A large majority of the population is Slovenian. The country’s Hungarian and Italian minorities are officially recognized and have a special position. However, the largest minorities are people from other former Yugoslav republics, mainly Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks.
In a census in 2002, 83 percent of the residents were Slovenian, while just over 10 percent were not included in any group. More than 6,000 identified themselves as Hungarian and slightly more than 2,000 as Italians. The Hungarians live mainly in the Prekjurje area in the northeast and the Italians in the border area with Italy. Both groups have a guaranteed seat in Parliament and special representation at local level. They have special protection because they are considered to be part of the country’s population for a long time, while other groups of people have come to Slovenia in recent times.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of Slovenia, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.
Ethnic affiliation was not recorded in the 2011 census.
There is a significant Slovenian minority with special rights in northeastern Italy. There are also Slovenian minorities in Austria and Hungary. In addition, at least 250,000 Slovenian citizens live abroad, mainly in other EU countries.
At the 2002 census, there were just over 3,000 Roma in Slovenia, but estimates suggest that the Roma are up to four times more. According to the constitution, the Roma have certain rights and there is a commission to protect Roma. The Roma are also guaranteed representation in 20 of the country’s 212 municipal councils, but very few unemployed Roma have formal employment and the majority live without running water, toilets and cleaning.
After independence in 1991, Roma and other non-Slovenes (mainly Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks) – a total of just over 25,000 people – were removed from the population register because they did not apply for citizenship when the new state was formed. Thus, for many years they stood beside society. They had major problems getting jobs and housing and were not included in the pension and social insurance systems.
The Constitutional Court ruled in both 1999 and 2003 that those affected would regain their rights. However, in a 2004 referendum, 95 percent of voters voted against allowing citizens who were deleted from the registers to obtain citizenship. The turnout was low and the referendum was only advisory, but the opposition helped the process to drag on over time. Those who were still waiting for information were granted citizenship in 2010, and after two rulings in the European Court of Human Rights, in 2013 Parliament decided on damages to those affected.
Population growth was long negative and the proportion of older people steadily increased. The trend reversed in 2006, but the birthrate is slightly larger than the death toll.
Slovenia, unlike many other countries in Eastern Europe, has also had greater immigration than emigration since joining the EU in 2004. One reason is that many British and Irish people have bought real estate in Slovenia. Nevertheless, the population is aging faster than in most OECD countries.
The official language is Slovenian, a South Slavic language akin to what was previously called Serbo-Croatian (now Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin). Slovenia, like Slovakia, means “Slavic”. Slovenian is written with the Latin alphabet and includes no less than 20 different dialects, some among them very different. It is characterized by the unusual dual form in Indo-European languages: bilinguals (dualis) exist in addition to singular (singularis) and plural (pluralis).
In areas with Hungarian and Italian minorities, these languages also have official status.
FACTS – POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
Slovenian 83%, Serbs 2%, Croats 1.8%, Bosnjaker 1% 1
Number of residents
2 066 748 (2017)
Number of residents per square kilometer
Percentage of residents in the cities
54.3 percent (2017)
Nativity / birth
9.9 per 1000 residents (2016)
Mortality / mortality
9.5 per 1000 residents (2016)
0.1 percent (2017)
1.6 number of children born per woman (2016)
Percentage of women
50.3 percent (2017)
81 years (2016)
Life expectancy for women
84 years (2016)
Life expectancy for men
78 years (2016)
Slovenian is the official language, in some areas the minority languages also have Italian and Hungarian official status
- in addition to Albanians, Hungarians, Italians and Roma sources
New government takes office
SDS leader Janez Janša takes over as prime minister for a government consisting of SDS, SLS, Christian Democratic New Slovenia (NSi) and the retirement party DeSUS.
The right wins in parliamentary elections
The right-wing party SDS wins the parliamentary election with just over 29 percent of the vote, while Prime Minister Rops LDS gets 23 percent.
Slovenia in the EU
Slovenia becomes a member of the EU.
No to citizenship for non-Slovenes
Nearly 95 percent of voters in a referendum say no to Parliament’s decision in October 2003 to allow around 18,000 people of non-Slovenian origin to become citizens. It concerns persons who were removed from the registers and lost civil rights in 1992. The referendum is formally advisory. The turnout is 31 percent.
Slovenia in NATO
Slovenia becomes a full member of NATO.
Yes to NATO and the EU
In a decisive referendum on accession to the EU and NATO, nearly 90 percent voted in favor of EU membership and 66 percent in favor of membership in NATO.