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Religion in Northern Macedonia

Population

At the country's most recent census in 2002, Macedonians were the country's largest population group (64 percent), followed by Albanians (24 percent), Turks (4 percent) and Roma (3 percent).

Religions of Northern Macedonia

According to Countryaah data, the population density in the country is 82 residents per km2, and the largest population concentrations are in the northern and western parts of the country.

The share of the urban population was 58 percent, and the most populous cities are Skopje (500 400 residents, 2015) and Kumanovo (73 100).

Language

The official language is the South Slavic Macedonian, which has a short history as a written language/standard language, only since the Second World War. The Macedonian is also recognized according to the Council of Europe's language statute as a regional or minority language in Romania.

The dialects in Northern Macedonia and in neighboring parts of Greece, Albania, Serbia and Bulgaria are considered by the Northern Macedonians themselves dialects of the Macedonian language. Bulgarian dialectologists, on the other hand, usually consider that these dialects belong to the Bulgarian language. Since there is some justification for both positions, this will continue to be a matter of dispute.

Northern Macedonia has large linguistic minorities; the largest minority language is Albanian (about 25 percent of the population). Other minority languages are Turkish, Serbian, Romani and Vlachian/Aramaic. Northern Macedonia has not yet ratified the Council of Europe's language statute, but minority languages still have large rights in municipalities where there is a minority of at least 20 percent.

Religion

The religious image in Northern Macedonia reflects the ethnic composition. A majority (about 67 percent) are Orthodox Christians; the vast minority of Albanians are mainly Muslims and they make up about 30 percent of the population.

The Orthodox Church in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was formerly under the Patriarchate of Belgrade. In 1967, it declared itself an autocephalous (self-governing) church, a decision which, however, did not gain official recognition in the Orthodox world.

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