Major political and economic changes took place in Serbia in the last decade of the 20th century and they affected all fields of social life. The disintegration of the former SFR of Yugoslavia and the establishment of new ethnic states, war and "ethnic cleansing", enormous number of refugees and displaced persons, and voluntary and forcible ethnocentric migrations were conducive to major changes in the demographic development and ethnic structure of the population of Serbia. Such changes are also pointed at by the 2002 population census conducted in Serbia, excluding Kosovo and Metohija, that is to say in Serbia Proper and Vojvodina.
On the whole, the ethnic picture of Serbia Proper and Vojvodina is a complex one and undergoing changes continuously. Ethnic differentiation was also paralleled by the process of national homogenisation, in consequence of natural and mechanical population movement and difficult political, social and economic situation characterising the region towards the end of the 20th and at the beginning of the 21st century.
Serbia (excluding Kosovo and Metohija) is a region having a strikingly homogenous ethnic composition of its population. According to the 2002 census, of the 7,498,001 inhabitants of Serbia, 82.9% are Serbs (Table I and Chart I), followed by Hungarians (3.9%), Bosniacs together with Muslims (2.1%), Roma (1.4%) and Yugoslavs (1.1%). All other ethnic groups accounted for less than 1% each. The number and share of members of other ethnic affiliations tended to vary in the past because of different natural growth rates and differences in the migration balance, as well as some non-demographic factors.
 Ethnic processes in a population are considered more often than not in the scope of degree and type of homogeneity or heterogeneity of the population. In literature, populations are divided into monolithic (one ethnic group accounting for more than 90% of the population), very homogenous (80%-89), lower homogeneity, i.e., lower heterogeneity (70%-79%), higher heterogeneity (60%-69%) and very high heterogeneity of the population (50%-59%). These limits may also be set in other ranges depending on the numerical ratios between ethnic groups.
NADA RADUŠKI, M.Sc., Demographic Research Centre Social Sciences Institute, Belgrade
Reviewed by: Dr Milena Spasovski, Professor of Belgrade University School of Geography
Translated by: Milutin Dovijanić