|38,964 - Slovenian Serbs
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In the 2002 census, 38,964 people of Slovenia declared themselves of Serb ethnicity, which corresponds to 1.98% of the total population, making them the second largest ethnic group in the country, after the Slovenes.
Most of Serbs in Slovenia live in Central Slovenia (42.4% of the Serb population in the country), followed by Upper Carniola (14.6%), and the Savinja region (11.0%). Around 8.1% of Slovenia's Serbs live in the Littoral-Karst region, where they represent 3.4% of the overall population region. Elsewhere, the Serbian community is largely confined to the urban areas of Nova Gorica, Ajdovščina, Maribor and Novo Mesto while in the regions of Mura Valley and Slovenian Carinthia, the number of Serbs is negligible.
Most of the Serbs in Slovenia are first or second generation settlers from other republics of former Yugoslavia, mostly from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia (including Kosovo), but also from Croatia and Montenegro. After World War II, many Serbs employed in the Yugoslav People's Army were stationed in the Socialist Republic of Slovenia with their families. In the period of 1971-1981, many ethnic Serbs migrated from Bosnia and Herzegovina to pursue better careers and economical benefits in Slovenia. Before 1991, many Serbs registered as Yugoslavs, and many still prefer referring to their mother language as Serbo-Croatian rather than Serbian. In the last years, many Serbs from Montenegro started referring to themselves as Montenegrians, while some Serbs from Bosnia and Herzegovina have registered as Bosnians. It also has to be noted that in the last census in 2002, more than 10% of all Slovenian population decided not to answer the question regarding their ethnic affiliation. All these elements make the estimate of the overall number of Serbs in Slovenia difficult.
Most of Serbs in Slovenia are concentrated in larger urban areas, especially in Ljubljana and Jesenice. In the 1981 population census, there were only 5 settlements in Slovenia where Serbs had absolute ethnic majority (50.0% and more) on the territory of 300 km2. The highest concentration of the Serbs in Slovenia was in some suburban areas of Ljubljana. The 1991 population census registered 17,486 Serbs in five Ljubljana municipalities or 37.1% of the total number of Serbs in Slovenia. A higher concentration of Serbs occurred in the settlements and municipalities with developed mining and other industries.
Apart from the immigrant community that makes up the vast majority of Serbs in Slovenia, there are a few villages in the southern region of White Carniola inhabited by descendants of Serbs that fled from the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, beginning in 1528 and permanent by 1593. These immigrant communities formed settlements, in which the descendants of Serbs live to these days: Bojanci, Marindol, Paunoviči, Adlešiči, Žuniči, and others. In Bojanci, the Serbs trace their origin to the families of Vrlinići (Sv. Đurđe), Radojčići (Sv. Nikola) and Kordići (Sv. Lazar). The majority of them have kept the Serbian Orthodox faith and their distinctive culture, although they have been almost completely assimilated to their Slovene-speaking environment. Some of them have converted to the Eastern Catholic faith in the 17th and 18th century.
Most Serbs in Slovenia use Slovene as their language of communication, since only 4,300 people in Slovenia declared that they use the Serbian language at home, while about 15,000 declared they use both languages at home. More than 31,000 people declared their mother language as Serbian (and another 36,000 as Serbo-Croatian).
The table shows the year and number and percentage of Serbs in Slovenia after World War II, according to the official censuses.
Notable Slovenes of Serb descent include:
Serbs who were born or have lived in Slovenia include:
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