As a result of young people leaving the Balkan country in the past two decades, the country’s population has shrunk to 1,836,731, official data shows.
North Macedonia has lost nearly 10 percent of its population over the last two decades mostly due to emigration, statistics officials have said, announcing the official results of a 2021 census.
State Statistical Office Director Apostol Simovski told reporters in the capital Skopje on Wednesday that two decades after the last census was conducted, the country’s population from 2002 to 2021 decreased by 9.2 percent.
North Macedonia has now a total population of 1,836,731, 185,713 fewer than in 2002.
The population decrease came mainly as a result of young people leaving the country, which is one of the poorest in Europe, over the last decade to find better jobs in Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Minorities in the country
Out of the total population, 58.4 percent are Macedonians, 24.3 percent ethnic Albanians, 3.8 percent ethnic Turks, 2.5 percent Roma, and 1.3 percent ethnic Serbs.
There were also small minorities of Bosniaks, Vlachs and Bulgarians.
In this small Balkan country which gained independence in 1991 following the break-up of the former Yugoslavia and came near to a civil war in 2001, the long-postponed census was far from a mere statistical operation.
Special rights such as ethnic quotas for public administration jobs and the language used in official correspondence depend on a minority being officially shown to make up at least 20 percent of the population.
Of the country's 2 million people in 2002, 64 percent were Macedonians and 25 percent ethnic Albanians.