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Religious belonging and population groups

The Magyars (Hungarians) represent the largest minority in Romania with 1, 431, 807 people. The belong to different religious groups: Reformed (665, 343), Roman Catholic (587, 033), Orthodox (28, 287), Greek-Catholic (19, 645), Baptist (12, 963), Seventh-Day Adventist (9, 055), Pentecostalist (56, 971), Muslim (56), Evangelical Christian (1, 810), Old Rite Christian (129), Presbyterian Lutheran (15, 205), Protestant (1, 252), Augustinian Protestant (1, 354) and Jewish (164). Some belong to other religions (14, 104) or say they have no religion (2, 709), are atheist (612) or did not comment (N.I.S. Census 2002). It can be noted that over half of the Magyars in Romania belong to reformed religions, which are predominant in Transylvania. The Unitarian religion exclusively brings together Christians of Hungarian origin, the majority of which live in the counties of Cluj, Brasov, Covasna, Harghita and Mures. As for neo-Protestant religions, the Magyars seemed to be more partial to the Adventist and Baptist religions and less receptive to the Pentecostal and Evangelical Christian groups.

The Roma (Gypsies) represent, from a numerical point of view, the second largest ethnic minority in Romania, right after the Magyars. In the 2002 census, 535, 140 citizens said they were Roma, the majority of which were Orthodox (438, 162). The other Gypsies were primarily Roman Catholic (20, 310), Reformed (16, 385) and Greek-Catholic (6, 148). This can be explained by the fact that the majority of the group is concentrated in Transylvania, where these religions are predominant, but also by the fact that some Roma have Magyar as their mother tongue. Out of the neo-Protestant religions, Pentecostalism seems to be the most accepted by the Roma (34, 449), while Seventh-Day Adventism (4, 662) and the Baptist faith (4, 749) are least accepted (N.I.S. Census 2002). It seems that the actual number of Roma is much greater than the numbers mentioned here; many Roma prefer to declare themselves as ethnic Romanians for the censuses.

The German community of Romania is confronted with a constant numerical decrease that is on the rise. Its numbers dropped from 119, 462 in 1992 to a mere 59, 764 in 2002 (N.I.S. Censuses 1992 and 2002). This situation is due to emigration. Like the Magyars, the Germans are predominantly Roman Catholic (36, 040), Evangelical Presbyterian Lutheran (6, 358) and Augustinian Protestant (5, 317) (N.I.S. Census 2002).

Lastly, the majority of the Ukrainians in Romania (61, 098) are Orthodox (48, 262) or belong to neo-Protestant religions, Pentecostal (6, 167) being the one that is most represented.
These different population groups (Romanians, Magyar, Roma – Gypsies, Germans, Ukrainians) make up approximately 99% of the total population of Romania.

The other groups have a total of less than 40, 000 people each:
 35, 791: the Lipovan Russians (who live in the North of the Dobroudja and particularly in the Delta of the Danube River) are predominantly Old Rite Christians (25, 675) and they follow the Julian calendar
 32, 098: the majority of Turks are Sunnite Muslims (31, 118)
 22, 561: the Serbs – they are predominantly Orthodox (20, 476) and follow the Julian calendar
 23, 935: the Tatars (inhabitants of the former Republic of Tatars) are Muslim, for the most part Sunnites
 17, 226: the Slovenians are a little more heterogeneous from a religious point of view: 11, 580 Roman Catholics, 3, 040 Evangelical Presbyterians and 679 Orthodox
 8, 025 Bulgarians who are mainly Roman Catholic (6, 194) and Orthodox (1, 482)
 6, 807 Croatians, the majority of which are Roman Catholics (6, 530)
 6, 472 Greeks, predominantly Orthodox (6, 017)
 5, 785 Jews
 3, 941 Czechs who are primarily Roman Catholic (3, 325)
 3, 288 Italians, 2, 506 of which are Roman Catholic
 3, 559 Poles, the majority of which are Roman Catholic (3, 179)
 2, 243 Chinese
 1, 780 Armenians
 1, 266 Csango Hungarians, an ethnic minority from the Bacau region, their language is similar to an archaic Hungarian dialect and they are well integrated into Romanian society
 16, 850 people belong to other ethnic groups.

Source : N.I.S. Census 2002

An analysis of religious belief and national belonging in Central and Eastern Europe (May 2017) is available on the Pew Research Center website (full report available as a pdf document).

D 2 October 2012    ALaurenţiu Tănase AManuela Gheorghe

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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