Yugoslavia Map

Yugoslavia    Plants and Animal Back to Top

Yugoslavia’s plant and animal life is diverse. The Pannonian Plain is naturally a grassland, although cultivated crops now cover almost all of it. Forests cover 28 percent of Yugoslavia, mainly in the mountains. Deciduous forests cover the Balkan and Carpathian ranges, and mixed coniferous (evergreen) and deciduous forests appear at lower elevations of the eastern Dinaric Alps. Forests also once covered the southern and western portions of the Dinaric Alps, but most trees have been cleared and the soil has eroded. The deciduous forests are predominantly oak at lower elevations and beech at higher elevations, but also include elm, maple, chestnut, poplar, walnut, ash, linden, and willow. The Montenegrin coastal area contains Mediterranean vegetation that has adapted to the long, hot dry summers. This vegetation includes scrub evergreen, cypress, palm, olive, fig, cherry, almond, orange, and lemon trees.

Yugoslavia    Communications Back to Top

general assessment: NA domestic: NA international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Yugoslavia    Culture Back to Top

The many facets of the ethnic lens through which Yugoslavs view the universe have magnified the divisions in Yugoslav society and obscured its few unifying elements. The obvious cultural and economic contrasts were only the starting point of differences that existed on many levels. In the alpine north, Baroque Catholic altars reflected Slovenia's cultural affinity with Austria and Italy, but modern glass-and-steel skyscrapers revealed Slovenia's aspirations toward a role in modern Europe. In the Balkan south, the ancient stone churches of Macedonia reflected a rich Byzantine tradition, while acute poverty and a low literacy rate were part of the legacy of Ottoman domination that had insulated Macedonians from the influences of the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Industrial Revolution. The forces of war and external threat bound Slovenia, Macedonia, and the patchwork of cultures between them into a single country, but they allowed scant opportunity for consideration of how ethnic differences could be overcome.

Despite the ethnic and cultural cleavages that continued to divide Yugoslavia in 1990, the country made great social progress after World War II. On the eve of the war, Yugoslavia was a backward, predominantly peasant land with a few developing basic industries mostly located in its northern regions. Paved roads were rare, schools few, and almost half the people illiterate. Infectious disease was frequent, infant mortality was very high, doctors were few, and hygiene, medical facilities, and child care were poor, especially in rural areas. The strong kinship ties that undergirded society were the only social welfare system available to most people. Meanwhile, rural overpopulation fragmented landholding, and poverty frayed the fabric of the family. While educated citizens in the northern cities might watch ancient Greek drama in theaters, many of their compatriots in the southern mountains actually lived according to Homeric traditions of blood vengeance, the buying, selling, and stealing of brides, practicing rituals of blood brotherhood, and reciting epic poems to the music of a crude single-string instrument.

Before World War II, Yugoslavia's small upper class was composed of a Serb-dominated bureaucracy and military and a few professionals, entrepreneurs, and artisans. Like the Habsburg and Ottoman domination of earlier centuries, the Serbian hegemony established after World War I frustrated the autonomy of the country's other major nationalities. Preoccupation with issues of nationalism prevented effective solutions to the country's grave social problems. Animosities among the Yugoslav peoples exploded in civil war after the Nazis occupied the country in 1941. World War II claimed 1.7 million Yugoslav lives and inflicted deep wounds on all national psyches. Atrocities were committed by all sides, and more than half Yugoslavia's war dead were killed by other Yugoslavs.

After World War II, Yugoslavia's communist government promoted the slogan "Brotherhood and Unity" and moved energetically to smooth over ethnic antagonisms. Josip Broz Tito and his revolutionary regime eradicated wartime collaborators along with many innocents, ousted what remained of the old Serb-dominated elite, nationalized private property, and established a new party-based governing class. Membership in the wartime Partisans, rather than competence or education, became the key to a successful career. The new government, led by a ruling circle steeped in Marxism and Leninism, undertook radical steps to modernize the country: first reconstruction, then rapid industrialization. Modernization continued apace after the Yugoslav communists ended their alliance with the Soviet Union in 1948 and introduced workers' self-management, a unique version of socialism. Thousands of peasants migrated to urban areas in the decade following World War II. Patriarchal extended families broke down at an accelerated rate, and women began to find jobs and a new identity outside the home. New schools and hospitals opened, and universities began training teachers, doctors, and engineers.

Although Yugoslavia's economy expanded rapidly, by the mid-1960s it could not absorb the large number of individuals emerging from the educational system. Tito opened the borders to emigration, and within a decade about a million Yugoslavs had left to take jobs in Western Europe. Massive capital redistribution from relatively rich northerly regions to the less-developed did not mitigate the huge differences in development between them. The economic downturn of the late 1970s and 1980s slowed the entry of qualified individuals into the working and managing classes. In the 1970s, the northern republics began to complain about the contributions to development in the southern regions mandated by the central government. An entrenched bureaucracy sabotaged economic and social reforms in the 1970s and 1980s, and by the late 1980s economic and political stagnation had eroded many of the earlier improvements in Yugoslavia's standard of living. As the concept of the centrally planned economy waned throughout Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia turned to the West, causing further tension between tradition and change. In 1990 political victories by non-Communist parties in Slovenia and Croatia promised a fresh approach to old and new social tensions and regional disparities. Such changes portended a complete restructuring of the Yugoslav federation.

Yugoslavia    Defence Back to Top

Military branches: Army (including ground forces with border troops, naval forces, air and air defense forces)
Military manpower - military age: 19 years of age
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 2,600,362 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 2,088,595 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 82,542 (2001 est.)

Yugoslavia    International Disputes Back to Top

Albanian majority in Kosovo seeks independence from Yugoslavia; Croatia and Yugoslavia are negotiating the status of the strategically important Prevlaka Peninsula, which is currently under a UN military observer mission (UNMOP); the February 2001 agreement with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia settled alignment of boundary, stipulating implementation within two years

Yugoslavia    Economy Back to Top

Yugoslav state in the early 1990s and the ensuing Wars of Yugoslav Succession seriously debilitated the economy of Serbia and Montenegro. Economic sanctions imposed on the FRY by the United Nations (UN) due to the country’s involvement in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia intensified the economic damage. During the early 1990s the FRY experienced runaway inflation, a high rate of unemployment (more than 60 percent in 1993), and a collapse in production. Tough measures designed to reduce public spending and increase productivity, along with the introduction of a new currency linked to the German currency in early 1994, began to bring inflation under control, and gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual rate of about 5 to 6 percent in 1994 and by a similar rate in 1995. Following a peace agreement bringing the war in Bosnia to an end, the UN lifted the sanctions against the FRY in October 1996. This boosted economic performance, accelerating GDP growth to 7.4 percent in 1997.

Yugoslavia adopted an avowedly socialist economic system modeled on institutions in the Soviet Union, but, following its break with the Communist Information Bureau (Cominform) in 1948, a system evolved that allowed increasing opportunity for individual enterprise. Although most farmers were gathered into collective farms, this unpopular policy was abandoned after 1953. In Serbia the institution continued mainly in former German estates in the Vojvodina, where the regime had resettled migrants from mountainous regions of Serbia and Montenegro. The communist regime also nationalized existing industrial enterprises and embarked on an ambitious policy of rapidly creating more. Using funds derived from the profits of manufacturing plants in the long-developed industrial regions of Slovenia and Croatia

The swift collapse of the Yugoslav federation in 1991 was followed by highly destructive warfare, the destabilization of republic boundaries, and the breakup of important interrepublic trade flows. Output in Yugoslavia dropped by half in 1992-93. Like the other former Yugoslav republics, it had depended on its sister republics for large amounts of energy and manufactures. Wide differences in climate, mineral resources, and levels of technology among the republics accentuated this interdependence, as did the communist practice of concentrating much industrial output in a small number of giant plants. The breakup of many of the trade links, the sharp drop in output as industrial plants lost suppliers and markets, and the destruction of physical assets in the fighting all have contributed to the economic difficulties of the republics. Hyperinflation ended with the establishment of a new currency unit in June 1993; prices were relatively stable from 1995 through 1997, but inflationary pressures resurged in 1998. Reliable statistics continue to be hard to come by, and the GDP estimate is extremely rough. The economic boom anticipated by the government after the suspension of UN sanctions in December 1995 has failed to materialize. Government mismanagement of the economy is largely to blame, but the damage to Yugoslavia's infrastructure and industry by the NATO bombing during the war in Kosovo have added to problems. All sanctions now have been lifted. Yugoslavia is in the first stage of economic reform. Severe electricity shortages are chronic, the result of lack of investment by former regimes, depleted hydropower reservoirs due to extended drought, and lack of funds. GDP growth in 2000 was perhaps 15%, which made up for a large part of the 20% decline of 1999.

Yugoslavia    Education Back to Top

Primary schooling in interwar Yugoslavia was a four-year course. Although enrollments more than doubled between 1919 and 1940, on the eve of World War II only about 27.3 percent of Yugoslav young people between five and 24 were enrolled in school or receiving some kind of instruction. Only about 4 percent of the pupils who completed primary school went on to secondary schools. Muslim parents remained suspicious of education for women, and many rural areas had no schools at all. In the late 1930s, about 40 percent of the population over ten years of age was illiterate. Striking regional disparities existed in levels of literacy. While over three-quarters of all Slovenes and Croats could read and write, only a tenth of Kosovo's ethnic Albanians were literate. Yugoslavia's interwar education system was highly centralized, and instruction was exclusively in Serbo-Croatian. Macedonians and Croats especially resented Belgrade's dominance of education; many Croatian teachers enlisted in the pro-Nazi Ustase forces during the war. World War II decimated Yugoslavia's teacher corps and damaged heavily its education facilities. In 1953, 14.5 percent of the active nonagricultural population had not finished four grades of elementary school, while 63.5 percent had not completed the eighth grade.

In the postwar period, the Yugoslav government invested heavily in rebuilding the national education system. Besides building new schools, libraries, and other facilities, the government took energetic steps to enhance the qualifications of Yugoslavia's teaching cadres. By 1989 the majority of teachers in primary and secondary schools held university degrees. In addition, schools began employing a variety of teacher aides and specialists, including librarians, media specialists, medical personnel, special-education instructors, vocational-training specialists, and computer programmers--most of whom were university graduates. Within thirty years after adoption, such measures radically changed the educational base of the Yugoslav population. By 1981 only 2.7 percent of the active nonagricultural population had less than three years of primary school; the portion that had not completed the eighth grade had fallen to 18.9 percent; and 58.1 percent of that group had at least a high-school diploma. Of the overall population, 25.5 percent had completed a secondary program and 24.2 had completed eight years of a primary program.

Education is compulsory from ages 7 to 15 and both primary and secondary education are free. However, only 71 percent of children of the relevant ages were enrolled in primary school in 1996, and only 64 percent in secondary school. The overall literacy rate is 93 percent, but the rate is higher for males (98 percent) than it is for females (89 percent). Literacy rates are not uniform among ethnic groups. Albanian girls receive less schooling than girls of other groups, and Albanians in general have lower literacy rates. Schooling has been particularly difficult for ethnic Albanians since 1990.

Yugoslavia    Government Back to Top

Government: Federal system in which federal government and governments of six republics and two provinces (with limited autonomy) shared power and authority. After death of dictator Josip Broz Tito in 1980, head of state began annual rotation among members of eight-member State Presidency. Federal Executive Council (FEC) acted as cabinet; its president was prime minister and de facto head of government. Legislative branch was bicameral Federal Assembly (Skupstina), representing republics and social organizations. Decision making slow, often cumbersome; proposals subject to veto by republics whose interests were threatened.

Politics: Until 1990, sole center of political power was League of Communists of Yugoslavia (LCY). Its split along republic lines coincided with growth of many noncommunist parties, mostly republic based, in late 1980s. First noncommunist republic government elected in Croatia in 1990. Multiparty elections held in all republics in 1990.

Foreign Relations: Maintained nonaligned international position after breaking with Soviet Union in 1948; remained a leader of world Nonaligned Movement through 1980s. Previously balanced relations with Soviet Union and West tilted toward West after economic and political crises in Soviet Union and Eastern European late 1980s.

Yugoslavia    History Back to Top

Yugoslavia is the complex product of a complex history. The country's confusing and conflicting mosaic of peoples, languages, religions, and cultures took shape during centuries of turmoil after the collapse of the Roman Empire. By the early nineteenth century, two great empires, the Austrian and the Ottoman, ruled all the modern-day Yugoslav lands except Montenegro. As the century progressed, however, nationalist feelings awoke in the region's diverse peoples, the Turkish grip began to weaken, and Serbia won its independence.

Discontent with the existing order brought calls for a union of South Slav peoples: Slovenian and Croatian thinkers proposed a South Slav kingdom within the Austrian Empire, while Serbian intellectuals envisaged a fully independent South Slav state. By the end of the century, the Ottoman Empire was disintegrating, and Austria-Hungary, Serbia, and other powers vied to gain a share of the empire's remaining Balkan lands. The conflict of those ambitions unleashed the forces that destroyed the old European order in World War I.

The idea of a South Slav kingdom flourished during World War I, but the collapse of Austria-Hungary eliminated the possibility of a South Slav kingdom under Austrian sponsorship. Fear of Italian domination drove some leaders of the Slovenes and Croats to unite with Serbia in a single kingdom under the Serbian dynasty in 1918. Political infighting and nationalist strife plagued this kingdom during the interwar years. When democratic institutions proved ineffectual, Serbian dictatorship took over, and the kingdom collapsed in violence after the Axis powers invaded in 1941.

During World War II, communist-led Partisans waged a victorious guerrilla struggle against foreign occupiers, Croatian fascists, and supporters of the prewar government. This led to the rebirth of Yugoslavia as a socialist federation under communist rule on November 29, 1945. Under Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslav communists were faithful to orthodox Stalinism until a 1948 split with Moscow. At that time, a Soviet-bloc economic blockade compelled the Yugoslavs to devise an economic system based on Socialist self-management. To this system the Yugoslavs added a nonaligned foreign policy and an idiosyncratic, one-party political system. This system maintained a semblance of unity during most of Tito's four decades of unquestioned rule. Soon after his death in 1980, however, long-standing differences again separated the communist parties of the country's republics and provinces. Economic turmoil and the reemergence of an old conflict between the Serbs and the ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo exacerbated these differences, fueled a resurgence of nationalism, and paralyzed the country's political decisionmaking mechanism.

Yugoslavia    Introduction Back to Top

Yugoslavia, Federal Republic of, federation of the republics of Serbia and Montenegro, located in southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula. From 1945 to 1991 Yugoslavia was a larger Communist federal state, called the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) beginning in 1963, consisting of six republics.
Yugoslavia    Land Back to Top


Yugoslavia    Languages Back to Top

Muslims speak Serbo-Croatian but prefer to write it with the Latin alphabet. They form the majority in the Sandžak region, an area that straddles the southwestern border between Serbia and Montenegro and abuts Bosnia. Ethnic Albanians speak Albanian, which is written with the Latin alphabet. Most Albanians are Sunni Muslims (see Sunnites), but there are also Orthodox Christian and Roman Catholic Albanians, particularly in Montenegro. The great majority of ethnic Albanians in the FRY live in the Serbian province of Kosovo, where they make up about 90 percent of the population. There is also a small population of ethnic Albanians in Montenegro, concentrated in areas bordering Albania and Kosovo. Hungarians in the FRY speak Hungarian as well as Serbo-Croatian, and are concentrated in the northern part of the Serbian province of Vojvodina, bordering Hungary.

Yugoslavia    Legal Back to Top

Legal system: based on civil law system Suffrage: 16 years of age, if employed; 18 years of age, universal Executive branch: chief of state: President Vojislav KOSTUNICA (since 7 October 2000) head of government: Prime Minister Dragisa PESIC (since 24 July 2001); Deputy Prime Minister Miroljub LABUS (since 25 January 2001) cabinet: Federal Executive Council elections: president elected by direct popular vote for up to two, four-year terms; election last held 24 September 2000 (next to be held NA 2004); prime minister appointed by the president election results: Vojislav KOSTUNICA elected president; percent of vote - Vojislav KOSTUNICA 55%, Slobodan MILOSEVIC 35% Legislative branch: bicameral Federal Assembly or Savezna Skupstina consists of the Chamber of Republics or Vece Republika (40 seats - 20 Serbian, 20 Montenegrin; members distributed on the basis of party representation in the republican assemblies to serve four-year terms; note - the Assembly passed a new constitutional amendment calling for direct elections for the deputies to the upper chamber) and the Chamber of Citizens or Vece Gradjana (138 seats - 108 Serbian with half elected by constituency majorities and half by proportional representation, 30 Montenegrin with six elected by constituency and 24 proportionally; members serve four-year terms) elections: Chamber of Republics - last held 24 September 2000 (next to be held NA 2004); Chamber of Citizens - last held 24 September 2000 (next to be held NA 2004) election results: Chamber of Republics - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - SNP 19, DOS 10, SPS/JUL 7, SRS 2, SPO 1, SNS 1; note - seats are filled on a proportional basis to reflect the composition of the legislatures of the republics of Montenegro and Serbia; since 1998 Serbia has effectively barred Montenegro from its constitutional right to delegate deputies to the Chamber of Republics; Chamber of Citizens - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - DOS 55, SPS/JUL 46, SNP 28, SRS 4, SNS 2, other 3 Judicial branch: Federal Court or Savezni Sud; Constitutional Court; judges for both courts are elected by the Federal Assembly for nine-year terms

Yugoslavia    Life Back to Top

Despite the massive changes of the socialist era, society in Yugoslavia remained oriented around family and kin. Rights and duties were defined by family relationships much more rigorously than in contemporary Western societies. For example, the 1962 Basic Law on Relations between Parents and Children defined the material support legally due one's parents, children, siblings, grandparents, and other relatives. The law obliged citizens to support needy or incapacitated relatives and specified the order in which aid and assistance should come from both lineal and collateral relatives.

The zadruga, a kin-based corporate group holding property in common, was the traditional basis of rural social organization throughout the Balkans. From the feudal era onward, customary and formal law enshrined the rights and obligations of zadruga members. Throughout rural Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Hercegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, and much of Bosnia, the zadruga persisted as a formally constituted kin group until well after World War II. Its most common form was a group of patrilineally related males, along with their spouses and children. Members of a zadruga generally owned and farmed land in common.

The zadruga survived because membership in a corporate group conferred clear advantages on the individual peasant family. For the Balkan peasantry, the zadruga made it possible to endure wars and foreign rule, exploitation of new lands, conversion from pastoralism to agriculture, and seasonal off-farm employment. Precise configuration of the kin group varied during the past five centuries, in response to regional changes in political, economic, and geographic conditions. The zadruga maintained cultural integrity during centuries of foreign domination, and it protected the peasant against the predations of state and bandit. Religious practices centered on the individual zadruga and not on the parish church. Even among Muslim Slavs, each zadruga had a patron saint; the saint's day celebration, the slava, remained the high point of the calendar for many families late in the twentieth century.

Large multifamily households enjoyed significant advantages, especially in rural areas, well into the twentieth century. A substantial adult labor force permitted family members to specialize and engage in a variety of subsidiary operations to supplement agricultural income. The burden of agricultural labor could be spread at peak seasons, men were freed to engage in politics, and women had time for handicrafts. An extended family's wealth almost always exceeded that of two to three nuclear households of comparable size. The zadruga also provided a refuge for the orphaned, the widowed, the infirm, and the elderly.

The composition of the extended family changed with the increasing life expectancy realized in the twentieth century. The number of generations in a given household rose from two to three or even four, while the number of collateral relatives--brothers, cousins, second cousins--decreased. Patriarchal authority, often overbearing within the traditional zadruga, grew more so as the life expectancy of the parents increased. The wars of the twentieth century and migration away from rural areas after World War II caused a decline in joint ownership of property by extended families.

Under communist rule, the extended family became a cooperative rather than a formally corporate kin group; but family loyalty and a general feeling of responsibility toward kin persisted. Individuals relied on relatives for mutual aid and support in a wide variety of social and economic contexts. Family solidarity eased the shock of urbanization and industrialization throughout the 1960s and 1970s; relatives provided urban housing for students from the countryside and employment advice and assistance for the recent rural migrant. Migrants to the city maintained ties with their kin in the country, periodically helping with agricultural or construction tasks. Among the country's technical and managerial elite, kinship strengthened the relationship between commune and enterprise and reinforced local and familial loyalties.

Nominal kinship in the form of godparenthood, or kumstvo, cut across the familial focus of South Slavic social relations. Kumstvo and marriage were the two institutions by which the zadruga formed ties with other kin groups. Traditionally, the godparent-godchild relationship formed a permanent link, inherited patrilineally, between two zadruge. Although kumstvo observance was less elaborate among Muslim Slavs, they did observe rituals such as the cutting of a child's umbilical cord and the first hair cutting. The relationship implied few specific obligations between the zadruge besides a general expectation of friendship and assistance.

With urbanization, the number of large and extended families declined. From the 1948 through the 1981 census, average family size dropped from 4.37 to 3.67 members. The decline was steepest in the developed regions. In Kosovo, approximately three-quarters of all households had five or more members in the early 1970s, and over a quarter had ten or more members. As late as 1953, about one-third of all Yugoslav households were classified as extended families. The percentage of extended families dropped precipitously by the early 1970s. Smaller domestic groups appeared to be more advantageous in an urban setting; in both developed and less-developed regions, only about one-fourth of all urban households were extended families.

Yugoslavia    organization Back to Top
International organization Member

BIS, CE (guest), FAO (applicant), G- 9, G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM, OPCW, OSCE, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Yugoslavia    People Back to Top

Yugoslavia's resident population was estimated at 23.4 million people in 1987, up from 15.7 million in 1948 and 22.4 million in 1981. In addition, over a million Yugoslavs lived and worked for long periods of time in other European countries. The country's population density grew from 62 persons per square kilometer in 1948 to 92 per square kilometer in 1988.

Between 1961 and 1981, Yugoslavia's annual population growth (.95 percent) was about the same as that of the world's developed countries. The population growth rate in Yugoslavia's economically less-developed regions, however, was significantly higher than that in the developed regions. For example, in 1986 the respective annual growth rates of Kosovo and Macedonia were 2.51 percent and 1.53 percent. By comparison, the respective rates in industrialized Vojvodina and Slovenia were only 0.46 percent and 0.87 percent. The annual growth rate of the country's working-age population was 1.25 percent, indicating that an increasing proportion of that group was found in the less developed regions.

The average age of Yugoslavia's population in 1986 was 33.9 years. Men averaged 32.6 years of age; women, 35.1. The average age of the Yugoslav population increased over the last half century because the birth rate declined and life expectancy increased over that period. Between the 1921 and 1981 censuses, the Yugoslav population as a whole moved from the demographic category of population maturity toward the oldest category, demographic old age. The demographic aging of the population varied in different parts of the country, however, and in 1981 Yugoslavia's republics and provinces fit into different categories of demographic aging. The populations of Vojvodina, Serbia proper, and Croatia were in demographic old age; those in Montenegro and Slovenia were on the threshold of demographic old age; those in Bosnia and Hercegovina and Macedonia had reached demographic maturity; the population of Kosovo, however, was still in demographic youth.

Life expectancy began to increase in 1918, lengthening from about 35 years to 68.4 years for men and 73.8 years for women. After World War II, the mortality rate in Yugoslavia declined precipitously. In 1984 the country had a mortality rate of about 9.3 per thousand, down from 12.8 per thousand in 1948. In Kosovo the mortality rate dropped from 13 per thousand in 1947 to 5.8 in 1984, while in Slovenia it dropped from 13.5 to 10.9 per thousand.

Yugoslavia's infant mortality rate, a key indicator of a population's social, economic, health care, and cultural levels, dropped from 118.6 infant deaths per thousand births in 1950 to 26.2 per thousand in 1987. The share of infant deaths in Yugoslavia's overall death totals dropped from about 25 percent in the early 1950s to only 4.3 percent in 1987. In 1987 Vojvodina (12.3 infant deaths per thousand births), Slovenia (13.0), and Croatia (13.7) reported Yugoslavia's lowest infant mortality rates, while Kosovo (55.2) and Macedonia (45.3) reported the highest. In spite of higher living standards and health care, however, in 1985 Yugoslavia's infant mortality rate ranked only above Albania among European countries.

In Slovenia, Croatia, Vojvodina, and Serbia proper, birth rates declined together with the mortality rate. But in Bosnia and Hercegovina, Macedonia, and Montenegro, a rapid drop in the birth rate came only after 1960, while Kosovo's birth rate dropped only slightly through 1990. By 1980 the population explosion among Kosovo's ethnic Albanians had become Yugoslavia's most pressing demographic problem. Between 1950 and 1983, the population of Kosovo grew by about 220 percent, while the Yugoslav total increased by only 39 percent. Kosovo's high annual birth rate (about 29 births per thousand in 1988, the highest in Europe), and the increased life expectancy of the population spurred this demographic growth. Although Kosovo's birth rate declined somewhat during the 1980s, the absolute number of births increased while the mortality rate declined. By 1980 Kosovo had become the most densely populated part of Yugoslavia (146 persons per square kilometer), although it remained the country's least-developed region.

In the mid-1960s, the government began actively supporting family planning practices to control population growth. In 1969 the Federal Assembly (Skupstina) passed a liberalized abortion law. At the same time, the government passed a resolution on family planning that urged expansion of free programs in family planning and modern contraceptive techniques. The resolution also emphasized the role of the social services and other national institutions in sex education and planned parenthood. After 1969 the obvious failure of family planning in Kosovo produced calls for greater dissemination of birth control information and devices and establishment of family planning counseling services. The winning party in Croatia's 1990 republican elections, however, ran on a platform that called for banning abortion. The party's victory raised the possibility of antiabortion legislation in that republic.

59 percent of the population of the FRY lived in urban areas. The largest cities are Belgrade, the federal capital and the capital of Serbia; Novi Sad, a commercial center; Niš, a transportation and industrial center; Kragujevac, a manufacturing center; and Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. As a result of the wars following the collapse of the former Yugoslavia, about 646,000 refugees fled to Serbia and Montenegro from Croatia and Bosnia. Many settled in Belgrade or Serbia’s northern province of Vojvodina.

Cleavages among southern Slav tribes developed over time, particularly after the establishment in the 4th century AD of the north-south “Theodosian Line” demarcating the eastern and western segments of the Roman Empire. Organization of the Christian church subsequently was based on this division. Missionaries from Rome converted Slavic tribes in the west to Roman Catholicism (these tribal groups becoming progenitors of the Slovenes and Croatians), while missionaries from Constantinople converted ancestors of Serbs and Montenegrins to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Yugoslavia    Politics Back to Top

Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians or SVM [Jozsef KASZA]; Civic Alliance of Serbia or GSS [Vesna PESIC]; Coalition Sandzak [Rasim JAJIC]; Coalition Sumadija [Branislav KOVACEVIC]; Democratic Alternative of DA [Nebojsa COVIC]; Democratic Center or DC [Dragoljub MICUNOVIC]; Democratic Christian Party of Serbia of DHSS [Vladan BATIC]; Democratic League of Kosovo or LDK [Dr. Ibrahim RUGOVA, president]; Democratic Opposition of Serbia or DOS [leader NA]; Democratic Party or DS [Zoran DJINDJIC]; Democratic Party of Serbia or DSS [Vojislav KOSTUNICA]; Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro or DPS [Milo DJUKANOVIC]; Movement for a Democratic Serbia or PDS [Momcilo PERISIC]; New Democracy or ND [Dusan MIHAJLOVIC]; New Serbia [Velimir ILIC and Milan St. PROTIC]; People's Party of Montenegro or NS [Dragan SOC]; Serb People's Party or SNS [leader NA]; Serbian Radical Party or SRS [Vojislav SESELJ]; Serbian Renewal Movement or SPO [Vuk DRASKOVIC, president]; Serbian Socialist Party or SPS (former Communist Party) [Slobodan MILOSEVIC]; Social Democracy or SD [Vuk OBRADOVIC]; Social Democratic Union or SDU [Zarko KORAC]; Socialist People's Party of Montenegro or SNP [Momir BULATOVIC]; Yugoslav United Left or JUL [Ljubisa RISTIC]

Yugoslavia    Provinces Back to Top

2 republics (republike, singular - republika); and 2 nominally autonomous provinces* (autonomn pokrajine, singular - autonomna pokrajina); Kosovo*, Montenegro, Serbia, Vojvodina*

Time and Date in Kiev