By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest
Romania’s stable population was 20,1 million in October 2011, three million less than in 1990, according to the final results of the first census the country held after joining the EU in 2007 which also show a worrying declining and aging phenomenon of the demographics.
About 88.9 per cent of the population declared themselves as Romanian ethnics while Hungarians represent 6.5 per cent of the whole population, followed by the Roma ethnics (3.3 per cent). Compared to the census in 2002, the Roma population rose by 0.8 per cent, while the number of the Germans living in Romania declined from 0.28 to 0.20, the final results also show.
The number of the Romanians living abroad, but who are not part of the stable population, is 727.500, but the real number is expected to be higher since, when the census was held, most of the above-mentioned persons were out of the country with their families and no one back home could offer adequate information to census takers.
About 86.5 of the Romanians said they were Orthodox, 4.6 per cent Catholics, 3.2 per cent as belonging to the reformed religion. 0.2 per cent said they were atheists. More than 44 per cent of the Romanians have a low level of education (up to eight grades), 41.4 per cent have a medium education level (high-school or professional schools finished), while 14.4 per cent graduated from universities. More than 245.000 Romanians are illiterate.
In a press conference, Tudorel Andrei, the director of Romania’s National Institute of Statistics, pointed out Romania’s population is not merely declining, but also aging which incurs some effects in the future.
“We used to be over 23 million inhabitants in 1990. We used to be 21.6 million in 2002. Now we are a little over 20 million. The decrease is beyond 3 million and this is mainly caused by external migration” he said. “Joining EU has accelerated the external migration phenomenon which has contributed to the decrease of population by 75 per cent, a quarter reverting to the negative natural growth” Andrei further explained.
“If we also look at the age pyramid, we notice important changes. In 1992, we had a consistent basis which is now much lower. This raises questions for the demographic projections and social and economic policies. A reduction of the pyramid basis means a dangerous distribution of the population into age categories. We are clearly witnessing a population aging phenomenon with all the problems this will generate in the years to come” he concluded.
In a speech delivered a few weeks ago, the Romanian President warned that, if the current decline trend is maintained, Romania’s population will reach 15 million in 2030. Basescu irritated then feminist organizations in the country when he urged the Romanian women to follow the example of the Roma women who can raise “five-six-seven children”. “Of course, the Roma woman is not a manager”, Basescu said, sparking vivid reactions. He was also accused of carrying a communist-era speech when he said having children is a patriotic act.