Photos of Serbia

Introduction

Background

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.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Southeastern Europe, between Macedonia and Hungary

Geographic coordinates

44 00 N, 21 00 E

Area

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

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, Macedonia 101 km, Montenegro 157 km, Romania 531 km

Coastline

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)

Climate

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)

Terrain

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

Elevation

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

950 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

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

Population distribution

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

Natural hazards

destructive earthquakes

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

Geography - note

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

People and Society

Population

6,974,289 (July 2021 est.)

note: does not include the population of Kosovo

country comparison to the world: 106

Nationality

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

Languages

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.)

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

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Religions

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.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 52.5

youth dependency ratio: 23.4

elderly dependency ratio: 29.1

potential support ratio: 3.4 (2020 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

8.74 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 208

Death rate

13.49 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 93

Population distribution

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

Urbanization

urban population: 56.7% of total population (2021)

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

note: data include Kosovo

Major urban areas - population

1.402 million BELGRADE (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female

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

15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female

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

55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

28.4 years (2017 est.)

note: data do not cover Kosovo or Metohija

Maternal mortality rate

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

country comparison to the world: 141

Infant mortality rate

total: 5.67 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 6.69 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 4.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 173

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.56 years

male: 73.67 years

female: 79.64 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 102

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99.4% of population

rural: 99% of population

total: 99.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.6% of population

rural: 1% of population

total: 0.8% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

3.11 physicians/1,000 population (2016)

Hospital bed density

5.6 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 95.1% of population

total: 97.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 4.9% of population

total: 2.4% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

<100 (2019 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 98.3%

male: 99.1%

female: 97.5% (2016)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 15 years

male: 14 years

female: 15 years (2019)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 27.5%

male: 26.1%

female: 29.9% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 38

Environment

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.)

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 (note - includes Kosovo) (2017 est.)

Climate

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.)

Revenue from coal

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

country comparison to the world: 20

Urbanization

urban population: 56.7% of total population (2021)

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

note: data include Kosovo

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.)

Government

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

Capital

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

119 municipalities (opstine, singular - opstina) and 26 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, Bor, 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, Prokuplje, 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, Cacak, Jagodina, Kikinda*, Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Krusevac, Leskovac, Loznica, Nis, Novi Pazar, Novi Sad*, Pancevo*, Pirot, Pozarevac, 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 *

Independence

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

Constitution

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

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

Suffrage

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 2 April 2017 (next to be held in 2022); prime minister elected by the National Assembly

election results: 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 21 June 2020 (originally scheduled for 26 April 2020 but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic) (next to be held in 2024)

election results: percent of vote by party/coalition - For Our Children 60.7%, SPS-JS 10.4%, SPAS 3.8%, SVM 2.2%, Straight Ahead 1%, Albanian Democratic Alternative .8%, SDA .8%, other 20.3%; seats by party/coalition For Our Children 188, SPS-JS 32, SPAS 11, SVM 9, Straight Ahead 4, Albanian Democratic Alternative 3, SDA 3; composition (preliminary) -  men 165, women 85, percent of women 30%

note: seats by party as of May 2019  - SNS 91, SRS 22, SPS 20, DS 13, SDPS 10, PUPS 9, Dveri 6, JS 6, LDP 4, SDS 4, SVM 4, other 36, independent 25; composition - men 157, women 93, percent of women 37.2%

Judicial branch

highest courts: 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 [Istvan PASZTOR]
Democratic Party or DS [Zoran LUTOVAC]
Democratic Party of Macedonians or DPM [Nenad KRSTESKI]
Democratic Party of Serbia or DSS [Milos JOVANOVIC]
Dveri [Bosko OBRADOVIC]
For Our Children (electoral alliance includes SNS, PS, PUPS, PSS, SNP, SPO, NSS) [Aleksandar VUCIC]
Justice and Reconciliation Party or SPP [Muamer ZUKORLIC] (formerly Bosniak Democratic Union of Sandzak or BDZS)
Movement of Socialists or PS [Aleksandar VULIN]
Party of Democratic Action of the Sandzak or SDA [Sulejman UGLJANIN]
Party of United Pensioners of Serbia or PUPS [Milan KRKOBABIC]
People's Party or NARODNA [Vuk JEREMIC]
People's Peasant Party or NSS [Marijan RISTICEVIC]
Serbian Patriotic Alliance or SPAS [Aleksandar SAPIC]
Serbian People's Party or SNP [Nenad POPOVIC]
Serbian Progressive Party or SNS [Aleksandar VUCIC]
Serbian Radical Party or SRS [Vojislav SESELJ]
Serbian Renewal Movement or SPO [Vuk DRASKOVIC]
Social Democratic Party or SDS [Boris TADIC]
Social Democratic Party of Serbia or SDPS [Rasim LJAJIC]
Socialist Party of Serbia or SPS [Ivica DACIC]
Straight Ahead (electoral coalition includes SPP, DPM)
Strength of Serbia or PSS [Bogoljub KARIC]
Together for Serbia or ZZS [Nebojsa ZELENOVIC]
United Serbia or JS [Dragan MARKOVIC]

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

International organization participation

BIS, BSEC, CD, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, EU (candidate country), FAO, G-9, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, SELEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US

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

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

telephone: [1] (202) 332-0333

FAX: [1] (202) 332-3933

consulate(s) general: Chicago, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Anthony GODFREY (since 24 October 2019)

telephone: [381] (11) 706-4000

embassy: 92 Bulevar kneza Aleksandra Karadjordjevica, 11040 Belgrade

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

FAX: [381] (11) 706-4005

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

This is an audio of the National Anthem for Serbia. The national anthem is generally a patriotic musical composition - usually in the form of a song or hymn of praise - that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, or struggles of a nation or its people. National anthems can be officially recognized as a national song by a country's constitution or by an enacted law, or simply by tradition. Although most anthems contain lyrics, some do not.:

Economy

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 growth rate

4.18% (2019 est.)

4.4% (2018 est.)

2.05% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 72

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)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$126.625 billion (2019 est.)

$121.464 billion (2018 est.)

$116.239 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 83

GDP (official exchange rate)

$51.449 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$18,233 (2019 est.)

$17,395 (2018 est.)

$16,556 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 98

Gross national saving

18.2% of GDP (2019 est.)

18.7% of GDP (2018 est.)

15.5% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 123

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.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 75.7 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 89.3 (2020)

Trading score: 96.6 (2020)

Enforcement score: 63.1 (2020)

Agricultural products

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

Industries

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.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.2%

highest 10%: 23.8% (2011)

Budget

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: 70

Current account balance

-$2.354 billion (2017 est.)

-$1.189 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 170

Exports

$15.92 billion (2017 est.)

$13.99 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 85

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)

Imports

$20.44 billion (2017 est.)

$17.63 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 82

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: 82

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.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 2,565,392

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 36.43 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 49

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 8,453,887

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 120.06 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 97

Telecommunication systems

general assessment:

Serbia's integration with the EU helped regulator reforms and promotion of telecom; EU development loans for broadband to rural areas; pandemic spurred use of mobile data and other services; wireless service is available through multiple providers; national coverage is growing rapidly; best telecom services are centered in urban centers; 4G/LTE mobile network launched; 5G tests ongoing with Ericsson and Huawei (2021)

(2020)

domestic: fixed-line 29 per 100 and mobile-cellular 96 per 100 persons (2019)

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 downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Internet users

total: 5,192,501

percent of population: 73.36% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,623,790

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 23.06 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 62

Transportation

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 mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 10 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 2 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 16 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 10 (2013)

under 914 m: 5 (2013)

Heliports

2 (2012)

Pipelines

1936 km gas, 413 km oil

Railways

total: 3,809 km (2015)

standard gauge: 3,809 km 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) (2015)

country comparison to the world: 53

Roadways

total: 44,248 km (2016)

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

unpaved: 16,248 km (2016)

country comparison to the world: 86

Waterways

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

country comparison to the world: 80

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 river flotilla on the Danube), Air and Air Defense Forces, Serbian Guard; Ministry of Interior: Gendarmerie (2021)

note: the Guard is a brigade-sized unit that is directly subordinate to the Serbian Armed Forces Chief of General Staff

Military expenditures

2.4% of GDP (2020 est.)

2.2% of GDP (2019)

1.6% of GDP (2018 est.)

1.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

1.7% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 40

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 25,000 active duty troops (15,000 Land Forces; 5,000 Air/Air Defense; 5,000 other) (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the inventory of the Serbian Armed Forces consists of Russian and Soviet-era weapons systems; since 2010, most of its weapons imports have come from Russia (2020)

Military deployments

200 Lebanon (UNIFIL) (March 2021)

Military service age and obligation

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

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Serbia with several other states protest 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; several thousand NATO-led Kosovo Force peacekeepers under UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo authority continue to keep the peace within Kosovo between the ethnic Albanian majority and the Serb minority in Kosovo; Serbia delimited about half of the boundary with Bosnia and Herzegovina, but sections along the Drina River remain in dispute

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 17,972 (Croatia), 8,198 (Bosnia and Herzegovina) (2019)

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

stateless persons: 2,144 (includes stateless persons in Kosovo) (2020)

note: 773,934 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals (January 2015-July 2021); Serbia is predominantly a transit country and hosts an estimated 6,165 migrants and refugees as of April 2021

Illicit drugs

transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin moving to Western Europe on the Balkan route; economy vulnerable to money laundering