Romania is one of Europe’s poorest countries, struggling with high corruption and large social disparities. The country joined the European Union in 2007 and was hit hard by the international financial crisis.
Key figures and facts
- Capital: Bucuresti
- Ethnic groups: Romanians 83%, Hungarians 6%, Romanians 3%, others/unspecified 7% (2011) Romanians are often underestimated in official statistics, and can be between 5-11% of the population.
- Language: Romanian (official) 86%, Hungarian 6%, Romanian 1%, other/unspecified 7% (2011)
- Religion: Orthodox Christians 82%, Protestants 6%, Catholics 4%, Other/None/Unspecified 7% (2011)
- Population: 19 679 000
- Control Form: Republic
- Area: 238 390 km²
- Currency: Leu
- GNP per capita: 23 027 PPP $
- National Day: December 1st
In 2016, Romania had a population of about 19.7 million. Population growth has been negative since 1992 and the average age of the residents has been higher. Population consists essentially of Romanians (88.6 percent) but also Hungarians, room (gypsy), Ukrainians and Germans, and smaller groups of Russians, Turks, Serb, Tatar, Slovak, Bulgarian, Jews, Croat and others.
The population density is 75.3 residents per square kilometer. 54 percent of the population lives in cities. The largest city is the capital Bucharest with 2 105 000 residents (2017).
Frequency of birth, mortality and life expectancy
The annual population growth in Romania has been negative since 1992 and in 2016 was –3.4 per thousand. Population decline is primarily due to the birth rate has gone down to about half of what it was in 1970 (the strongest decline in the 1980s and in the beginning of the 1990s, from the mid-1990s, more stable), the mortality rate has increased somewhat over the same period, and that infant mortality is high to be in Europe. It was 7.4 in 2016 (the number who died in their first year of life per 1,000 live births), down from 18.6 in 2000, 29.3 in 1980 and 49.4 in 1970.
In recent years, the population has become increasingly older. In 1990, the number of residents over the age of 60 was 66 percent of those under the age of 15. In 1995, this figure had risen to 85 percent, in 2004 to 120 percent, in 2011 to 138 percent and in 2016 to 157 percent. In 2016, the average life expectancy at birth was 72 years for men and 79 years for women.
While national minorities made up a relatively large proportion of Romanian population in the interwar period (1930: 28 percent), the proportion has been lower after World War II. This is due to land divisions to the Soviet Union (Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina) in 1944, the wartime extermination of Jews and the subsequent emigration of many surviving Jews to Israel, and the emigration of the majority of the German population (approximately 200,000 emigrated between 1967 and 1989, approximately 100,000 from 1990 to 1995).
At the 2011 census, 88.6 percent of Romanians, 6.5 percent of Hungarians, 3.2 percent of Roma (Gypsies), 0.3 percent of Ukrainians, 0.2 percent of Germans, as well as smaller groups of Russians, Turks, Serbs, Tatars, Slovaks, Bulgarians, Jews, Croats and others. The number of rooms is believed to be higher in reality. The Hungarians (including the Sechles) are essentially in Transilvani a (Hungarian Erdély). In the two counties Harghita and Covasna in the interior of the region, far from the border with Hungary, they make up the majority with 85 percent and 74 percent respectively. The German minority has also been a resident of Transilvania (German Siebenbürgen), besides Banat.
The population density is 75.3 residents per square kilometer, but is unevenly distributed geographically. The highest is the density in Valakia, the middle and northern parts of Moldova and in parts of Transilvania, the lowest is in the Danube Delta. In 2016, 54 percent of the population lived in cities, compared to 20 percent in 1930. Up until around 1990, urbanization increased, after which the restructuring problems of the industry led to a certain decline.
The largest city is the capital Bucharest with 2 105 000 residents (2017). Other major cities include regional centers such as Iaşi (371,900), Timişoara (331,000), Cluj-Napoca (323,100), Constanţa (315,400), Craiova (303,100), Galaţi (302,800), Brașov (290) 200), Ploiești (230,500), Oradea (221,900) and Brăila (168,400).
The peasant population lives mostly in villages, many having thousands of residents.