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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Population: demographic situation, languages and religions


1.Political, social and economic background and trends

1.3Population: demographic situation, languages and religions

Last update: 27 November 2023

Demographic situation

According to data from the National Institute of Statistics, in 2021, the population of Romania is 22 089 000, down by 0.5 % compared to 1 January 2020. A slow decline in the population is expected in the next years due to negative natural growth. 

Urban population and female population are a majority (56.3 % and 51.2 % respectively). On 1 January 2021, the population residing in urban areas was 12 442 000, a little down compared to 1 January 2020 (0.6 %). The female population on 1 January 2021 was 11 305 500, down by 0.4 % compared to the same date a year before.

The demographic aging index rose from 115 (1 January 2020) to 118.7 old people for 100 young people (1 January 2021). The average age of the population was 41.9 years, with 0.2 years more than on 1 January 2020. The median age was 42.2 years, with 0.4 years more than on 1 January 2020.

The main ethnic group in Romania is that of the Romanian. They account for 88.9 % of the total population. After the Romanian, the next important ethnic communities are the Hungarian, accounting for 6.5 % of the population, and the Roma, who constitute 3.3 % of the population.  

Other important communities are those of the German, the Ukrainian, the Lippovans, the Turks, the Tatars, the Serbian, the Slovakian, the Bulgarian, the Croatian, the Greek, the Rusyns, the Jews, the Czechian, the Polish, the Italian and the Armenian. 

The official and minority languages

As set forth in Article 13 of the Constitution, the official language in Romania is Romanian. The Constitution and the laws recognize all nationalities (ethnic groups) – other than the Romanian – that live in the territory of Romania as national minorities, and their mother tongues as national minority languages.

In line with the Constitution, Article 10 of National Education Law 1/2011, with its subsequent amendments and additions, stipulates as follows:

  • In Romania, education is a service of public interest and is delivered in Romanian, as well as in national minority languages and international languages.

  • Every locality has educational establishments or learning formations with Romanian as teaching language and/or with teaching in the national minority languages, as appropriate, or schooling is provided for every student in their mother tongue in the nearest locality where this is possible.

  • Learning Romanian, as an official state language, in schools is compulsory for all Romanian citizens.

  • Syllabi must include a necessary and sufficient number of hours for learning Romanian. 

  • The public administration authorities provide for material conditions and human resources so as to enable the acquisition of Romanian.

  • In the national education system, official school and university documents, named by an order of the education and research minister, are drawn up only in Romanian. Other school and university documents may be drawn up in the teaching language.


The Constitution guarantees the freedom of religious beliefs, the equality of all citizens irrespective of their faith, and lays down the general principles concerning religious freedom and the organisation of religious cults in Romania. Religious cults are organised freely in compliance with their own statute and are autonomous in relation to the state.

Pursuant to the Constitution, the state supports the officially recognised religious cults by: facilitating religious assistance in the army, hospitals, asylums and orphanages; granting the freedom of religious education in accordance with the specific requirements of every cult; providing the necessary conditions for teaching religion in public education in accordance with the religious beliefs and students’/parents’ requirements.

Any forms, means, acts or actions of religious hate between the cults are explicitly prohibited by the Constitution.

The overall legal framework set out by the Constitution is developed and elaborated through various legislative documents. Therefore, a specific law lays down the general regime of religious cults and the exercise of religious freedoms (Law 489 of 28 December 2006, with its subsequent amendments and additions). The Ministry of Culture is the authority of central public administration responsible for developing and implementing strategies and policies in this area.

The large majority of Romanian citizens are Christian Orthodox. They account for 86.45 % of the total population of Romania according to the census in 2011. Besides the Christian Orthodox faith, in Romania there other various officially recognised religious cults, organisations and churches, with a greater share occupied by Catholic, Protestant, Evangelic, Islamic and Judaic cultures. 

Religious cults are free to choose their leaders and appoint their staff members, with no intervention from the state. The education of their staff members takes place in the educational establishments and institutions of religious cults, most of them being a part of the public education system. Religious cults have a granted right to use the worshipers’ mother tongue in their confessional rituals, administration and education.