Ilfov County

Ilfov (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈilfov]) is the county that surrounds Bucharest, the capital of Romania. It used to be largely rural, but, after the fall of Communism, many of the county's villages and communes developed into high-income commuter towns, which act like suburbs or satellites of Bucharest. The gentrification of the county is continuing, with many towns in Ilfov, such as Otopeni, having some of the highest GDP per capita levels in the country.

Ilfov County
Județul Ilfov
Coat of arms of Ilfov County
Administrative map of Romania with Ilfov county highlighted
Coordinates: 44°37′N 26°07′E / 44.61°N 26.12°E / 44.61; 26.12Coordinates: 44°37′N 26°07′E / 44.61°N 26.12°E / 44.61; 26.12
Development regionBucurești-Ilfov
Historical regionMuntenia
 • PrefectHubert Petru Ștefan Thuma (PNL)
 • Total1,583 km2 (611 sq mi)
 • Rank41st
 • Total388,738
 • Rank25th
 • Density250/km2 (640/sq mi)
Telephone code(+40) 21 or (+40) 31[1]
ISO 3166 codeRO-IF
GDP (nominal)US$ 4.775 billion (2015)
GDP/capitaUS$ 12,285 (2015)
WebsiteCounty Council


It has a population (excluding Bucharest) of 364,241. The population density is 230.09 per km². 40% of the population commutes and works in Bucharest, although, in recent years, many industrial plants were built outside Bucharest, in Ilfov county. It has an annual growth of about 4%.

Year County population[3][4]
1948 167,533  
1956 196,265  
1966 229,773  
1977 287,738  
1992 286,510  
2002 300,123  
2011 388,738  
2016 390,751   (estimate)[5]
2022 TBD


The county has an area of 1,584 km² and it is situated in the Romanian Plain between the Argeș River and the Ialomița River.

The main rivers that pass through the county are: Dâmbovița River, Colentina River and Gruiu River. Several lakes can be found in Ilfov county, notably Lake Cernica, Lake Snagov and Lake Căldărușani.



The base occupation used to be the agriculture. Nowadays, due to the economical growth in Bucharest, many companies have opened their offices, production facilities or warehouses in the nearby villages, situated in the Ilfov County, thus making it the most developed county in Romania.

The predominant industries in the county are:

  • Food and beverages industry
  • Textile industry
  • Mechanical components industry
  • Chemical industry
  • Paper industry
  • Furniture industry
  • Rubber industry
  • Electrical equipment industry
  • Transport equipment industry
  • Electronic and optical equipment

At Otopeni there is the main aerial transport hub in Romania - the Henri Coandă International Airport. Also all the main roads and railways leaving Bucharest pass through the county.


The county has a large surface covered with forests and also due to its lakes, it is a frequent week-end and holiday destinations for the inhabitants of Bucharest.

Other notable touristic sites are:


The Ilfov County Council, renewed at the 2020 local elections, consists of 32 counsellors, with the following party composition:[6]

    Party Seats Current County Council
  National Liberal Party (PNL) 16                                
  Social Democratic Party (PSD) 5                                
  Save Romania Union (USR) 5                                
  PRO Romania (PRO) 4                                
  People's Movement Party (PMP) 2                                


Most of today's Ilfov County used to be covered by Codrii Vlăsiei, a thick forest, but there were several Dacian settlements, most important being Argedava, on the right bank of the Argeș River in what is now Popești, which was the capital of king Burebista.

The thick forests were useful for retreat during the migration age because they were not easy to cross on horseback. In fact, the name of the forest means "the Forests of the Vlachs" (Romanians), a name given by the Slavs who inhabited the nearby plains.

The county was named after the Ilfov River and it appears for the first time in a 1482 donation act of voivode Vlad Călugărul to the monastery of Snagov. In earliest documents, it was known as Elhov. The name is of Slavic origin, being derived from елха, elha (alder) and possessive suffix -ov, referring to a river which flowed through an alder forest.[7]

Administrative divisionsEdit

Str. Micșunelelor, main street in Dragomirești-Vale, 2007

The county has 8 towns and 32 communes. The largest settlements by population are Voluntari, Pantelimon, Buftea and Popești-Leordeni. These are the only settlements with more than 20.000 residents. Unlike most other areas of Romania, the population in Ilfov County is increasing, as many of the settlements here are seen as suburbs of Bucharest and are increasingly attracting upper class families. At the 2011 census, 43% of the county's population was defined as urban.[8]

Voluntari is the largest settlement, with a population of 42.944 at the 2011 census.[8] It has experienced rapid population growth in recent years. There were serious debates about the city level awarded to Voluntari in 2004, as it is alleged that it was given in regard to the city's political affiliation, rather than population, development or any other objective features. Despite this, Voluntari did have a population of 30,000 at that time, and many other localities with this population have been given city-status in the past.

Buftea is associated with the cinema of Romania; as the film studios MediaPro Pictures are located in Buftea.

Otopeni was transformed into a town under the communist regime, as part of Nicolae Ceaușescu's systematization policy, with semidetached houses being replaced by four-storey blocks of flats.[9]

Before 1972, Ilfov County used to be one of the largest counties of Romania, but parts of it were added to neighbouring counties and nowadays it is the smallest (excluding the city of Bucharest, which has a special status). Between 1981 and 1997, it was called "Sectorul Agricol Ilfov" and it was not a separate county, but subordinate to the capital.

Ilfov communes
  1. Periș
  2. Ciolpani
  3. Gruiu
  4. Nuci
  5. Snagov
  6. Grădiștea
  7. Moara Vlăsiei
  8. Balotești
  9. Corbeanca
  10. Dascălu
  11. Petrăchioaia
  12. Otopeni (town status)
  13. Tunari
  14. Ștefăneștii de Jos
  15. Afumați
  16. Voluntari (town status)
  17. Găneasa
  18. Mogoșoaia
  19. Buftea (town status)
  20. Chitila (town status)
  21. Dragomirești-Vale
  22. Chiajna
  23. Dobroești
  24. Pantelimon (town status)
  25. Brănești
  26. Ciorogârla
  27. Domnești
  28. Clinceni
  29. Bragadiru (town status)
  30. Popești-Leordeni (town status)
  31. Glina
  32. Cernica
  33. Cornetu
  34. Măgurele (town status)
  35. Jilava
  36. Berceni
  37. Dărăști-Ilfov
  38. 1 Decembrie
  39. Vidra

Ilfov County is the only county that has its capital outside of its territorial area, in Bucharest, which is not part of the actual county. Initially, right after the 1968 reform of the public administration in communist Romania, Ilfov was a larger county, that comprised its present-day territory, the entire Giurgiu County, Bucharest and the western parts of Călărași and Ialomița counties. Later during the communist period, its territory was reduced to its current size and it became one of the sectors of Bucharest. It became again a county in 1997, when its capital was designated to be Bucharest.[10][11] However, in 2005, some plans were proposed that would merge Bucharest with 90 other communes located to up to 40 km outside the city, in Ilfov County and other nearby counties into a "metropolitan area" of Bucharest, similar to Greater London.[12] As of 2011, these plans did not happen, while a debate on the general administrative division of Romania was under way.

Historical countyEdit

Județul Ilfov
County (Județ)
View of the center of Bucharest in 1928. Bucharest was the capital of the Kingdom of Romania and of Ilfov County in the interwar period.
Country  Romania
Historic regionMuntenia
Capital city (Reședință de județ)Bucharest (Romanian: București)
 • Total5,176 km2 (1,998 sq mi)
 • Total999,562
 • Density190/km2 (500/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)

Historically, the county was located in the southern part of Greater Romania, in the southern part of the historical region of Muntenia, around and in the south of Bucharest. During the interwar years, the county, which contained the city of Bucharest, was the most populous county in Romania. Currently the territory of the county is divided among Bucharest, the current Ilfov County, Dâmbovița County, Ialomița County, Călărași County, and Giurgiu County. It was bordered to the north by the counties of Prahova and Dâmboviţa, to the west by Vlașca County, to the east by Ialomița County, and to the south by Durostor County.


Map of Ilfov County as constituted in 1938.

The county included the cities of Bucharest and Oltenița, and originally seven administrative districts (plăși):[13]

  1. Plasa Băneasa, headquartered at Băneasa (with 39 villages)
  2. Plasa Bolintin, headquartered at Bolintin (with 38 villages)
  3. Plasa Budești, headquartered at Budești (with 31 villages)
  4. Plasa Fierbinți, headquartered at Fierbinți (with 51 villages)
  5. Plasa Oltenița, headquartered at Oltenița (with 25 villages)
  6. Plasa Sărulești, headquartered at Sărulești (with 54 villages)
  7. Plasa Vidra, headquartered at Vidra (with 28 villages)

Subsequently, the county established three more districts:

  1. Plasa Buftea, headquartered at Buftea (with 50 villages)
  2. Plasa Domnești, headquartered at Domnești (with 44 villages)
  3. Plasa Pantelimon, headquartered at Pantelimon (with 43 villages)


According to the 1930 census data, the county population was 999,562 inhabitants, ethnically divided as follows: 84.3% Romanians, 7.0% Jews, 2.5% Hungarians, 1.7% Romanies, 1.5% Germans, as well as other minorities.[14] From the religious point of view, the population was 84.5% Eastern Orthodox, 7.7% Jewish, 3.7% Roman Catholic, 1.3% Greek Catholic, 1.2% Lutheran, as well as other minorities.[15]

Urban populationEdit

In 1930, the county's urban population was 649,429 inhabitants, comprising 77.7% Romanians, 10.8% Jews, 3.7% Hungarians, 2.2% Germans, 1.2% Romanis, as well as other minorities.[14] From the religious point of view, the urban population was composed of 76.4% Eastern Orthodox, 11.8% Jewish, 5.6% Roman Catholic, 2.0% Greek Catholic, 1.9% Lutheran, 1.1% Reformed, as well as other minorities.[15]


  1. ^ The number used depends on the numbering system employed by the phone companies on the market.
  2. ^ National Institute of Statistics, "Populația după etnie" Archived 2009-08-16 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ National Institute of Statistics, "Populația la recensămintele din anii 1948, 1956, 1966, 1977, 1992 și 2002" Archived 2006-09-22 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Rezultate - Recensamant 2011". Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Ilfov, o populaţie întinerită şi creştere demografică - Jurnalul de Ilfov".
  6. ^ "Rezultatele finale ale alegerilor locale din 2020" (Json) (in Romanian). Autoritatea Electorală Permanentă. Retrieved 2020-11-02.
  7. ^ Constantin C. Giurescu, Istoria Bucureștilor. Din cele mai vechi timpuri pînă în zilele noastre, Bucharest, 1966, p. 38
  8. ^ a b "Recensământului Populaţiei şi al Locuinţelor – 2011" (PDF). Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  9. ^ Darrick Danta, "Ceausescu's Bucharest", The Geographical Review 83, no. 2 (1993)
  10. ^ "Law no. 50/1997 in Romania". Retrieved 2011-08-01.
  11. ^ "Law no. 50/1997 in Romania". Camera Deputaţilor. Retrieved 2011-08-01.
  12. ^ Alexandru, Cristina. "Bucureștiul va înghiți localitățile din jur". Biz Magazine. nr 110; 15 September 2005
  13. ^ Portretul României Interbelice - Județul Ilfov
  14. ^ a b Recensământul general al populației României din 29 decemvrie 1930, Vol. II, pag. 256-257
  15. ^ a b Recensământul general al populației României din 29 decemvrie 1930, Vol. II, pag. 649