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The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was formed in 1918; its name was changed to Yugoslavia in 1929. Communist Partisans resisted the Axis occupation and division of Yugoslavia from 1941 to 1945 and fought nationalist opponents and collaborators as well. The military and political movement headed by Josip Broz "TITO" (Partisans) took full control of Yugoslavia when their domestic rivals and the occupiers were defeated in 1945. Although communists, TITO and his successors (Tito died in 1980) managed to steer their own path between the Warsaw Pact nations and the West for the next four and a half decades. In 1989, Slobodan MILOSEVIC became president of the Republic of Serbia and his ultranationalist calls for Serbian domination led to the violent breakup of Yugoslavia along ethnic lines. In 1991, Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia declared independence, followed by Bosnia in 1992. The remaining republics of Serbia and Montenegro declared a new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in April 1992 and under MILOSEVIC's leadership, Serbia led various military campaigns to unite ethnic Serbs in neighboring republics into a "Greater Serbia." These actions ultimately failed and, after international intervention, led to the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995.

MILOSEVIC retained control over Serbia and eventually became president of the FRY in 1997. In 1998, an ethnic Albanian insurgency in the formerly autonomous Serbian province of Kosovo provoked a Serbian counterinsurgency campaign that resulted in massacres and massive expulsions of ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo. The MILOSEVIC government's rejection of a proposed international settlement led to NATO's bombing of Serbia in the spring of 1999. Serbian military and police forces withdrew from Kosovo in June 1999, and the UN Security Council authorized an interim UN administration and a NATO-led security force in Kosovo. FRY elections in late 2000 led to the ouster of MILOSEVIC and the installation of democratic government. In 2003, the FRY became the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, a loose federation of the two republics. Widespread violence predominantly targeting ethnic Serbs in Kosovo in March 2004 led to more intense calls to address Kosovo's status, and the UN began facilitating status talks in 2006. In June 2006, Montenegro seceded from the federation and declared itself an independent nation. Serbia subsequently gave notice that it was the successor state to the union of Serbia and Montenegro.

In February 2008, after nearly two years of inconclusive negotiations, Kosovo declared itself independent of Serbia - an action Serbia refuses to recognize. At Serbia's request, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in October 2008 sought an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on whether Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence was in accordance with international law. In a ruling considered unfavorable to Serbia, the ICJ issued an advisory opinion in July 2010 stating that international law did not prohibit declarations of independence. In late 2010, Serbia agreed to an EU-drafted UNGA Resolution acknowledging the ICJ's decision and calling for a new round of talks between Serbia and Kosovo, this time on practical issues rather than Kosovo's status. Serbia and Kosovo signed the first agreement of principles governing the normalization of relations between the two countries in April 2013 and are in the process of implementing its provisions. In 2015, Serbia and Kosovo reached four additional agreements within the EU-led Brussels Dialogue framework. These included agreements on the Community of Serb-Majority Municipalities; telecommunications; energy production and distribution; and freedom of movement. President Aleksandar VUCIC has promoted an ambitious goal of Serbia joining the EU by 2025. Under his leadership as prime minister, in 2014 Serbia opened formal negotiations for accession.

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Southeastern Europe, between Macedonia and Hungary

Geographic coordinates

44 00 N, 21 00 E


total: 77,474 sq km

land: 77,474 sq km

water: 0 sq km

country comparison to the world: 117

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than South Carolina

Area comparison map
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 2,322 km

border countries (8): Bosnia and Herzegovina 345 km; Bulgaria 344 km; Croatia 314 km; Hungary 164 km; Kosovo 366 km; North Macedonia 101 km; Montenegro 157 km; Romania 531 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)


in the north, continental climate (cold winters and hot, humid summers with well-distributed rainfall); in other parts, continental and Mediterranean climate (relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall and hot, dry summers and autumns)


extremely varied; to the north, rich fertile plains; to the east, limestone ranges and basins; to the southeast, ancient mountains and hills


highest point: Midzor 2,169 m

lowest point: Danube and Timok Rivers 35 m

mean elevation: 442 m

Natural resources

oil, gas, coal, iron ore, copper, zinc, antimony, chromite, gold, silver, magnesium, pyrite, limestone, marble, salt, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 57.9% (2018 est.)

arable land: 37.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 3.4% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 16.8% (2018 est.)

forest: 31.6% (2018 est.)

other: 10.5% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

520 sq km (2020)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Danube (shared with Germany [s], Austria, Slovakia, Czechia, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania [m]) - 2,888 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: (Black Sea) Danube (795,656 sq km)

Population distribution

a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger and denser populations

Natural hazards

destructive earthquakes

Geography - note

landlocked; controls one of the major land routes from Western Europe to Turkey and the Near East

People and Society


6,739,471 (2022 est.)

note: does not include the population of Kosovo

country comparison to the world: 108


noun: Serb(s)

adjective: Serbian

Ethnic groups

Serb 83.3%, Hungarian 3.5%, Romani 2.1%, Bosniak 2%, other 5.7%, undeclared or unknown 3.4% (2011 est.)

note: most ethnic Albanians boycotted the 2011 census; Romani populations are usually underestimated in official statistics and may represent 5–11% of Serbia's population


Serbian (official) 88.1%, Hungarian 3.4%, Bosnian 1.9%, Romani 1.4%, other 3.4%, undeclared or unknown 1.8%; note - Serbian, Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian, Croatian, and Ruthenian (Rusyn) are official in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina; most ethnic Albanians boycotted the 2011 census (2011 est.)

major-language sample(s):
Knjiga svetskih činjenica, neophodan izvor osnovnih informacija. (Serbian)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Serbian audio sample:


Orthodox 84.6%, Catholic 5%, Muslim 3.1%, Protestant 1%, atheist 1.1%, other 0.8% (includes agnostics, other Christians, Eastern, Jewish), undeclared or unknown 4.5% (2011 est.)

note: most ethnic Albanians boycotted the 2011 census

Age structure

0-14 years: 14.07% (male 508,242/female 478,247)

15-24 years: 11.04% (male 399,435/female 374,718)

25-54 years: 41.19% (male 1,459,413/female 1,429,176)

55-64 years: 13.7% (male 464,881/female 495,663)

65 years and over: 20% (male 585,705/female 816,685) (2020 est.)

2022 population pyramid
2022 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 53.8

youth dependency ratio: 21.9

elderly dependency ratio: 31.9

potential support ratio: 3.1 (2021 est.)

note: data include Kosovo

Median age

total: 43.4 years

male: 41.7 years

female: 45 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 26

Birth rate

8.92 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 205

Death rate

16.39 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 1

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 97

Population distribution

a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger and denser populations


urban population: 57.1% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.04% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

note: data include Kosovo

Major urban areas - population

1.408 million BELGRADE (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.55 male(s)/female

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

28.2 years (2020 est.)

note: data does not cover Kosovo or Metohija

Maternal mortality ratio

12 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 141

Infant mortality rate

total: 4.81 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 5.43 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 4.16 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 179

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 74.17 years

male: 71.5 years

female: 77 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 141

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99.7% of population

rural: 99.4% of population

total: 99.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.3% of population

rural: 0.6% of population

total: 0.5% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

8.7% of GDP (2019)

Physicians density

3.11 physicians/1,000 population (2016)

Hospital bed density

5.6 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 99.6% of population

rural: 95.7% of population

total: 97.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.4% of population

rural: 4.3% of population

total: 2.1% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 7.45 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 3.24 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 1.62 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 2.37 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.22 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 55

Tobacco use

total: 39.8% (2020 est.)

male: 40.5% (2020 est.)

female: 39.1% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 4

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 1.2%

women married by age 18: 5.5% (2019 est.)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.5%

male: 99.9%

female: 99.1% (2019)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 14 years

female: 15 years (2021)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 25.5%

male: 23.5%

female: 28.8% (2021 est.)


Environment - current issues

air pollution around Belgrade and other industrial cities; water pollution from industrial wastes dumped into the Sava which flows into the Danube; inadequate management of domestic, industrial, and hazardous waste

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Heavy Metals, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 24.27 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 45.22 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 11.96 megatons (2020 est.)


in the north, continental climate (cold winters and hot, humid summers with well-distributed rainfall); in other parts, continental and Mediterranean climate (relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall and hot, dry summers and autumns)

Land use

agricultural land: 57.9% (2018 est.)

arable land: 37.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 3.4% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 16.8% (2018 est.)

forest: 31.6% (2018 est.)

other: 10.5% (2018 est.)


urban population: 57.1% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 0.04% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

note: data include Kosovo

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0.25% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 20

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 1.84 million tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 13,984 tons (2015 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 0.8% (2015 est.)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Danube (shared with Germany [s], Austria, Slovakia, Czechia, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania [m]) - 2,888 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: (Black Sea) Danube (795,656 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 659.5 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 4.057 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 660.8 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

162.2 billion cubic meters (2017 est.) (note - includes Kosovo)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Serbia

conventional short form: Serbia

local long form: Republika Srbija

local short form: Srbija

former: People's Republic of Serbia, Socialist Republic of Serbia

etymology: the origin of the name is uncertain, but seems to be related to the name of the West Slavic Sorbs who reside in the Lusatian region in present-day eastern Germany; by tradition, the Serbs migrated from that region to the Balkans in about the 6th century A.D.

Government type

parliamentary republic


name: Belgrade (Beograd)

geographic coordinates: 44 50 N, 20 30 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

etymology: the Serbian "Beograd" means "white fortress" or "white city" and dates back to the 9th century; the name derives from the white fortress wall that once enclosed the city

Administrative divisions

117 municipalities (opstine, singular - opstina) and 28 cities (gradovi, singular - grad)

municipalities: Ada*, Aleksandrovac, Aleksinac, Alibunar*, Apatin*, Arandelovac, Arilje, Babusnica, Bac*, Backa Palanka*, Backa Topola*, Backi Petrovac*, Bajina Basta, Batocina, Becej*, Bela Crkva*, Bela Palanka, Beocin*, Blace, Bogatic, Bojnik, Boljevac, Bosilegrad, Brus, Bujanovac, Cajetina, Cicevac, Coka*, Crna Trava, Cuprija, Despotovac, Dimitrov, Doljevac, Gadzin Han, Golubac, Gornji Milanovac, Indija*, Irig*, Ivanjica, Kanjiza*, Kladovo, Knic, Knjazevac, Koceljeva, Kosjeric, Kovacica*, Kovin*, Krupanj, Kucevo, Kula*, Kursumlija, Lajkovac, Lapovo, Lebane, Ljig, Ljubovija, Lucani, Majdanpek, Mali Idos*, Mali Zvornik, Malo Crnice, Medveda, Merosina, Mionica, Negotin, Nova Crnja*, Nova Varos, Novi Becej*, Novi Knezevac*, Odzaci*, Opovo*, Osecina, Paracin, Pecinci*, Petrovac na Mlavi, Plandiste*, Pozega, Presevo, Priboj, Prijepolje, Raca, Raska, Razanj, Rekovac, Ruma*, Secanj*, Senta*, Sid*, Sjenica, Smederevska Palanka, Sokobanja, Srbobran*, Sremski Karlovci*, Stara Pazova*, Surdulica, Svilajnac, Svrljig, Temerin*, Titel*, Topola, Trgoviste, Trstenik, Tutin, Ub, Varvarin, Velika Plana, Veliko Gradiste, Vladicin Han, Vladimirci, Vlasotince, Vrbas*, Vrnjacka Banja, Zabalj*, Zabari, Zagubica, Zitiste*, Zitorada

cities: Beograd (Belgrade), Bor, Cacak, Jagodina, Kikinda*, Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Krusevac, Leskovac, Loznica, Nis, Novi Pazar, Novi Sad*, Pancevo*, Pirot, Pozarevac, Prokuplje, Sabac, Smederevo, Sombor*, Sremska Mitrovica*, Subotica*, Uzice, Valjevo, Vranje, Vrsac*, Zajecar, Zrenjanin*

note: the northern 37 municipalities and 8 cities - about 28% of Serbia's area - compose the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and are indicated with *


5 June 2006 (from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro); notable earlier dates: 1217 (Serbian Kingdom established); 16 April 1346 (Serbian Empire established); 13 July 1878 (Congress of Berlin recognizes Serbian independence); 1 December 1918 (Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (Yugoslavia) established)

National holiday

Statehood Day, 15 February (1835), the day the first constitution of the country was adopted


history: many previous; latest adopted 30 September 2006, approved by referendum 28-29 October 2006, effective 8 November 2006

amendments: proposed by at least one third of deputies in the National Assembly, by the president of the republic, by the government, or by petition of at least 150,000 voters; passage of proposals and draft amendments each requires at least two-thirds majority vote in the Assembly; amendments to constitutional articles including the preamble, constitutional principles, and human and minority rights and freedoms also require passage by simple majority vote in a referendum

Legal system

civil law system

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Serbia

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 3 years


18 years of age, 16 if employed; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Aleksandar VUCIC (since 31 May 2017)

head of government: Prime Minister Ana BRNABIC (since 29 June 2017)

cabinet: Cabinet elected by the National Assembly

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 3 April 2022 (next to be held in April 2027); prime minister elected by the National Assembly; note - in October 2020 President VUCIC called for early elections

election results: 2022: Aleksandar VUCIC reelected in the first round; percent of vote - Aleksandar VUSIC (SNS) 60%, Zdravko PONOS (US) 18.9%, Milos JOVANOVIC (NADA) 6.1%, Bosko OBRADOVIC (Dveri-POKS) 4.5%, Milica DURDEVIC STAMENDOVSKI (SSZ) 4.3%, other 6.2%

2017: Aleksandar VUCIC elected president in the first round; percent of vote - Aleksandar VUCIC (SNS) 55.1%, Sasa JANKOVIC (independent) 16.4%, Luka MAKSIMOVIC (independent) 9.4%, Vuk JEREMIC (independent) 5.7%, Vojislav SESELJ (SRS) 4.5%, Bosko OBRADOVIC (Dveri) 2.3%, other 5.0%, invalid/blank 1.6%; Prime Minister Ana BRNABIC reelected by the National Assembly on 5 October 2020

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Narodna Skupstina (250 seats; members directly elected by party list proportional representation vote in a single nationwide constituency to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 3 April 2022 (next to be held in April 2026)

election results: percent of vote by party/coalition - Together We Can Do Everything 44.2%, UZPS 14.1%, Ivica Dacic - Prime Minister 11.8%, NADA 5.6%, We Must 4.9%, Dveri-POKS 3.9%, SSZ 3.8%, other 11.7%; seats by party/coalition - Together We Can Do Everything 120, UZPS 38, Ivica Dacic - Prime Minister 31, NADA 15, We Must 13, Dveri-POKS 10, SSZ 10, SVM 6, SPP 3, other 4; composition -  men 150, women 100, percent of women 40%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Cassation (consists of 36 judges, including the court president); Constitutional Court (consists of 15 judges, including the court president and vice president)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court justices proposed by the High Judicial Council (HJC), an 11-member independent body consisting of  8 judges elected by the National Assembly and 3 ex-officio members; justices appointed by the National Assembly; Constitutional Court judges elected - 5 each by the National Assembly, the president, and the Supreme Court of Cassation; initial appointment of Supreme Court judges by the HJC is 3 years and beyond that period tenure is permanent; Constitutional Court judges elected for 9-year terms

subordinate courts: basic courts, higher courts, appellate courts; courts of special jurisdiction include the Administrative Court, commercial courts, and misdemeanor courts

Political parties and leaders

Albanian Democratic Alternative (coalition of ethnic Albanian parties) [Shaip KAMBERI]
Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians or SVM or VMSZ [Istvan PASZTOR]
Better Serbia or BS [Dragan JOVANOVIC]
Democratic Party or DS [Zoran LUTOVAC]
Dveri [Bosko OBRADOVIC]
Greens of Serbia or ZS [Ivan KARIC]
Ivica Dacic - Prime Minister of Serbia [Ivica DACIC] (coalition includes SPS, JS, ZS)
Justice and Reconciliation Party or SPP [Usame ZUKORLIC] (formerly Bosniak Democratic Union of Sandzak or BDZS)
Movement for the Restoration of the Kingdom of Serbia or POKS [Vojislav MIHAILOVIC]
Movement of Free Citizens or PSG [Pavle GRBOVIC]
Movement of Socialists or PS [Aleksandar VULIN]
National Democratic Alternative or NADA [Milos JOVANOVIC and Vojislav MIHAILOVIC] (coalition includes DSS and POKS)
New Democratic Party of Serbia or NDSS or New DSS [Milos JOVANOVIC] (formerly Democratic Party of Serbia or DSS)
Party of Democratic Action of the Sandzak or SDA [Sulejman UGLJANIN]
Party of Freedom and Justice or SSP [Dragan DILAS]
Party of United Pensioners, Farmers, and Proletarians of Serbia – Solidarity and Justice or PUPS - Solidarity and Justice [Milan KRKOBABIC] (formerly Party of United Pensioners of Serbia or PUPS)
People's Party or NS or Narodna [Vuk JEREMIC]
People's Peasant Party or NSS [Marijan RISTICEVIC]
Serbian Party Oathkeepers or SSZ [Stefan STAMENKOVSKI]
Serbian People's Party or SNP [Nenad POPOVIC]
Serbian Progressive Party or SNS [Aleksandar VUCIC]
Serbian Renewal Movement or SPO [Vuk DRASKOVIC]
Social Democratic Party of Serbia or SDPS [Rasim LJAJIC]
Socialist Party of Serbia or SPS [Ivica DACIC]
Strength of Serbia or PSS [Bogoljub KARIC]
Together for Serbia or ZZS [Nebojsa ZELENOVIC]
Together We Can Do Everything [Milenko JOVANOV] (includes SNS, SDPS, PUPS, PSS, SNP, SPO, PS, NSS, USS, BS)
United for the Victory of Serbia or UZPS (includes NS, SSP, DS, PSG) (dissolved April 2022)
United Peasant Party or USS [Milija MILETIC]
United Serbia or JS [Dragan MARKOVIC]
We Must or Moramo [Nebojsa ZELENOVIC, Dobrica VESELINOVIC, Aleksandar JOVANOVIC CUTA, Biljana STOJKOVIC, Radomir LAZOVIC, Biljana DORDEVIC]

note: Serbia has more than 110 registered political parties and citizens' associations

International organization participation


note: Serbia is an EU candidate country whose satisfactory completion of accession criteria is required before being granted full EU membership

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Marko DJURIC (since 18 January 2021)

chancery: 2233 Wisconsin Ave NW, Suite 410, Washington, DC 20007

telephone: [1] (202) 332-0333

FAX: [1] (202) 332-3933

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Chicago, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Christopher R. HILL (since 1 April 2022)

embassy: 92 Bulevar kneza Aleksandra Karadjordjevica, 11040 Belgrade

mailing address: 5070 Belgrade Place, Washington, DC 20521-5070

telephone: [381] (11) 706-4000

FAX: [381] (11) 706-4481

email address and website:

Flag description

three equal horizontal stripes of red (top), blue, and white - the Pan-Slav colors representing freedom and revolutionary ideals; charged with the coat of arms of Serbia shifted slightly to the hoist side; the principal field of the coat of arms represents the Serbian state and displays a white two-headed eagle on a red shield; a smaller red shield on the eagle represents the Serbian nation, and is divided into four quarters by a white cross; interpretations vary as to the meaning and origin of the white, curved symbols resembling firesteels (fire strikers) or Cyrillic "C's" in each quarter; a royal crown surmounts the coat of arms

note: the Pan-Slav colors were inspired by the 19th-century flag of Russia

National symbol(s)

white double-headed eagle; national colors: red, blue, white

National anthem

name: "Boze pravde" (God of Justice)

lyrics/music: Jovan DORDEVIC/Davorin JENKO

note: adopted 1904; song originally written as part of a play in 1872 and has been used as an anthem by the Serbian people throughout the 20th and 21st centuries

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 4 (all cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Stari Ras and Sopoćani; Studenica Monastery; Gamzigrad-Romuliana, Palace of Galerius; Stećci Medieval Tombstone Graveyards


Economic overview

Serbia has a transitional economy largely dominated by market forces, but the state sector remains significant in certain areas. The economy relies on manufacturing and exports, driven largely by foreign investment. MILOSEVIC-era mismanagement of the economy, an extended period of international economic sanctions, civil war, and the damage to Yugoslavia's infrastructure and industry during the NATO airstrikes in 1999 left the economy worse off than it was in 1990. In 2015, Serbia’s GDP was 27.5% below where it was in 1989.


After former Federal Yugoslav President MILOSEVIC was ousted in September 2000, the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) coalition government implemented stabilization measures and embarked on a market reform program. Serbia renewed its membership in the IMF in December 2000 and rejoined the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Serbia has made progress in trade liberalization and enterprise restructuring and privatization, but many large enterprises - including the power utilities, telecommunications company, natural gas company, and others - remain state-owned. Serbia has made some progress towards EU membership, gaining candidate status in March 2012. In January 2014, Serbia's EU accession talks officially opened and, as of December 2017, Serbia had opened 12 negotiating chapters including one on foreign trade. Serbia's negotiations with the WTO are advanced, with the country's complete ban on the trade and cultivation of agricultural biotechnology products representing the primary remaining obstacle to accession. Serbia maintains a three-year Stand-by Arrangement with the IMF worth approximately $1.3 billion that is scheduled to end in February 2018. The government has shown progress implementing economic reforms, such as fiscal consolidation, privatization, and reducing public spending.


Unemployment in Serbia, while relatively low (16% in 2017) compared with its Balkan neighbors, remains significantly above the European average. Serbia is slowly implementing structural economic reforms needed to ensure the country's long-term prosperity. Serbia reduced its budget deficit to 1.7% of GDP and its public debt to 71% of GDP in 2017. Public debt had more than doubled between 2008 and 2015. Serbia's concerns about inflation and exchange-rate stability preclude the use of expansionary monetary policy.


Major economic challenges ahead include: stagnant household incomes; the need for private sector job creation; structural reforms of state-owned companies; strategic public sector reforms; and the need for new foreign direct investment. Other serious longer-term challenges include an inefficient judicial system, high levels of corruption, and an aging population. Factors favorable to Serbia's economic growth include the economic reforms it is undergoing as part of its EU accession process and IMF agreement, its strategic location, a relatively inexpensive and skilled labor force, and free trade agreements with the EU, Russia, Turkey, and countries that are members of the Central European Free Trade Agreement.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$125.8 billion (2020 est.)

$127.04 billion (2019 est.)

$121.87 billion (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 80

Real GDP growth rate

4.18% (2019 est.)

4.4% (2018 est.)

2.05% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 72

Real GDP per capita

$18,200 (2020 est.)

$18,300 (2019 est.)

$17,500 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 93

GDP (official exchange rate)

$51.449 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

-0.1% (2019 est.)

-1.1% (2018 est.)

2% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 18

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: BB+ (2019)

Moody's rating: Ba3 (2017)

Standard & Poors rating: BB+ (2019)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 9.8% (2017 est.)

industry: 41.1% (2017 est.)

services: 49.1% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 78.2% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 10.1% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 18.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 52.5% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -61.3% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

maize, wheat, sugar beet, milk, sunflower seed, potatoes, soybeans, plums/sloes, apples, barley


automobiles, base metals, furniture, food processing, machinery, chemicals, sugar, tires, clothes, pharmaceuticals

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 19.4%

industry: 24.5%

services: 56.1% (2017 est.)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 25.5%

male: 23.5%

female: 28.8% (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 48

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.2%

highest 10%: 23.8% (2011)


revenues: 17.69 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 17.59 billion (2017 est.)

note: data include both central government and local goverment budgets

Public debt

62.5% of GDP (2017 est.)

73.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 71

Current account balance

-$2.354 billion (2017 est.)

-$1.189 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 170


$25.42 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$26.13 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$24.97 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 74

Exports - partners

Germany 12%, Italy 10%, Bosnia and Herzegovina 7%, Romania 6%, Russia 5%  (2019)

Exports - commodities

insulated wiring, tires, corn, cars, iron products, copper (2019)


$30.15 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$31.29 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$29.78 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 70

Imports - partners

Germany 13%, Russia 9%, Italy 8%, Hungary 6%, China 5%, Turkey 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, cars, packaged medicines, natural gas, refined petroleum (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$11.91 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$10.76 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 70

Debt - external

$30.927 billion (2019 est.)

$30.618 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81

Exchange rates

Serbian dinars (RSD) per US dollar -

112.4 (2017 est.)

111.278 (2016 est.)

111.278 (2015 est.)

108.811 (2014 est.)

88.405 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)


installed generating capacity: 8.986 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 29,933,262,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 5.943 billion kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 5.002 billion kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 4.332 billion kWh (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 69.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 2.9% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 27.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 39.673 million metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 40.83 million metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 72,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 987,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 7.514 billion metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 15,200 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 79,200 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 200 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 53,800 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 77.5 million barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 455.787 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 2,619,191,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 1,980,647,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

proven reserves: 48.139 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

47.735 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 32.686 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 10.17 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 4.878 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 60


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 2,572,254 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 37 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 49

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 8,260,758 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 120 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 97

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Serbia’s telecom industry has been liberalized in line with the principles of the EU’s regulatory framework for communications, focused on encouraging competition in telecom products and services, and ensuring universal access; considerable network investment has been undertaken in Serbia by incumbent and alternative operators in recent years, despite economic difficulties; this has helped to stimulate internet usage, which has also been bolstered by improved affordability as prices are reduced through competition; the pandemic has stimulated consumer take up of services, particularly mobile data; the government’s various initiatives to improve rural broadband availability have also been supported by European development loans; Serbia’s high mobile services, partly the result of multiple SIM card use, has weighed on revenue growth in recent years, placing further pressure on operators to develop business models which encourage consumer use of mobile data services also in response to the continued substitution of fixed-line for mobile voice calls; the regulator has yet to auction 5G-suitable frequencies, though operators are already investing in their networks in preparation for this next growth frontier; during 2021 the regulator resumed the process towards a 5G spectrum auction, which had been delayed owing to the onset of the covid-19 pandemic (2022)

domestic: fixed-line over 37 per 100 and mobile-cellular over 120 per 100 persons (2020)

international: country code - 381

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced a downturn, particularly in mobile device production; progress toward 5G implementation has resumed, as well as upgrades to infrastructure; consumer spending on telecom services has increased due to the surge in demand for capacity and bandwidth; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home is still evident, and the spike in this area has seen growth opportunities for development of new tools and increased services

Internet users

total: 5,381,318 (2020 est.)

percent of population: 78% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 85

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,730,496 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 25 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 62


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 4 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 43

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,262,703 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 17.71 million (2018) mt-km

Airports - with paved runways

total: 10

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 16

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 10

under 914 m: 5 (2021)


2 (2021)


1,936 km gas, 413 km oil


total: 3,809 km (2015)

standard gauge: 3,809 km (2015) 1.435-m gauge (3,526 km one-track lines and 283 km double-track lines) out of which 1,279 km electrified (1,000 km one-track lines and 279 km double-track lines)

country comparison to the world: 53


total: 44,248 km (2016)

paved: 28,000 km (2016) (16,162 km state roads, out of which 741 km highways)

unpaved: 16,248 km (2016)

country comparison to the world: 85


587 km (2009) (primarily on the Danube and Sava Rivers)

country comparison to the world: 87

Ports and terminals

river port(s): Belgrade (Danube)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Serbian Armed Forces (Vojska Srbije, VS): Land Forces (includes Riverine Component, consisting of a naval flotilla on the Danube), Air and Air Defense Forces, Serbian Guard; Police Directorate of the Serbian Ministry of Interior: Gendarmerie (2022)

note: the Serbian Guard is a brigade-sized unit that is directly subordinate to the Serbian Armed Forces Chief of General Staff; its duties include safeguarding key defense facilities and rendering military honors to top foreign, state, and military officials 

Military expenditures

1.9% of GDP (2021 est.)

2% of GDP (2020 est.)

2.2% of GDP (2019) (approximately $1.83 billion)

1.6% of GDP (2018) (approximately $1.43 billion)

1.8% of GDP (2017) (approximately $1.47 billion)

country comparison to the world: 66

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 25,000 active duty troops (15,000 Land Forces; 5,000 Air/Air Defense; 5,000 other); approximately 3,000 Gendarmerie (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory consists of Russian and Soviet-era weapons systems; since 2010, Russia has been the largest suppliers of arms to Serbia; China has also provided a growing amount of arms (2022)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; conscription abolished January 2011 (2021)

note: as of 2019, women made up about 6% of the military's full-time personnel 

Military deployments

175 Lebanon (UNIFIL) (May 2022)

Military - note

the Serbian Armed Forces were established in June 2006; the Serbian military traces its origins to the First (1804-1813) and Second (1815-1817) Uprisings against the Ottoman Empire

Serbia does not aspire to join NATO, but has cooperated with the Alliance since 2006 when it joined the Partnership for Peace program; Serbia maintains security ties with Russia (2022)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Serbia-Bosnia and Herzegovina: Serbia delimited about half of the boundary with Bosnia and Herzegovina, but sections along the Drina River remain in dispute

Serbia-Bulgaria: none identified

Serbia-Croatia: Serbia and Croatia dispute their border along the Danube; Serbia claims the border is the median between the current Danube shorelines, with the land to the eastern side of the median belonging to Serbia; Croatia contends that the boundary is demarcated according to historic maps, despite the river having meandered since then

Serbia-Hungary: none identified

Serbia-Kosovo: Serbia with several other states protested the US and other states' recognition of Kosovo's declaration of its status as a sovereign and independent state in February 2008; ethnic Serbian municipalities along Kosovo's northern border challenge final status of Kosovo-Serbia boundary; since 1999, NATO-led Kosovo Force peacekeepers under UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) authority have continued to keep the peace within Kosovo between the ethnic Albanian majority and the Serb minority; in October 2021, NATO-led KFOR increased patrols along the border with Serbia to deescalate hostilities caused by a dispute over license plates

Serbia-Montenegro: the former republic boundary serves as the boundary until a line is formally delimited and demarcated

Serbia-North Macedonia: none identified

Serbia-Romania: none identified

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 17,336 (Croatia), 7,997 (Bosnia and Herzegovina) (mid-year 2021); 22,716 (Ukraine) (includes Ukrainian refugees in Kosovo; as of 22 November 2022)

IDPs: 196,995 (most are Kosovar Serbs, some are Roma, Ashkalis, and Egyptian (RAE); some RAE IDPs are unregistered) (2021)

stateless persons: 2,113 (includes stateless persons in Kosovo) (mid-year 2021)

note: 918,319 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals (January 2015-November 2022); Serbia is predominantly a transit country and hosts an estimated 6,313 migrants and asylum seekers as of June 2022

Illicit drugs

drug trafficking groups are major players in the procurement and transportation of large quantities of cocaine destined for European markets