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Demographic history of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Population density in Bosnia and Herzegovina by municipality, early data from the 2013 census

This article is about the Demographic history of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and deals with the country's documented demographics over time. For an overview of the various ethnic groups and their historical development, see Ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Historic population of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Census Population Change Area (km2) Density (pop. per km2) Note
1879 1,158,440 51,246 22.6 As part of Austria-Hungary
1885 1,336,091 +15.3% 51,246 26.1
1895 1,568,092 +17.4% 51,246 30.6
1910 1,898,044 +21.0% 51,200 37.1
1921 1,890,440 –0.4% 51,200 36.9 As part of Kingdom of Yugoslavia
1931 2,323,555 +22.9% 51,564 45.1
1948 2,564,308 +10.4% 51,189 50.1 As SR Bosnia and Herzegovina
within SFR Yugoslavia
1953 2,847,459 +11.0% 51,221 55.6
1961 3,277,948 +15.1% 51,197 64.0
1971 3,746,111 +14.3% 51,197 73.2
1981 4,124,256 +10.1% 51,197 80.6
1991 4,377,033 +6.1% 51,197 85.5
2001 † 3,922,205 –10.4% 51,197 76.6 As Bosnia and Herzegovina
2013 3,531,159 –9.9% 51,197 68.9
† = Estimate. ‡ = Preliminary results.
Sources: For period 1879–1991, Institute for Statistics of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina;[1] For 2001 and 2011, various editions of Central Intelligence Agency's publication The World Factbook.


The highest concentration of Haplogroup I-M170, the only native European Haplogroup, is found in present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina, ranging from 65% to 73%.[2] The oldest traces of mankind in Bosnia and Herzegovina were during the Paleolithic period near Doboj, Prnjavor and in the Valley of the River of Usora. During the Neolithic period there were three cultural zones: the Adriatic in Herzegovina; the Pannonian-Balkan in Bosnia and the transitional zone between the two in the headwaters of the river of Bosnia. Bosnia and Herzegovina has many archaeological foundings from the Bronze to Iron Age. Throughout the Classical Age cultural and civilization layers of the Illyrians (Daorsi in eastern Herzegovina, Ardiaei, Sardeates, Japodi, Breuci, Autariatae, Dalmatae etc.), Celts (Scordisci), Thracians, Romans, Huns, Germanic peoples (Visigoths, Ostrogoths) and others were formed, though the majority of the populace was Romanized during the conquests at the beginning of the New Era. The Eastern Goths thrust into the area during the early Middle Ages, while Avars and Slavs came in the 6th century.


Due to a variety of factors (such as frequent boundary shifts and a relative isolation from the rest of Europe) there are no detailed statistics dealing with Bosnia's population during the Middle Ages. It is generally estimated that the population of the Kingdom of Bosnia at the height of its power was between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people.[3] There were very few significant urban centers in Bosnia at this time, and even these paled in comparison to the far more urbanized areas along the nearby Dalmatian coast. Among the more notable cities were Doboj, Jajce, Srebrenik, Srebrenica, Tesanj and Visoko. The overwhelming majority of the population was rural and the social organization of Medieval Bosnia developed into what was called Zadruga. In this system, communities were organized by a few families of common interests usually situated in a cluster housing formation. Leaders of the community were selected according to their age and high ethical standards. Zadruga was primarily an agrarian community greatly dependent on natural resources.

Migrations and otherEdit

Throughout the 15th–19th centuries there were many demographic changes. Frequent wars, religious persecutions, rebellions, uprisings, taking of children as tribute, high tributes, high taxes, years of bad crops, epidemics, violence, and oppression have caused a high mortality rate and suffering of the whole population and instigated the migration flows that changed the ethnic structure of the population. So, with arrival of Ottoman Empire coincided with the process of Christian population emigration from these regions, which has remained the main feature of the demographic development of the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina until the present day. At the same time, intense internal shifting of the population together with recurrent migrations and also immigrations changed the distribution of some ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Ottoman period. The later stages saw particularly Muslim migrations from the region.

In the Bosnia proper the population started to move out first from lower regions (Posavina and the river valleys) and then from highlands. The most intensive migration flows originated in the karst Dinaric regions of Herzegovina and western Bosnia. For centuries, the population from these regions, mostly Christian, headed towards surrounding countries):

  • The migrations from Western Bosnia (from Glamoč and Unac, Kupres, Grahovo) were heading towards Lika, Croatia proper, and Slovenia, and steady emigration flows from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dalmatia, and Lika headed towards Slavonia, Syrmia, Banat, Bačka, and Baranja.
  • Migrations from eastern Herzegovina and Upper Podrinje headed towards western Serbia and Šumadija.
  • Migrations from the southern Dinaric region of Bosnia and Herzegovina headed towards Dalmatia. Jovan Cvijić states that the first migrations to Dalmatia from the Dinaric hinterland started already at the end of the 12th century, and they became stronger in the Ottoman period from the 15th to the 18th century. Also these migrations shifted the medieval population of Dalmatia that had previously migrated mostly towards Croatia, Slavonija, and Italy. According to Cvijić, almost all of the population of Makarska, Omiš, Split, Šibenik and Bukovica originated from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Of the Herzegovina origin were the inhabitants of the city of Dubrovnik and the vicinity, while the population of the Bay of Kotor originated from the Montenegrin and Herzegovina Dinaric regions.

Throughout the 15th–19th centuries, with coming of the Ottoman Empire on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina the first significant demographic change took place as almost all followers of than Bosnian Church converted to Islam as a method of keeping the ownership of the land they owned before the Ottoman conquest. Their conversions were also of a political nature; while Eastern Orthodox and Catholic portions of the Bosnian population had their base in the Serbian Orthodox Church and Catholic Church, Bosnian church followers had no representation on a larger geopolitical scene. Added motivation were also tax reliefs for conversions to Islam. There was also a great influx of Eastern Orthodox believers, due to the constant immigrations from Montegro and Serbia, frequent wars (Eastern Orthodox population participated as soldiers on both sides), and shortage of Catholic preachers.

Preottoman Catholic population had a great share in the emigrations from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The emigration flows were directed towards Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Baranja and north-west Bačka. The western part of today's region of Bosnia, today known as Bosnian Krajina, was taken by the Ottomans in the 16th century, and was for some time still known as "Turkish Croatia", as its once overwhelming Catholic and Croat majority disappeared and the Ottomans entrenched the new border along the Sava and Una rivers. After more than a century of military losses, the Habsburg Empire waged some victorious wars against Turkey and managed to temporarily shift the border south of the Sava river with the Treaty of Passarowitz (1718), but this was undone as soon as the 1739 Treaty of Belgrade was signed.[4] Austria-Hungary would later take hold of the entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina after the Treaty of Berlin (1878), but under different circumstances, leading up to the Bosnian crisis of 1908. Relatively few previous Croatian emigrants came back to Bosnia.

According to the findings of many an author, the Muslim population, in the period of the Ottoman rule, did not emigrate much compared to the migrations of the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic population. The Muslim population was characteristic of return migrations as soon as the political and economic situation again became stable or the state borders were shifted. The return movements of the Muslim population from the seaside, Lika, Slavonia, Hungary, and other places are well known. For example, after the Siege of Vienna (1683–1699), territorial losses of the Ottoman Empire and the conquest of Lika and Krbava by the Austrian Imperial Army, mass movements of the Muslim population from those regions took place; the Muslim population headed towards Bihać, Cazin, and Bosanska Krupa where they created an enclave in the vast region of Bosnian Frontier. More intensified immigrations of the Muslim population were noticed in 1690 when they moved from Hungary and Slavonia to the region around the mountain of Majevica.

In the Ottoman period, the Muslim population increased in number in Bosnia and Herzegovina somewhat due to immigrations of Muslims from the Sanjaks of Smederevo and Novi Pazar, and especially from some regions of Montenegro, Sjenica, and Pešter. Immigrations of the Turkish population from Asia Minor also had an impact upon the growth of the Muslim population in Bosnia and Herzegovina from the 15th to 19th century.

However, the increase of the Muslim population was mostly due to their high natality rate given the patriarchal nature of the family structure. In such family structure the duties of the family members were strictly divided where female members of the family almost solely were bearing many children and taking care of the household while male members were engaged in running the land and the politics of the community.

Patriarchal structure was also evident in Eastern Orthodox and Catholic families but the statistics do not tend to show as high natality rates. The difference (according to some literary sources of the time) was in the social levels of Muslims relative to their Christian counterparts where the former were landowners and hence upper and upper middle class who could afford to have more offspring and the latter were land workers and hence lower middle to lower class. Such social organization corresponded to a feudal system of the time.

Ottoman EmpireEdit

During and shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Bosnia, between 1463 and 1557, it is estimated that the Ottoman forces took around 100,000 of Bosnia's inhabitants into captivity and 30,000 young into the Janissaries as a result of the devshirmeh (also known as blood tax).

The first official population census by religion in Bosnia conducted:

Number Type
37,125 Christian houses
332 Muslim houses

In 1489, the official population census by religion for Bosnian Sandžak was:

Number Type
25,068 Christian houses
4,485 Muslim houses

Contemporary Byzantine historian Michael Critobulus of Imbros described Bosnia and its endings in the first half of the 15th century. He calls Bosnia "land of Vostri" and its population Vostri (or Bostri, Bostni), clearly distinguishing Bosnia population from populations of its neighbors, as even Serbian scholar Radić Radivoj cites and explains in his study "Bosnia in historical work of Critobulus of Imbros":

Critobulus has extremely negative opinion of the Latins, while for other nations as to the Romeji, Serbs, Hungarians, and inhabitants of Bosnia – except Albanians and Vlachs for whom he has some hostilities – has a certain sympathy.

And later cites author writing of Bosnians as people called Vostri; Albanians called Illirians; and Serbs called Tribali:

"Encouraged by all these benefits, Vostri never intend to comply to the Sultan or make contracts and pay him annual tribute, as did other neighbors Illyrians (as author called Albanians) and Tribals (as author called Serbs), nor to subordinate themselves to him in any way." .[5]

Turkish historian Ömer Lütfü Barkan conducted a population census based on religion in the Bosnian Sandžak between 1520 and 1530. At that time, there were over 334,325 inhabitants, of whom 38,7% were followers of Islam.

During the late 16th century and early 17th century, according to various Austrian and Ottoman sources, Bosnia's entire nobility, the greater part of her citizenry and a part of the serfdom were Muslims, around 75% of the population of the Bosnian pashadom.[citation needed]

The Muslim population of Bosnia and Herzegovina, during the late 18th century to the early 19th century, started to gradually drop due to frequent wars fought by the Ottoman Empire. Muslims were required by Ottoman law to serve in the military, whereas Christians were not part of the army. With the created of independent states of Serbia and Montenegro, migrations of Serbs to the two states were in massive waves in the 1810s, 1820s and 1870s.

Both Muslim and Christian populations were considerably thinned in the 18th century due to frequent plagues. In particular, a huge plague epidemic reportedly halved the entire population of Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1813 and 1815.

It is impossible to give a correct estimate of the population of Bosnia. Some writers state it a million, others at 920,000 and 840,000. Von Zeidlitz, (in his "Brief Survey of Bosnia, Rascia, the Herzegovina, and Servia in 1829.), gives us in one portion of his work the following enumeration: – Bosniaks (the Aboriginal race) – 250,000 – Servians – 120,000 – Turks – 240,000 – Morlachians – 75,000 – Croats – 40,000 – Gypsies – 16,000 – Jews – 2,000 – Armenians – 800

Making a total of 743,800.

  • 450,000 Muslims
  • 250,000 Catholics
  • 220,000 Eastern Orthodox
  • 2,000 Jews
  • 800 Armenians

Johann Roskiewicz estimated the ethnic composition of the population in 1867 as:

  • In Bosnia:
    • 782,000 Slavs (which he called "Croatians and Serbs")
    • 9,000 Roma (which he called "Gipsies")
    • 5,000 Jews
  • In Herzegovina:
    • 227,000 Slavs
    • 2,500 Roma
    • 500 Jews

Between 1875 and 1876, an Ottoman population census by religion was conducted, but with vague, imprecise and varying figures, often favoring Muslims over Christians :

Type Percentage range
Eastern Orthodox Christians 32.63%46.6%
Sunni Muslims 32.6%51.9%
Catholic Christians 14.97%20.17%

Final results of Ottoman administration in Bosnia and Herzegovina was rearranging most of its religious and ethnical map. New empire created mostly Muslim elites which made up the majority in most of the cities, as in the westernmost and easternmost borderparts of Bosnia (Cazin area, parts of Drina valley and larger area around Tuzla). Prewar catholic majority west of Vrbas (area was part of Croatian Kingdom before the Ottomans) had disappeared and was exchanged by Eastern Orthodox majority, due to constant immigration of Orthodox, shortage of Catholic priesthood and emigrations of Catholics from that area. Catholics also mostly disappeared from Eastern Bosnia (Srebrenica region was one of Hungarian banates) and dropped to a minority in northern Bosnia (except for large parts of Bosnian Posavina). In central Bosnia Catholics dropped roughly to about one half of the population, and Herzegovina was basically divided into Catholic and Orthodox parts with a Muslim majority in most of the cities.

Territorial distributionEdit

The Muslim population was mostly urban and comprised the majority in most of Bosnia and Herzegovina towns (Sarajevo, Tuzla, Banja Luka) as in western (Cazin) and eastern borderparts (parts of Drina valley) of the country due to religious wars with neighbouring countries. In general, Muslims were the dominant group in most developed urban centers of the country.

Most of western parts of Bosnia, eastern parts of Herzegovina and parts of Drina valley had Eastern Orthodox majority. Those were large, but mostly mountainous regions. The re-establishment of the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć in 1557 and shortage of catholic priesthood contributed greatly to preservation of Serbian presence in these areas.

The Catholic population comprised majority in the most of the Herzegovina, Posavina and Central Bosnia. The preservation of a Catholic presence in these areas was greatly contributed by the establishment of the Franciscan Order, which acted against Catholic emigration.

Due to the frequent migrations and religious wars, many of those areas contained few (or more) of small enclaves of people of other religions.

Bosnia accepted a wave of immigrants of Jews that were expelled from Spain since the 15th century. They settled in Sarajevo, Travnik, Banja Luka and Bihać. The immigration of the Roma, Vlachs and Cincars, and Circassians, in small numbers, coincided with the Ottoman conquest of Bosnia and Herzegovina. None of these groups considerably influenced the overall population structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During the liberation wars fought by the Serbs between 1875 and 1878, Bosnia and Herzegovina lost 13,64% of its population (150,000 out of total 1,100,000) of whom most were Serbs.

Austro-Hungarian EmpireEdit

1879 censusEdit

The Austro-Hungarian government published the Haupt-Uebersicht der politischen Eintheilung von Bosnien und der Hercegovina, with demographics according to the census collected on 16 June 1879.[6] The first thorough population census,[citation needed] it recorded 1,158,440 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, by religion:

Religion Number
Eastern Orthodox Christians 496,761 (42,88%)
Muslims 448,613 (38.75%)
Roman Catholics 209,391 (18.08%)
Jews 3,426
others 249

1885 censusEdit

The Austro-Hungarian government published the Ortschafts-Bevölkerungs-Statistik von Bosnien und der Hercegovina nach dem Volkszählungs-Ergebnisse vom I. Mai 1885..[7] According to the 1885 population census there were 1,336,091 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, by religion:

Religion Number
Eastern Orthodox 571,250 (42.76%)
Muslims 492,710 (36.88%)
Roman Catholics 265,788 (19.89%)
others 6,343 (0.47%)

1895 censusEdit

Religious and ethnic make-up according to the 1895 census

An Austro-Hungarian population census conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 22 April 1895 which reported that the area of Bosnia had approximately 1,361,868 inhabitants while Herzegovina had 229,168 inhabitants.[8] The Catholic Encyclopedia treated the majority Slavic population (98%) as Serbs.[8]

The number of persons per square mile was the second lowest in Austro-Hungary: 80 inhabitants per square mile. The number of persons per square mile across districts:

Type Number
Doljna Tuzla 106
Banjaluka 96
Bihać 91
Sarajevo 73
Mostar (Hercegovina) 65
Travnik 62

There were 5,388 settlements, 11 of which had more than 5,000 inhabitants. Over 4,689 of those settlements contained less than 500 inhabitants.

The population census by religion:[citation needed]

Type Description
Serbian Orthodox Christians 674,000 (43%)
Muslims 550,000 (35%)
Catholics 334,000 (21.3%)
Jews 8,000
Protestants 4,000

The territorial distribution among the area didn't change much. The towns became more multiethnic.

Turkish merchants could be found in trading centres. The Austrian troops could be found in military garrisons, while the Jews that migrated from Spain earlier could be found in the cities. They were all divided according to occupation, 1,385,291 inhabitants (85%) were farmers or wine-cultivators. There were a total of 5,833 large estates, chiefly held by the Muslims. 88,970 cultivators serve as kmets. 88,867 free peasants own the land they till. 22,625 peasants own farming-land and also cultivate the land of others

1910 censusEdit

Ethnic composition, 1910

According to the 1910 population census there were 1,898,044 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina:

Religion Number
Eastern Orthodox 825,918 (43.49%)
Muslims 612,137 (32.25%)
Roman Catholics 434,061 (22.87%)
others 26,428 (1.39%)

The urban population was, according to religion, 50.76% Muslims, 24.49% Roman Catholics, and 19.92% Eastern Orthodox. Land ownership was 91.1% Muslims, 6% Eastern Orthodox, 2.6% Roman Catholics, and 0.3% others. Comparing the 1910 percentages with the 1879 census shows a drop of the Muslim percentage from 39% to 32%, and a rise in Catholics from 18% to 23%, while the Orthodox population hovered around 43% the entire time.

World War IEdit

The First World War left Bosnia and Herzegovina without a total figure of 360,000 citizens or 19% of its population.


As soon as the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs was formed, a number of earlier colonized families started to emigrate and return to their homelands, among them Germans, Czechs, Poles, Slovaks, Hungarians and Ruthenians.

The new planned resettlement plans hit most the Orthodox Serb population, as large masses were moved from passive regions of Herzegovina and Bosnia to Vojvodina, eastern Banat in presice; while some left to Kosovo: inhabiting the region from Kačanik to Vučitrn, around Pristina, Lipljan, Peć, Istok, Đakovica, and in Drenica. Some also left to Macedonia.

The earlier emigrational tendency of the Muslim population towards Ottoman-held territories continued.

A great number of the population, among whom the Serbs and Croats from the karst regions of Herzegovina and Western Bosnia were most numerous, moved to the northern regions of Yugoslavia and abroad (North and South America, Canada, France, Belgium, etc.)

Kingdom of YugoslaviaEdit

Territorial distributionEdit

Following the agrarian reforms of 1918 and 1919,[9] the government confiscated the property of Muslim landowners and redistributed it to non-Muslims.

1921 censusEdit

The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes conducted a population census in the territorial entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 31 January 1921. There were 1,890,440 persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The people were split among two nationalities:

  • Serbs and Croats
  • undecided and others (mostly Muslims)

By religion:


The population of the district of Sarajevo according to the 1921 Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes religious population census:

There were 8 municipalities and their populations were:

The same year the City of Sarajevo had 78,173 inhabitants:

1931 censusEdit

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia has conducted a population census on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 31 March 1931 which stated that there were 2,323,555 persons. The population was given several nationalities:

By religion:

Name Number Percentage
Serbian Orthodox Christians 1,028,139 44.25%
Sunni Muslims 718,079 30.9%
Catholics 547,949 23.58%
others 29,388 1.27%

World War IIEdit


The Federal Bureau of Statistics in Belgrade composed a figure of 179,173 persons killed in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Second World War:

  • 129,114 Serbs (72.1%)
  • 29,539 Muslims (16.5%)
  • 7,850 Croats (4.4%)
  • others (7%)

Expulsions and relocationsEdit

By the plans of Nazi Germany and the Independent State of Croatia 110,000 Serbs were relocated and transported to German-occupied Serbia. Just in the period of May to August 1941 over 100,000 Serbs were expelled to Serbia. In the heat of war Serbia had 200,000–400,000 Serbian refugees from Ustaša-held Bosnia and Herzegovina. By the end of war 137,000 Serbs have permanently left the territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Muslim population was also exposed to suffering and intense relocation, mainly to cities and mostly to Sarajevo, to where a portion of the Muslim population from Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Macedonia was relocated thus enlarging the overall Muslim percentage in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Socialist YugoslaviaEdit

1945–1948 colonization of VojvodinaEdit

Prior to the expulsions of Germans from Vojvodina in 1945–1948, a number of inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina moved to the new living spaces in Vojvodina:

  • Serbs around 70,000 (98%)
  • Croats and Muslims (around 2%)

1948 censusEdit

According to the 1948 People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia population census, the People's Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina had 2,565,277 inhabitants:

1 There was no formal definition endorsed for the Bosniaks or Bosnian Muslims at the time with the vast majority of them instead declaring ethnically undeclared/undecided.

1953 censusEdit

According to the 1953 Yugoslav population census, Bosnia and Herzegovina had 2,847,790 inhabitants:

  • Serbs 1,264,372 (44.4%)
  • undecided 891,800 (31.3%)1
  • Croats 654,229 (23%)
  • Montenegrins 7,336 (0.3%)
  • Slovenes 6,300 (0.2%)
  • Macedonians 1,884 (0.1%)
  • others 21,869 (0.7%)

1 There was no formal definition endorsed for the Bosniaks or Bosnian Muslims at the time with the vast majority of them instead declaring ethnically undeclared/undecided.

1961 censusEdit

According to the 1961 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia population census, the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina had 3,277,948 inhabitants:

Ethnic maps of Sarajevo and Brcko by settlements:

1971 censusEdit

According to the 1971 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia population census, the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina had 3,746,111 inhabitants:

Ethnic maps of Sarajevo and Brcko by settlements:

1981 censusEdit

According to the 1981 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia population census, the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina had 4,124.008 inhabitants:

During the time of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, percentage of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina fell by more than a quarter.

Ethnic maps of Sarajevo and Brcko by settlements:

The 1981 territorial population distribution in the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  • Serbs:
    • majority in 2,439 settlements or 41.4% of the total settlements
    • lived in 34.3% of the total housing
  • Muslims
    • majority in 2,179 settlements or 37%of the total settlements
    • lived in 37.6% of the total housing
  • Croats
    • majority in 1,016 settlements or 17.3% of the total settlements
    • lived in 17.3% of the total housing
  • mixed and rest
    • 223 settlements

Fall of Croat settlements was due to immigration in foreign countries of western Europe (and hostile approach from SFRY government). During SFRY Bosnian Serb and Bosniak nations had most privileges to grow, and while Serbs colonized Vojvodina, Bosniaks stayed in Bosnia. Also as the data shows, Serbian people were less urbanized than Bosniaks or Croats and preferred smaller settlements (31% percent of populations lived in 41% of settlements).

1991 censusEdit

Yugoslav population census, Bosnia and Herzegovina had 4,377,053 inhabitants:

Ethnic maps by settlements:

Ethnic maps by municipalities:

Ethnic maps by Republic of Srpska by municipalities:

Ethnic maps of Sarajevo by settlements:

Ethnic maps of Brcko by settlements:


1992 estimateEdit

4.4 million people of which:

Bosnian WarEdit

During the Bosnian War (1992–1995) ethnic cleansing drastically changed the ethnic composition and population distribution in Bosnia and Herzegovina. (See: Casualties of the Bosnian War)

1996 UNHCR censusEdit

In 1996 the UNHCR conducted a detailed population census in the whole country. This census was not only officially considered "official" because the Government of BH refused to recognize it, claiming that its recognition would be the same as the recognition of the ethnic cleansing conducted in the war. It was concluded that Bosnia and Herzegovina had 3,919,953 inhabitants:[citation needed]

Type Number Percentage
Bosniaks 1,805,910 46.07%
Serbs 1,484,530 37.88%
Croats 571,317 14.58%
others 58,196 1.47%


Totally 2,444,665[citation needed]

Type Number Percentage
Bosniaks 1,773,566 72.5%
Croats 556,289 22.8%
Serbs 56,618 2.3%
others 58,192 2.4%

Republika SrpskaEdit

Totally 1,475,288[citation needed]

Type Percentage Range
Serbs 1,427,912 (96.8%)
Bosniaks 32,344 (2.2%)
Croats 15,028 (1%)
others 4

Ethnic (2000 estimate)Edit

Type Percentage Range
Bosniaks 48% (of whom around 97% are followers of Islam)
Serbs 37.1% (of whom around 99% are followers of the Serbian Orthodox Church)
Croats 14.3% (of whom around 88% are followers of the Catholic Church)
others 0.6%

2002-2005 population estimatesEdit

3,922,205 (2002)

4,025,476 (July 2005 estimate)

Religious (2008 estimate)Edit

Type Percentage Range[10]
Muslims 45%
Eastern Orthodox Serbs 36%
Roman Catholics 15%
other 4%

2013 censusEdit

In October 2013, Bosnia conducted its first official census since the Bosnian War.[11]

Agency for Statistics of Bosnia and Herzegovina announced the final census results on July 1, 2016 based on methodology that is disputed by the Republic of Srpska entity, and because of this, doesn't recognize these results as relevant. The European Union welcomed the results of the census and evaluated them as correct and in accordance to EU statistical standards.[12]

Total population: 3,531,159

Ethnic structureEdit

Population Percentage of total population
Bosniaks 1,769,592 50.11%
Serbs 1,086,733 30.78%
Croats 544,780 15.43%
Others 96,539 2.73%
Not declared 27,055 0.71%
No answer 6,460 0.18%

Ethnic maps of Republika Srpska by municipalities:

Ethnic maps of Sarajevo by settlements:

Ethnic maps of Brcko by settlements:

Linguistic structureEdit

Linguistic maps of Republika Srpska by municipalities:

Religious structureEdit

Religious maps of Republika Srpska by municipalities:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ In 1961, Bosnian Muslims (i.e. the Bosniaks) were still not recognized as a nationality by the Yugoslav census format, however in the 1961 census some 800,000 Muslims declared themselves "ethnically undecided" as their other option was to declare as "Serb", "Croat" or "Yugoslav". Because of the large Muslim Bosniak community in Bosnia, the census commission logically concluded to group them as "Muslims in a national sense".
  2. ^ Following the constitutional amendments of 1968, the Bosniaks or Bosnian Muslims were recognized as a nationality under the term Muslimani ("Muslims") explaining the significant drop in, above all, the 'Yugoslav' column. Although opted by the Bosnian leadership, the term 'Bosnian' was rejected by the central government in favor of 'Muslim' which became the officially endorsed term.
  3. ^ Following the death of Josip Broz Tito in 1980 there was a surge in Yugoslavian patriotism that was evident in 1981 census as much of the population decided to declare themselves as Yugoslavs.
  4. ^ Following the 1991 census Bosnian-Herzegovinian government in constitutional amendment in 1993 reintroduced the name Bosniaks to replace the name Muslim, since the Yugoslav policy was considered to be neglecting the Bosniak's Bosnian identity.(see Hamdija Pozderac)


  1. ^ "Stanovništvo Bosne i Hercegovine po popisima 1879–1991" [Population of Bosnia and Herzegovina according to censuses 1879–1991] (in Bosnian). Institute for Statistics of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Archived from the original on 19 September 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Povijet – istorija Bosne i Hercegovine". Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  4. ^ Drago Roksandić, Faculty of Philosophy (2007-10-02). "Posavska krajina/granica od 1718. do 1739. godine – The Sava military borderland, 1718 – 1739" (in Croatian). University of Zagreb. Retrieved 2010-06-29.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "Haupt-Uebersicht der politischen Eintheilung von Bosnien und der Hercegovina" (PDF). 1880 [1879]. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ "Ortschafts-Bevölkerungs-Statistik von Bosnien und der Hercegovina nach dem Volkszählungs-Ergebnisse vom I. Mai 1885" (PDF). Sarajevo: Landesdrackerei. 1886 [1885]. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ a b Klaar, Karl (1907). "Bosnia and Herzegovina". New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ International Religious Freedom Report 2008 – Bosnia and Herzegovina
  11. ^ Jukic, Elvira (2013-08-30). "Bosnia Statistics Agency Readies for October Census". Retrieved 2013-09-20.
  12. ^ "The EU welcomes the results of the 2013 Bosnian census". N1 Info (CNN affiliate). Retrieved 28 July 2016.

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