Demographics of Banja Luka

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Current population[edit]

The population of the municipality of Banja Luka in 1991. was 196,500. Today, the City of Banja Luka has a population of about 227,000 people.[1] Along with the metro area (municipalities of BL, Laktasi and Celinac), Banja Luka has population of about 270,000.[1] Although there is a lack of official statistics on ethnic distribution, there is little doubt that Serbs make up an overwhelming majority in the city.

Banja Luka municipality 2006 - 198,000:


According to the 1991. census, the municipality of Banja Luka had a population of 195,692, including:


According to the 1981. census, the municipality of Banja Luka had a population of 183,618, including:


According to the 1971. census, the municipality of Banja Luka had a population of 158,736, including:

Settlements (over 1,500 residents), 1991. census[edit]

total: 143,079

total: 4,577

total: 3,798

total: 2,679

total: 2,578

total: 2,241

total: 2,009

total: 1,858

total: 1,703

total: 1,685

total: 1,522

total: 1,516

  • 1,493 - 98.48% Croats
  • 8 - 0.52% Serbs
  • 15 - 0.98% others and unknown

Historical population[edit]

Ethnic composition of Banja Luka municipality in 1981.
No clear majority (Serbs, Croats, Muslims, Yugoslavs)
Uninhabited or no data

At the first census, conducted by Austro-Hungarian authorities in 1879, Banja Luka had the following religious (ethnic) composition:

Banja Luka municipality - 86,209 citizens, Orthodox 74.46%, Muslims 14.33%, Catholics 10.52%

Banja Luka city - 13,566 citizens, Muslims 67.71%, 19.8% Orthodox.

As the city was industrialized and wider urbanization of the surrounding areas took place, Orthodox Serbs that typically inhabited surrounding rural areas (due to Ottoman feudal system) were incorporated into the city's urban structure. Bosnian Muslims claim that their drop of percentage in the city's population was partly influenced by the Agrarian Reform of 1918, which ordered major landowners to transfer land to those who tilled it, who in this region were mostly Orthodox Serbs. The Agrarian Reform was introduced as means to dismantle the old Bosnian feudal system. Bosnian Muslims claim that the reform was abused to change the ethnic makeup of the region in the long term. Bosnian Serbs claim that Agrarian Reform was introduced to return the land stolen from the Christian people by the Ottoman Empire. Because the city was in the center of the Bosnian Krajina region, with a predominant Orthodox Serb majority, the Serb population of Banja Luka has steadily increasing.

Banja Luka is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Banja Luka and home to the Cathedral of St. Bonaventure.

During World War II most of Banja Luka's prominent Serbian and Sephardic Jewish families were deported to nearby Croatian concentration camps, such as Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška in Croatia. Today, Banja Luka's Jewish community is virtually non-existent. A spike in Serbian immigration was mostly noted after the earthquake of 1969, when the city has seen a boom in housing construction.

In 1991 the city of Banja Luka was still an ethnically mixed city (with a relative Serb majority), while on the municipal level there was an evident Serb majority of 54.6%.


  1. ^ a b Prostorni plan Republike Srpske do 2015. Banja Luka, April 2008. p. 67 & 69
  • Official results from the book: Ethnic composition of Bosnia-Herzegovina population, by municipalities and settlements, 1991. census, Zavod za statistiku Bosne i Hercegovine - Bilten no.234, Sarajevo 1991.