Contemporary Southeastern Europe
A Tale of Two Serbias? Census-taking in 2002 and 2011
The challenges implicit in census-taking are especially pronounced in the Western Balkans and, very specifically, in Serbia, considering this country’s multi-ethnic and multi-religious makeup, as reflected in territorial delineations, as well as its political past. Minorities, in particular, have suffered from ongoing discrimination, which is brought to the fore by the politicization of census taking exercises by political elites, as seen in 2002 and 2011. These political elites have leveraged census taking in order to promote their own agendas, often to the detriment of citizens belonging to minority groups. The administrative and monetary influence of the EU in census taking exercises marked a slight shift toward better integrating minorities into these exercises in 2011. The prospect of EU accession will continue to influence Belgrade’s decisions in making further strides towards minority integration.