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Demographics of Romania

About 89.5% of the people of Romania are ethnic Romanians, a group that--in contrast to its Slav or Hungarian neighbors--traces itself to Latin-speaking Romans, who in the second and third centuries A.D. conquered and settled among the ancient Dacians, a Thracian people. As a result, the Romanian language, although containing elements of Slavic, Turkish, and other languages, is a romance language related to French and Italian.

Primarily a rural, agricultural population, the medieval Wallachians and Moldavians maintained their language and culture despite centuries of rule by foreign princes. Once independent, the population of the unified Romanian state took their modern name to emphasize their connection with the ancient Romans.

Table of contents
1 Minorities
2 Religion
3 Culture
4 Statistics
5 External Link


Hungarians (especially in Harghita, Mureş, Covana) and Gypsies are the principal minorities, with a declining German population (in Sibiu, Braşov) and smaller numbers of Serbs and Croats (in Banat), Ukrainians (in Bukovina), Greeks (Brăila, Constanţa), Turks (in Constanţa), Armenians, Great Russians (Lippovans, in Tulcea), and others. Minority populations are greatest in Transylvania and the Banat, areas in the north and west, which belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire until World War I. Even before union with Romania, ethnic Romanians comprised the overall majority in Transylvania. However, ethnic Hungarians and Germans were the dominant urban population until relatively recently, and still are the majority in a few districts.

Before World War II, minorities represented more than 28% of the total population. During the war that percentage was halved, largely by the loss of the border areas of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina (to the former Soviet Union -- now Moldova and Ukraine) and southern Dobrudja (to Bulgaria), as well as by the postwar flight or deportation of ethnic Germans.

Though Romanian troops participated in the destruction of the Jewish communities of Bessarabia and Bukovina, most Jews from Romania survived the Holocaust. Mass emigration, mostly to Israel and United States, has reduced the surviving Jewish community from over 300,000 to less than 6,000. In recent years, more than two-thirds of the ethnic Germans in Romania have emigrated to Germany, leaving behind roughly 60,000.


Religious affiliation tends to follow ethnic lines, with most ethnic Romanians identifying with the Romanian Orthodox Church. The Greek Catholic or Uniate church, reunified with the Orthodox Church by fiat in 1948, was restored after the 1989 revolution. The 2002 census indicates that 0.9% of the population is Greek Catholic, as opposed to about 10% prior to 1948. Roman Catholics, largely ethnic Hungarians and Germans, constitute 4.7% of the population; Calvinists, Baptists, Pentecostals, and Lutherans make up another 5%. There are smaller numbers of Unitarians, Muslims, and other religions.


Main article: Culture of Romania

Romania's rich cultural traditions have been nourished by many sources, some of which predate the Roman occupation. The traditional folk arts, including dance, wood carving, ceramics, weaving and embroidery of costumes and household decorations, and fascinating folk music, still flourish in many parts of the country. Despite strong Austrian, German, and especially French influence, many of Romania's great artists, such as the painter Nicolae Grigorescu, the poet Mihai Eminescu, the composer George Enescu, and the sculptor Constantin Brāncuşi, drew their inspiration from Romanian folk traditions.

The country's many Orthodox monasteries, as well as the Transylvanian Catholic Church and the Evangelical Church, some of which date back to the 13th century, are repositories of artistic treasures. The famous painted monasteries of Bukovina make an important contribution to European architecture.

Poetry and the theater play an important role in contemporary Romanian life. Classic Romanian plays, such as those of Ion Luca Caragiale, as well as works by modern or avant-garde Romanian and international playwrights, find sophisticated and enthusiastic audiences in the many theaters of the capital and of the smaller cities.


Population: 21,698,181 (March 2002)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 18% (male 2,111,320; female 2,015,347)

15-64 years: 68% (male 7,597,958; female 7,707,498)

65 years and over: 14% (male 1,237,368; female 1,741,630) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: -0.21% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 10.76 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 12.29 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 19.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 69.93 years

male: 66.1 years

female: 73.99 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.35 children born/woman (2000 est.)


noun: Romanian(s)

adjective: Romanian

Ethnic groups: Romanian 89.5%, Hungarian 6.6%, Roma 2.5%, German 0.3%, Ukrainian 0.3% (2002)

Religions: Romanian Orthodox 86.7%, Roman Catholic 4.7%, Greek Catholic (Uniate) 0.9%, Protestant 3.7% (2002)

Languages: Romanian, Hungarian, German


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.7%

male: 99.6%

female: 99.8% (2003 est.)

See also : Romania

External Link