Prior to the fall of communism in 1989, Romania, with European dimensions, had a high population growth, which was partly due to an abortion ban introduced by the communist regime. Since 1990, the number of residents has steadily declined as a result of declining birth rates, rising death rates and extensive emigration. It is mainly the population of the cities that has decreased.
Between the 2001 and 2011 census, the number of residents decreased from almost 22 million to just over 20 million. More than 900,000 people were reported to have left the country for an extended period, while over 600,000 were reported to have emigrated temporarily. In 2016, more than 3 million Romanians were estimated to work and live in other EU countries, including over 170,000 in the UK. Many of the Romanians who work illegally abroad are not registered in any country’s population figures.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of Romania, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.
The most densely populated areas in the country are the area around Bucharest as well as northeastern Romania.
The vast majority of the country’s residents belong to the Romanian population, while the number of Hungarians has fallen slightly to 1.3 million (2011). In Romania, Roma also constitute a large minority, while the number of Germans has fallen to less than 37,000 (2011). In addition, there are smaller groups of Ukrainians (routes), Russians, Turks, Serbs, Tatars, Slovaks, Bulgarians, Jews, Croats, Albanians, Greeks, Armenians and Czechs.
The Romans – a vulnerable group of people
The number of people who stated in the 2011 census that they were Roma amounted to about a quarter of a million, but in reality Romania may have the world’s largest Roma minority, according to various figures between 1.5 million and 3 million. The Roma, which are spread throughout the country, have very low social status and are often subject to harassment. Many of them lack identity documents and therefore live outside society to a great extent. It has happened that the Roma were displaced and forced into substandard replacement housing.
The EU has demanded measures from the government, and some improvements for the people group have been implemented, among other things in education. In 2015, the government presented a new strategy for the period 2015-2020 with the aim of facilitating Roma integration into society, for example by raising the group’s educational level, improving their health, creating more jobs and better housing. The interventions were estimated to cost just over 430 million lei (almost SEK 900 million) and were partly financed with EU grants.
During the 1990s, it became easier for the Roma to leave the country, but most of those seeking asylum, including in EU countries, were sent back. One year after Romania’s EU accession on 1 January 2007, the number of Romanians in Italy had increased to about half a million, many of them Romanians. They were accused of being behind a large part of the crime and their situation became especially difficult since a Roman man murdered an Italian in late 2007. Italy has subsequently expelled many Romanians, despite being EU citizens, with the support of a special law. France, too, has destroyed Roman camps and sent back tens of thousands of Roma to Romania and Bulgaria. Some Roma who have traveled to Sweden have also been returned to their home country.
Hungarian, German and Jewish minorities
Most of the kids live in Transylvania in the northwest. Also included in the Hungarian minority are the Saskals, believed to originate from the Turkish people of the Khazars. The Szekels were recruited to Hungary in the Middle Ages to serve as guards in the Hungarian Empire’s border areas. In this way the seashells ended up in Transylvania which Hungary began to subjugate in the 9th century.
For centuries, the right to Transylvania has been a matter of dispute between Hungary and Romania (see Older history). Until now, the position of the Hungarian minority has been a source of conflict (see Foreign Policy and Defense).
The Germans live in the area around the town of Timişoara at the far west – in the historic Banatet region – and at the northern foothills of the Carpathians. An emigration to Germany started already under Nicolae Ceauşescu’s communist rule (1965–1989), and over half of the Germans resigned after the death of the dictator in 1989.
In the years before the outbreak of World War II in 1939, some 800,000 Jews lived in Romania. Within the boundaries of the country resignations in 1939 (see Older history), 265,000 Jews (43 percent of the Jewish population) are estimated to have been killed during the war, while another 150,000 were killed in Hungary-controlled Transylvania. Under the communist regime, about 300,000 Jews emigrated, and today the minority amounts to fewer than 10,000 people.
The official language Romanian is a Romanian language, whose vocabulary and grammar are derived from Latin. During the centuries Romanian has been influenced by Slavic languages, Hungarian and Turkish. Only in the 19th century did the Latin alphabet begin to be used. Before that, Romanian was written in Cyrillic letters.
Since 2001, minorities have the right to receive information and service in their own language by the authorities in the areas where at least one fifth of the population belongs to a minority. In schools, children are taught minority languages, such as Hungarian or Romani.
Romanian pronunciation guide
Ă = much like English indefinite article a
Â / Î = has a draw for a short ä (Î is actually abolished in Romania, and replaced with Â, but lives in some proper names)
C = usually as “k”, but as “tj” before e and i; Ch = as “k” before e and i
G = usually as hard “g”, but soft as “dj” before e and i; Gh = hard “g” before e and i
i = is usually not pronounced at all if it is the last in a word, to get an i-sound last you write ii, there are also words ending in -iii and pronounced “iji”
J = voicing zj; Ș = sj; Ț = ts
FACTS – POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
Romanians 88.6%, Hungarians 6.5%, Romans 3.3%; in addition, small groups of Ukrainians, Germans, Turks, Russians, Tatars and others (Census 2011)
Number of residents
19 586 539 (2017)
Number of residents per square kilometer
Percentage of residents in the cities
53.9 percent (2017)
Nativity / birth
9.6 per 1000 residents (2016)
Mortality / mortality
13.0 per 1000 residents (2016)
-0.6 percent (2017)
1.6 number of children born per woman (2016)
Percentage of women
51.6 percent (2017)
75 years (2016)
Life expectancy for women
79 years (2016)
Life expectancy for men
72 years (2016)
Romanian is an official language, in addition, Hungarian, Romani and many other languages are spoken
President Băsescu is re-elected
In the second round, Băsescu wins by a marginal margin over Social Democrat Mircea Geoană. Following accusations of election fraud from Social Democratic PSD, some votes are recalculated, but the result remains the same.
Emil Boc again head of government
Political unrest and economic downturn lead to Prime Minister Negoiţă resigning after only one month on the post. Former head of government Emil Boc will again become prime minister. He presents a government with PD-L, the Hungarian Democratic Union (UDMR) and several independent politicians.
Even presidential elections
In the presidential election, incumbent President Băsescu gets 32 percent of the vote, while Social Democrat Mircea Geoană gets 31 percent. This requires a second and decisive round of elections between these two candidates.
Local politicians become temporary prime ministers
Liviu Negoiţă, Bucharest municipal politician, is given the post of acting prime minister. His government fails to get the 2010 budget adopted with the cuts required by the IMF. The IMF postpones a loan disbursement.
The government is falling
About 800,000 public servants strike in one day, and about 13,000 union members demand the resignation of the Liberal Democratic government. Discontent is large with the austerity that accompanied the support loans from the IMF (see March 2009), especially the raising of the retirement age to 65 years (over two decades) from 58 years for women and 63 years for men. When the government falls into a distrustful vote in parliament, negotiations with the IMF, the EU and the World Bank threaten the loans.
The government is shattered
Social Democratic Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Dan Nica is dismissed after his ministry accused Prime Minister Emil Boc’s party, the Democratic Liberal Party (PD-L), for preparing for cheating in the November presidential election. The other Social Democratic ministers leave the coalition in protest. Their positions are filled by new ministers from PD-L.
Dozens of politicians involved in corruption
The Anti-Corruption Authority announces that seven ministers and four mayors of Bucharest are participating in a comprehensive anti-corruption investigation. All suspects have exploited their positions of power to obtain personal financial benefits.
Romania is forced to take support loans
The international financial crisis is forcing Romania to apply for support loans from the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), among others (see Economic overview). A loan package of EUR 20 billion is granted but is accompanied by stringent demands for cuts to keep the budget deficit down.
Năstase is suspected of corruption
The Special Corruption Prosecutor opens a case against former Prime Minister Adrian Năstase. He is accused of using state funds to fund his presidential campaign in 2004. During the campaign, Năstase had resigned as head of government, and therefore Parliament cannot stop a prosecution.