Throughout history, Hungary has been controlled by many different cultures, kingdoms and peoples. Today, the country’s policies are strongly criticized for undermining basic democratic principles.
Key figures and facts
- Capital: Budapest
- Ethnic groups: Hungarians 85.6%, Romani 3.2%, Germans 1.9%, other or unknown 16.7% (this corresponds to more than 100% as some state that they belong to more than one group) (2011)
- Language: Hungarian (official) 99.6%, (English 16%, German 11.2%, Russian 1.6%, Romanian 1.3% French 1.2% other 4.2% (this corresponds to more than 100% as some state that they speak several languages - 2011))
- Religion: Catholics 37.2%, Calvinists 11.6%, Lutherans 2.2%, Greek Catholic 1.8%, other/unspecified 29.1%, non-religious 18.2% (2011)
- Population: 9,688,847 (2018)
- Control Form: Parliamentary democracy
- Area: 93 030 km2
- Currency: Hungarian forint
- GNP per capita: 26 701 PPP $
- National Day: March 15 (Revolution of 1848), August 20 (St. Stephen’s Day) and October 23 (Freedom Struggle in 1956)
The population in Hungary is about 9.77 million (2020). Birth and death rates are relatively low. Life expectancy is 73 years for men and 80 years for women. The population shows a declining trend due to low birth rates. Each woman has an average of 1.47 children (2020).
Almost the entire population is Madjars, which in 2020 made up 85.6 percent of the population. The largest minorities are Romans, Germans, Serbs and Slovaks. There are around 7.5 million Hungarians living abroad; the largest groups in Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, USA, Israel and Canada. In 1988, Hungary received many refugees from Romania in connection with the demolition of Hungarian villages in Transilvania.
In 2006, the population density was 108 people per square kilometer. 72 percent live in cities (2020), around 20 percent in the area around the capital Budapest. In addition, the population is relatively evenly distributed in small towns and villages. The least populated are the central mountain regions and Nagy-Alföld. Major cities are Budapest, Debrecen, Miskolc, Szeged, Pécs and Győr.
Of the population, about 37 percent are Catholics and 14 percent are Protestants (of whom about 12 percent are Calvinists and 2 percent are Lutherans). Two percent belong to other religions. Around 18 percent are atheists or non-religious (2020). Most of the Jewish community was exterminated during World War II, and now accounts for just under 1 percent of the population.
As in the Czech Republic and Germany, the Reformation triggered church strife among Hungarians, and all the major denominations are represented in the country. From 1948 to 1960, the churches experienced a very difficult time when bishops were deposed, priests imprisoned and so on. From the 1970s, religious communities operated in peaceful coexistence with the state, and from the 1980s, full religious freedom prevailed.
Hungarian is officially the language and mother tongue of the majority of the population. Minority languages are German, Slovak, Romanian and Romani.