Photos of Serbia

Confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers as seen from the Kalemegdan Fortress in Belgrade.

Introduction

Background

In 1918, the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes formed a kingdom known after 1929 as Yugoslavia. The monarchy remained in power until 1945, when the communist Partisans headed by Josip Broz (aka TITO) took control of the newly created Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). After TITO died in 1980, communism in Yugoslavia gradually gave way to resurgent nationalism. In 1989, Slobodan MILOSEVIC became president of the Republic of Serbia, and his 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 1992, and MILOSEVIC led military campaigns to unite ethnic Serbs in neighboring republics into a "Greater Serbia." These actions ultimately failed, and international intervention led to the signing of the Dayton Accords in 1995.

In 1998, an ethnic Albanian insurgency in the formerly autonomous Serbian province of Kosovo resulted in a brutal Serbian counterinsurgency campaign. Serbia rejected a proposed international settlement, and NATO responded with a bombing campaign that forced Serbian forces to withdraw from Kosovo in June 1999. In 2003, the FRY became the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, a loose federation of the two republics. In 2006, Montenegro seceded and declared itself an independent nation. 

In 2008, Kosovo also declared independence -- an action Serbia still refuses to recognize. In 2013, Serbia and Kosovo signed the first agreement of principles governing the normalization of relations between the two countries. Additional agreements were reached in 2015 and 2023, but implementation remains incomplete. Serbia has been an official candidate for EU membership since 2012, and President Aleksandar VUCIC has promoted the ambitious goal of Serbia joining the EU by 2025.

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

comparison ranking: total 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

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

520 sq km (2020)

Major rivers (by length in km)

Dunav (Danube) (shared with Germany [s], Austria, Slovakia, 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

Population

total: 6,652,212

male: 3,242,751

female: 3,409,461 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 108; male 109; total 109

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.)

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

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Serbian audio sample:

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: 14.4% (male 492,963/female 463,995)

15-64 years: 65.6% (male 2,198,591/female 2,168,113)

65 years and over: 20% (2024 est.) (male 551,197/female 777,353)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 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: 43.9 years (2024 est.)

male: 42.4 years

female: 45.4 years

comparison ranking: total 33

Population growth rate

-0.61% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 225

Birth rate

8.8 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 202

Death rate

14.9 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 3

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 82

Population distribution

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

Urbanization

urban population: 57.1% of total population (2023)

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

note: data include Kosovo

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

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

15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

28.2 years (2020 est.)

note: data does not cover Kosovo or Metohija

Maternal mortality ratio

10 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 143

Infant mortality rate

total: 4.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 5.1 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.9 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 181

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.3 years (2024 est.)

male: 72.7 years

female: 78.1 years

comparison ranking: total population 128

Total fertility rate

1.46 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 205

Gross reproduction rate

0.71 (2024 est.)

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 (2020)

Physician 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 (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

21.5% (2016)

comparison ranking: 88

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.)

comparison ranking: total 55

Tobacco use

total: 39.8% (2020 est.)

male: 40.5% (2020 est.)

female: 39.1% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 4

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 1.2%

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

Education expenditures

3.6% of GDP (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 134

Literacy

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)

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

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.)

Urbanization

urban population: 57.1% of total population (2023)

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

note: data include Kosovo

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.38% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 73

Revenue from coal

0.25% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 20

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 21.74 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 45.22 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 11.96 megatons (2020 est.)

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)

Dunav (Danube) (shared with Germany [s], Austria, Slovakia, 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: 680 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 3.99 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 660 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

162.2 billion cubic meters (2020 est.) (note - includes Kosovo)

Geoparks

total global geoparks and regional networks: 1

global geoparks and regional networks: Djerdap (2023)

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

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 *

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 Milos Vucevic (since 2 May 2024)

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 17 December 2023 (next to be held in 2028); prime minister elected by the National Assembly

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

2017: Aleksandar VUCIC elected president in 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%, other 7.3%, invalid/blank 1.6%; Prime Minister Ana BRNABIC reelected by the National Assembly on 5 October 2020; National Assembly vote - NA

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 17 December 2023 (next to be held in 2027)

election results: percent of vote by party/coalition - Serbia Must Stop 48%, SPN 24.4%, SPS-JS-ZS 6.7%, NADA 5.2%, MI-GIN 4.8%, Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians 1.7%, SPP-DSHV 0.8%, SDAS 0.6%, Political Battle of the Albanians Continues 0.4%, RS-NKPJ 0.3%, other 7.1%; seats by party/coalition - Serbia Must Stop 128, SPN 65, SPS-JS-ZS 18, NADA 13, MI-GIN 13, Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians 6, SPP-DSHV 3, SDAS 2, Political Battle of the Albanians Continues 1, RS-NKPJ 1; composition - men 155, women 95; percentage of women 38%

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

Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians or SVM or VMSZ [Shepherd BALINT, acting]
Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina or DSHV [Tomislav ZIGMANOV]
Democratic Party or DS [Zoran LUTOVAC]
Ecological Uprising or EU [Aleksandar JOVANOVIC]
Green - Left Front or ZLF [Radomir LAZOVIC, Biljana DORDEVIC]
Greens of Serbia or ZS [Ivan KARIC]
Justice and Reconciliation Party or SPP [Usame ZUKORLIC] (formerly Bosniak Democratic Union of Sandzak or BDZS)
Movement for Reversal or PZP [Janko VESELINOVIC]
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] (electoral coalition includes NDSS and POKS)
New Communist Party of Yugoslavia or NKPJ [Aleksandar BANJANAC]
New Democratic Party of Serbia or NDSS or New DSS [Milos JOVANOVIC] (formerly Democratic Party of Serbia or DSS)
New Face of Serbia or NLS [Milos PARANDICOVIC]
Party of Democratic Action of the Sandzak or SDAS [Sulejman UGLJANIN]
Party of Freedom and Justice or SSP [Dragan DJILAS]
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 Movement of Serbia or NPS [Miroslav ALEKSIC]
People's Movement of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija or Fatherland [Stavica RISTIC]
People's Peasant Party or NSS [Marijan RISTICEVIC]
Political Battle of the Albanians Continues [Shaip KAMBERI]
Russian Party or RS [Slobodan NIKOLIC]
Serbia Against Violence or SPN [collective leadership] (electoral coalition includes DS, SSP, ZLF, Zajedno, NPS, PSG, EU, PZP, USS Sloga, NLS, Fatherland]
Serbia Must Not Stop [Milenko JOVANOV] (electoral coalitions includes SNS, SDPS, PUPS, PSS, SNP, SPO, PS, NSS, USS)
Serbian People's Party or SNP [Nenad POPOVIC]
Serbian Progressive Party or SNS [Miloš VUCEVIC]
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 or ZAJEDNO [Biljana STOJKOVIC, Nebojsa ZELENOVIC]
United Peasant Party or USS [Milija MILETIC]
United Serbia or JS [Dragan MARKOVIC]
United Trade Unions of Serbia "Sloga" or USS Sloga [Zeljko VESELINOVIC]
We - The Voice from the People or MI-GIN [collective leadership)

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)

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 (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Vladimir MARIC (since 30 April 2024)

chancery: 1333 16th Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20036

telephone: [1] (202) 507-8654

FAX: [1] (202) 332-3933

email address and website:
info@serbiaembusa.org

http://www.washington.mfa.gov.rs/

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:
belgradeacs@state.gov

https://rs.usembassy.gov/

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

Economy

Economic overview

upper middle-income Balkan economy; current EU accession candidate; hit by COVID-19; pursuing green growth development; manageable public debt; new anticorruption efforts; falling unemployment; historic Russian relations; energy import-dependent

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$139.193 billion (2022 est.)
$135.732 billion (2021 est.)
$125.997 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 81

Real GDP growth rate

2.55% (2022 est.)
7.73% (2021 est.)
-0.9% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 152

Real GDP per capita

$20,900 (2022 est.)
$19,900 (2021 est.)
$18,300 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 91

GDP (official exchange rate)

$63.563 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

11.98% (2022 est.)
4.09% (2021 est.)
1.58% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 176

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.)

comparison rankings: services 184; industry 24; agriculture 91

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 beets, milk, sunflower seeds, potatoes, plums, apples, barley, soybeans (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate

-0.06% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 161

Labor force

3.373 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 100

Unemployment rate

8.68% (2022 est.)
10.06% (2021 est.)
9.01% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 155

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 30.4% (2021 est.)

male: 28.5%

female: 33.7%

comparison ranking: total 38

Population below poverty line

21.2% (2020 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

35 (2020 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 98

Average household expenditures

on food: 24.1% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 8.4% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.3%

highest 10%: 27.1% (2020 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population

Remittances

8.81% of GDP (2022 est.)
7.29% of GDP (2021 est.)
7.25% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $21.858 billion (2020 est.)

expenditures: $25.72 billion (2020 est.)

note: data include both central government and local goverment budgets

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

0.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 43

Public debt

62.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
73.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 74

Taxes and other revenues

20.61% (of GDP) (2021 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 83

Current account balance

-$4.457 billion (2022 est.)
-$2.654 billion (2021 est.)
-$2.177 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 173

Exports

$39.905 billion (2022 est.)
$34.035 billion (2021 est.)
$25.5 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 73

Exports - partners

Germany 13%, Bosnia and Herzegovina 7%, Italy 7%, Hungary 6%, Romania 4% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

insulated wire, copper ore, plastic products, electricity, rubber tires (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars

Imports

$47.395 billion (2022 est.)
$39.476 billion (2021 est.)
$30.177 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 67

Imports - partners

Germany 11%, China 8%, Hungary 8%, Russia 7%, Italy 6% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

electricity, crude petroleum, natural gas, plastic products, packaged medicine (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$20.68 billion (2022 est.)
$18.617 billion (2021 est.)
$16.587 billion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 70

Debt - external

$30.927 billion (2019 est.)
$30.618 billion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 82

Exchange rates

Serbian dinars (RSD) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
111.662 (2022 est.)
99.396 (2021 est.)
103.163 (2020 est.)
105.25 (2019 est.)
100.175 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2022 est.)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 8.075 million kW (2022 est.)

consumption: 30.678 billion kWh (2022 est.)

exports: 5.613 billion kWh (2022 est.)

imports: 8.236 billion kWh (2022 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 4.494 billion kWh (2022 est.)

comparison rankings: transmission/distribution losses 158; imports 31; exports 37; consumption 67; installed generating capacity 72

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 68.8% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

wind: 2.9% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

hydroelectricity: 27.5% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

biomass and waste: 0.8% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

Coal

production: 35.129 million metric tons (2022 est.)

consumption: 38.297 million metric tons (2022 est.)

exports: 9,000 metric tons (2022 est.)

imports: 1.641 million metric tons (2022 est.)

proven reserves: 7.514 billion metric tons (2022 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 13,000 bbl/day (2023 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 82,000 bbl/day (2022 est.)

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

Natural gas

production: 353.376 million cubic meters (2022 est.)

consumption: 2.939 billion cubic meters (2022 est.)

imports: 2.652 billion cubic meters (2022 est.)

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

Carbon dioxide emissions

42.933 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 27.399 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 10.06 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 5.474 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 63

Energy consumption per capita

89.037 million Btu/person (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: 60

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 2.539 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 37 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 46

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 8.621 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 124 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 98

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 is 124 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 381

Internet users

total: 5.589 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 81% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 85

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

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

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 25 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 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 (2018) mt-km

Airports

43 (2024)

comparison ranking: 95

Heliports

8 (2024)

Pipelines

1,936 km gas, 413 km oil

Railways

total: 3,333 km (2020) 1,274 km electrified

comparison ranking: total 56

Roadways

total: 45,022 km (2022)

comparison ranking: total 87

Waterways

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

comparison ranking: 87

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Serbian Armed Forces (Vojska Srbije, VS): Army (aka Land Forces; includes Riverine Component, consisting of a naval flotilla on the Danube), Air and Air Defense Forces, Serbian Guard

Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs: General Police Directorate (2024)

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

2% of GDP (2023 est.)
2.2% of GDP (2022 est.)
2.2% of GDP (2021 est.)
2% of GDP (2020 est.)
2.2% of GDP (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 67

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 (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory consists of domestically produced equipment and weapons systems, as well as Russian, Yugoslav, and Soviet-era weapons systems; in recent years, China and Russia have been the largest suppliers of arms to Serbia (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; conscription abolished in 2011 (2024)

note: as of 2021, women made up about 16% of the military's full-time personnel

Military deployments

180 Lebanon (UNIFIL) (2024)

Military - note

the Serbian military is responsible for defense and deterrence against external threats, supporting international peacekeeping operations, and providing support to civil authorities for internal security; specific threat concerns of the military include extremism, separatism, and deepening international recognition of Kosovo; Serbia has cooperated with NATO since 2006, when it joined the Partnership for Peace program, and the military trains with NATO countries, particularly other Balkan states; Serbia has participated in EU peacekeeping missions, as well as missions under the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the UN; it also maintains close security ties with Russia and has a growing security relationship with China

the modern Serbian military was established in 2006 but traces its origins back through World War II, World War I, the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, and the Bulgarian-Serb War of 1885 to the First (1804-1813) and Second (1815-1817) Uprisings against the Ottoman Empire (2023)

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 17,334 (Croatia), 7,997 (Bosnia and Herzegovina) (mid-year 2022)

IDPs: 196,066 (most are Kosovar Serbs, some are Roma, Ashkalis, and Egyptian (RAE); some RAE IDPs are unregistered) (2022)

stateless persons: 2,594 (includes stateless persons in Kosovo) (2022)

note: 1,045,323 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals (January 2015-March 2024)

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — Serbia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; the government identified more victims and its Center for Protection of Trafficking Victims (CPTV) established a panel with a psychologist, educator, and social worker to conduct victim assessments within 24 hours of a referral; a court seized a house built from the profits of forced begging and gave ownership of the house to the victim as restitution; however, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts, compared with the previous reporting period, to expand its anti-trafficking capacity; fewer investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of traffickers took place; officials decreased resources for the CPTV, despite its lack of staff, skills, and resources to assess victims, coordinate care, and run the CTPV shelter; standard operating procedures on victim identification remained unclear, and implementation was “recommended” rather than required; authorities inappropriately penalized victims with imprisonment, probation, and fines for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; the Anti-Trafficking Council has not met in three years, and the government has not adopted the 2021-2022 National Action Plan; official complicity in trafficking or inaction remained significant concerns; the government did not fully protect victims or fully investigate credible allegations that approximately 500 Vietnamese workers were subjected to forced labor at a factory owned by China; therefore, Serbia remained on Tier 2 Watch List for the second consecutive year (2023)

Illicit drugs

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