Demographic history of Bačka
This is demographic history of Bačka. This article contains data from various population censuses conducted in the region of Bačka during the history. Censuses from 1715 to 1910 contain data about population of the entire Bačka, while censuses from 1921 to 2002 contain data about population of the Yugoslav/Serbian part of Bačka.
Before the Hungarian conquest in the 10th century, Bačka was mainly populated by Slavs  and Avars. There is a dispute whether remains of ethnic Avars still lived in the region in the time of Hungarian conquest or they were already assimilated by more numerous Slavs. In the 11-15th centuries, the region had mostly Hungarian population with Slavic ethnic islands. During Hungarian rule, the native Slavic population mostly lost its Slavic language and culture and was assimilated into Hungarians. Since the 14th century, Slavic Serbs started to migrate to this region from Balkans. In the outset of the 16th century, before the Ottoman conquest, the largest part of population of Bačka were Hungarians, and the smaller part of population were Slavs. After the Ottoman conquest, most of the Hungarian and Catholic Slavic population fled from the area, and new Orthodox settlers (Serbs, Vlachs, etc.) as well as many Muslims of various ethnic origins settled in the area. During Ottoman rule, the region was mainly populated by Serbs, who were in an absolute majority  and who mostly lived in villages, while cities were populated by various Muslim and Christian ethnic groups including Serbs, Turks, Roma, Greeks, Cincars, Arabs, Bosniaks, as well as Jews. During the Habsburg rule, in the 17th and 18th century, new wave of Serb settlers came to the area. During the 18th and 19th century, Hungarian, German, and other (Slovak, Rusyn, etc.) settlers were brought to the area, which thus became ethnically mixed, with a population composed mostly of Serbs, Hungarians, and Germans. Hungarian settlers mostly originated from Upper Hungary, especially from those counties that were not under Ottoman rule. There is dispute whether some of these Hungarians were descendants of pre-Ottoman Hungarian population of Bačka. When Austrians conquered Bačka and tried to determine private land ownership in the region, the only Hungarians that were able to prove that their ancestors owned land in Bačka were members of Cobor family, who proved their ownership rights over town of Baja. In early 20th century, Bačka was ethnically mixed with relative Hungarian linguistic plurality. During 20th century (after 1918), many South Slavic colonists from other parts of Yugoslavia (Serbs, Montenegrins, Macedonians, Muslims by nationality, etc.) settled in the area, mainly after 1945 and between 1991-1996.
Entire (historical) Bačka
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (May 2010)|
According to the Austrian census from 1715, there were 58 settlements in Bačka (excluding 18 settlements from military frontier). Largest places in Bačka in this time were Baja (with 237 recorded houses) and Futog (with 137 recorded houses).
This census recorded all inhabitants of Bačka that had to pay taxes to authorities, excluding those that were not obligated to pay taxes (for example people that did not had their own house or people that served as soldiers in the military frontier) as well as those that were hiding from authorities with goal to avoid tax paying.
The 1715 census did not recorded ethnicity or language of the citizens, but analysis of names and surnames of the people from census results provided data about approximate ethnic composition of the area, which was as follows:
- 97.6% people with South Slavic (Serb, Bunjevac, Šokac) names and surnames
- 1.9% (or 530 people) with Hungarian names and surnames
- 0.5% people with German names and surnames
The 1720 census recorded 104,569 citizens in the Bačka region. Unlike census from 1715, this census recorded inhabitants of the military frontier as well (thus, census results also include frontiersmen from the city of Szeged, who were also under jurisdiction of the military frontier).
1720 census also did not recorded ethnicity or language of the citizens, but analysis of names and surnames of the people from census results provided data about approximate ethnic composition of the area, which was as follows:
- 98,000 (94%) people with South Slavic names and surnames, of which:
- 5,019 people with Hungarian names and surnames
- 750 people with German names and surnames
- South Slavs (Serbs, Bunjevci, Šokci) = 170,942 (44%)
- Hungarians = 121,688 (31%)
- Germans = 91,016 (23%)
- Hungarian language = 363,518 (44.75%)
- German language = 190,697 (23.47%)
- Serbian language = 145,063 (17.86%)
- Slovak language = 30,137
- Pannonian Rusyn language = 10,760
- Croatian language = 1,279
- Romanian language = 386
- other languages = 70,545 (including Bunjevac and Šokac)
As for the geographical distribution of the three largest ethnic groups in 1910, Hungarians mainly lived in northern parts of the region, Germans in western, and Serbs in the southern parts. Újvidék (Serbian: Novi Sad), city in the southern part of the region, was the cultural and political centre of the Serb people in the 18th and 19th century. After the end of the First World War, the territory of the county was divided between the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia) and Hungary.
According to the 1921 census, Yugoslav part of Bačka had a population of 735,117, of whom:
- Hungarian language = 260,998 (35.50%)
- Serbian language and Croatian language = 246,598 (33.55%)
- German language = 173,796 (23.64%)
- Slovak language = 30,993 (4.22%)
- Rusyn language = 10,999 (1.50%)
- Slovene language = 4,850 (0.66%)
Of the 105 communes in the Yugoslav Bačka, the Germans were in a majority in 36, the South Slavs in 31, the Magyars in 23, and the Slovaks in 7, while in 8 communes no one language-group predominated. Of the eleven administrative districts into which the Yugoslav Bačka was divided, the German-speaking communes were in a majority in Odžaci and Palanka, the Serb and Croat in Žabalj and Titel and the Magyar in Senta and Topola. In the remaining five districts, the communes of no single language group were in predominance.
According to the 1931 census, Yugoslav part of Bačka had a population of 784,896, of whom: 
- Serbian language and Croatian language = 284,865 (36.29%)
- Hungarian language = 268,711 (34.24%)
- German language = 169,858 (21.64%)
- Slovak language = 34,234 (4.36%)
- Rusyn language = 11,414 (1.45%)
According to Hungarian census from end of 1941, population of Yugoslav part of Bačka numbered 789,705 inhabitants, of whom:
- Hungarian language = 358,531 (45.4%)
- German language = 162,070 (20.52%)
- Serbian language (*) = 151,269 (19.15%)
- Croatian language (*) = 62,303 (7.89%)
- Slovak language = 32,578 (4.12%)
- Rusyn language = 13,829 (1.76%)
(*) Total number of speakers of South Slavic languages (Serbian and Croatian) was 213,572 (27.05%).
According to the 1948 census, Yugoslav Bačka had a population of 807,122, including: 
- Hungarians = 307,343 (38.07%)
- Serbs = 303,664 (37.62%)
- Croats = 88,491 (10.96%)
- Slovaks = 36,041 (4.44%)
- Rusyns = 17,269 (2.18%)
- Germans = 10,638 (1.32%)
According to the 1953 census, Yugoslav part of Bačka had a population of 831,945, including: 
- Serbs = 317,247 (38.12%)
- Hungarians = 311,146 (37.38%)
- Croats = 80,957 (9.73%)
- Slovaks = 36,424 (4.38%)
- Rusyns = 18,162 (2.18%)
According to the 1961 census, Yugoslav part of Bačka had a population of 920,600, including: 
- Serbs = 386,385 (41.08%)
- Hungarians = 320,566 (34.83%)
- Croats = 101,509 (11.03%)
- Slovaks = 37,665 (4.09%)
According to the 1971 census, the population of Yugoslav Bačka numbered 960,001 people, including:
- Serbs = 413,895 (43.11%)
- Hungarians = 311,379 (32.44%)
- Croats = 92,207 (9.60%)
- Slovaks = 36,508 (3.80%)
- Montenegrins = 31,120 (3.24%)
- Yugoslavs = 27,651 (2.88%)
- Rusyns = 16,580 (1.73%)
According to the 1981 census, the population of Yugoslav Bačka numbered 1,012,112 people, including: 
- Serbs = 434,178 (40.9%)
- Hungarians = 287,565 (30.36%)
- Yugoslavs = 91,757 (9.86%)
- Croats = 71,793 (7.09%)
- Slovaks = 34,997 (3.02%)
- Rusyns = 16,020 (1.68%)
According to the 1991 census, the population of Yugoslav Bačka numbered 1,007,179 people, including: 
- Serbs = 463,029 (46.15%)
- Hungarians = 258,724 (26.63%)
- Yugoslavs = 98,052 (10.22%)
- Croats = 65,663 (6.74%)
- Slovaks = 32,092 (3.3%)
- Rusyns = 14,895 (1.11%)
According to the 2002 census in Serbian part of Bačka has been living 1,022,524 people and its population is composed of:
- Serbs = 559,700 (54.74%)
- Hungarians = 221,882 (21.70%)
- others (including Slovaks, Croats, Bunjevci, Rusyns, Montenegrins, Yugoslavs, Romani, Germans, etc.).
According to the 2011 census in Serbian part of Bačka has been living 1,026,315 people and its population is composed of: 
- Serbs = 580,805 (56.59%)
- Hungarians = 193,343 (18.83%)
- Croats = 32,951 (3.21%)
- Slovaks = 25,042 (2.43%)
- Montenegrins = 19,831 (1.93%)
- Romani people = 16,860 (1.64%)
- Bunjevci = 16,324 (1.59%)
- Rusyns = 11,916 (1.16%)
According to Hungarian census of 2001 census in Hungary, in Hungarian Bácska (including districts of Bajai, Bácsalmási, and Jánoshalmai) were living 113,432 people. Note that administrative borders of the districts do not fully correspond with the geographical borders of Hungarian Bácska. Most of the inhabitants of Hungarian Bácska are ethnic Hungarians.
First censuses conducted in Bačka were Ottoman tax records (defters) from 1554, 1570 and 1590. These tax records recorded only those inhabitants of Bačka that paid taxes to the Ottoman authorities, while those inhabitants that did not had to pay taxes (for example those that were in Ottoman service) were not listed in tax records.
During the Habsburg administration, first censuses in Bačka were conducted in 1715 and 1720. These censuses also recorded only those inhabitants that had to pay taxes to the Habsburg authorities, while those inhabitants that did not had to pay taxes (for example those that did not had their own house) were excluded from census. These censuses did not recorded ethnicity or mother tongue of the citizens.
Later Habsburg and Yugoslav censuses recorded language spoken by the citizens, and since 1948, censuses are also recording ethnicity of the people.
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