conflicts, the migration of a high number of Serbs and members of other minorities in the province, as well as the arrival of tens of thousands of Albanians from Albania have largely altered Kosovo-Metohija's ethnic composition.
Traditional Slovak National Costume
The official language in Serbia is Serbian and the script in official use is Cyrillic, while Latin script is also used. In the areas inhabited by ethnic minorities, the languages and scripts of the minorities are in official use, as provided by law.
The main religion of Serbia is Christian Orthodox. The Serbian Orthodox Church (Serbian: Српска Православна Црква / Srpska Pravoslavna Crkva; СПЦ / SPC), which has been autonomous since 1219, has played an important role in the development and preservation of the Serbian national identity. As one of theautocephalous Orthodox Christian churches, it ranks sixth after Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Russia.
The Patriarch of Serbia serves as first among equals in his church; the current patriarch is His Holiness Pavle. The Serb Patriarch's full title is "Archbishop of Peć, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovic and Patriarch of the Serbs." Pavle has been referred to as the "saint who walks" based on his simple lifestyle and personal humility. All of the bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church have an automobile, which they use to travel through their dioceses, except Pavle. When asked why he never obtained an automobile, he replies: "I will not purchase one until every Albanian an Serbian household i Kosovo and Metohija has an automobile."
Beside the Christian Orthodox population, there are also other religious communities in Serbia: Islamic, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and others.