Árpád Varga E.

Hungarians in Transylvania between 1870 and 1995

Original title: "Erdély magyar népessége 1870-1995 között"
Published in Magyar Kisebbség 3-4, 1998 (New series IV), pp. 331-407.

Translation by Tamás Sályi
Linguistic editing by Rachel Orbell

Published by Teleki László Foundation. Budapest, March 1999

Occasional Papers 12
(Editors Nándor Bárdi, László Diószegi, András Gyertyánfy)

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The aim of this study is to contribute to the elaboration of the demographic history of present-day Transylvania by publishing sources partly or completely unexplored until now. The study therefore provides information about the demographic history of ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania focusing on three major aspects, the first of these aspects being dealt with more comprehensively than the other two. Firstly (after an outline of the official statistics available), changes in the number of ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania over the last one and a quarter centuries are examined with regard to the natural and real increase in the total population. Next, urbanisation, as a major modifier of the ethnic picture, is analysed statistically, with a focus on migrations which follow urbanisation, especially the influx of Romanians from the Transcarpathian region.(These chapters rely on the following studies: Varga E. 1994b; 1994a, 1997.) Since a new approach to the sources has been used, it was considered appropriate to include detailed technical and methodological explanations and several figures. Owing to the limited scope of the present study there is no detailed analysis of the development of the population in terms of location (areas, settlements, density): nor does the study discuss changes in social structure and other demographic features - partly due to the shortage, or absence, of information. These are outlined in the final chapter (an expanded and modified version of an article published in Hitel 3, 1996) and are based on the 1992 census, which reflects recent conditions.

Main demographic sources

In order to examine ethno-demographic tendencies in the territory of present-day Transylvania, major "officially authentic" data sources can be obtained partly from the Hungarian censuses carried out between 1869 and 1910 and in the year 1941 (in the northern part of divided Transylvania), and partly from the Romanian censuses conducted after Romania took over the territory. Before modern censuses, only that taken by the Austrians for military purposes in 1850/51 provides direct, fully authentic information about ethnic relations, since it included questions relating to nationality. However, these detailed figures only refer to historical Transylvania.

The politically cautious 1869 census did not yet include questions about nationality but did take account of religion. If we look at the religious distribution of the population and bear in mind contemporary estimates, we can attempt to give approximate figures for ethnic proportions at the time of the census. From 1880, the Hungarian censuses obtained information about nationality by means of questions concerning native language - that is, the language spoken most readily and most fluently. In addition, these surveys also revealed how many people in different ethnic and religious groups spoke languages other than their mother tongue. The range of languages involved in the process therefore became wider and wider at each new survey. In 1941, Hungarian experts even included a direct nationality criterion in the questionnaire. Summaries of the census results always presented detailed figures regarding the distribution of native languages (or nationalities) and religions even in villages, and the living conditions of the different nationalities were outlined in tables.

In the enlarged Romania, the first nationality survey was carried out during the 1930 census. Previously, in 1919, the temporary Transylvanian Governing Council had organised data collection in the Hungarian territory occupied by the Romanian army. One and a half years later in Transylvania, which by that time had been adjudged to Romania by the Great Powers, the local under-secretary of state for the Ministry of the Interior carried out a census for public administration purposes. Of the 1919 census, which was based on reports made by parish councils, only provisional county data have been preserved. Nevertheless, these data covered population distribution in terms of both nationality and religion. The 1920 census, which also covered nationality, was published in a collection of data on settlements. In these censuses a rather vague, politically motivated criterion, that of "descent according to people", was used to determine nationality. The procedure was often simply based on an analysis of names, or alternatively ethnic status was identified with religion. The same criterion, which was not completely free of racist connotations, was applied by the Romanian Ministry of the Interior in 1927 in its attempt to conduct "a general survey of the population" on a national basis. The statistical office's refusal to co-operate meant that the hastily carried out registration was doomed to failure, and detailed figures were never published.

The census conducted in 1930 met international statistical requirements in every respect. In order to establish nationality, the compilers devised a complex criterion system, unique at the time, which covered citizenship, nationality, native language (i.e. the language spoken in the family) and religion. While no information was requested regarding knowledge of other languages questions were deliberately posed regarding the possession of an "understanding" of Romanian. The publication of the census results was somewhat delayed, but the data were abundant and included figures for ethnic and religious distribution in each village. The two volumes containing details of occupational groups at local (village, town) level according to nationality, as well as an analysis of schooling at local levels, represent an important source of information. The 1941 census, prepared with the same accuracy, included a survey of multilingualism for the first time in the history of Romanian censuses. However, due to the war these results, like many others, remained unprocessed. Only major local data concerning the "ethnic origin" of the population were issued.

The first census in Romania after World War II was conducted in 1948, together with an agricultural survey which was intended to prepare the way for land collectivisation. Some of the demographic results from this census, which was similar to previous censuses in terms of its study criteria, were processed later, but only major preliminary data regarding the size and native-language distribution of the population in counties and towns were published. Afterwards, a census based on a Soviet model was conducted in 1956, followed by others using more modern methods and more substantial study programmes in 1966, 1977, and 1992. Information was requested on nationality and mother tongue on each occasion, and in 1992 even religion was once again included after an absence of forty-five years. Of these data, however, local- (village-) level figures were only published for 1966, and for decades the volumes were unavailable to the public. Thus, until recently, the 1956 ethnic and native-language data, broken down according to medium-sized administrative units and towns, and still relatively detailed, formed the basis of post-war Romanian nationality statistics. It is generally agreed that these statistics provide a more accurate picture of the real conditions than do the data of a decade later. Both the 1956 and the 1966 census reports (comparing the urban and rural population at county level, and, in 1966, at rajon and town level, too) reveal a correlation between nationality and native language. In 1956, data concerning social structure and education among the different nationalities were elaborated at county level according to settlement type. In 1966, the social distribution of different ethnic groups was given only in a national breakdown, whereas education related figures were also published in a county breakdown. The 1966 census was unique in that it contained questions on both place of residence and place of birth, since data were grouped according to date of arrival in the place of residence. A knowledge of the date of change of residence provides a rough idea of how periods of internal migration, which significantly modify the ethnic map, can be differentiated in time. In addition, a comparison of county figures provides an illustration of the territorial distribution of migrations in certain periods.

The real ethnic data of the 1977 census were only revealed one and a half decades later. Until that time, only the extremely distorted county-level figures were available, which were unsuitable for in-depth analysis. The delayed publication of the real figures and the absence of any village breakdown or other details are regrettable, since the ethnic picture provided by the 1977 census in Transylvania is relatively authentic and can be compared most easily to the 1956 data. However, place of birth statistics in the 1977 census, which were obtained at the halfway point of the peak of migration fever, still provide important information about the direction and extent of internal migrations over the previous decade.

The 1992 census was carried out at a time when the turbulence following the collapse of the previous political system - a collapse which had been accompanied by enormous external and internal population movements - had already abated. An analogy with the surveys conducted after the war would seem obvious. The ethnic consequences of this "tabula rasa" are summarised in a special volume which gives details of population distribution according to nationality, native language and religion. In addition, the overlapping of nationality and native language, as well as of nationality and religion, is illustrated numerically in a county breakdown according to settlement type. (Correlations are also included between nationality and native language in a breakdown for towns.) It also provides, although in a national breakdown only, a comprehensive picture of the demographic conditions of the different ethnic groups, a unique occurrence in the history of Romanian ethnic statistics. Although the 1992 village-level ethnic and religious data have not yet been published, they are available to researchers.

In the Hungarian censuses, data for military personnel were not processed at village level before 1900. The retrospective tables given here therefore show the number of civilians present in 1880 and 1890; the number of both civilians and military personnel in 1910; and, in 1900, both the number of civilians and the total population. Given that the military population was relatively small (only 0.6 to 0.7 per cent in the territory in question), this does not greatly affect the comparability of these periods. The Romanian censuses give a figure for the resident population, from which those who have been "temporarily" present, and to which those who have been "temporarily" absent, over an extended period of time, are subtracted and added respectively. This fine adjustment means that the quantitative difference between the resident population and the population actually present is insignificant. In 1956, the total resident population registered was 8,620 persons fewer than the number of inhabitants present (in towns, 11,781); and in 1966, the resident population was 2,184 persons fewer (208 more in towns). A comparison of the 1977 census figures and the population returns published in statistical yearbooks reveals that, as a result of an increase in internal population mobility, in 1977 nearly 130 thousand more inhabitants (in towns, 300 thousand) were registered in Transylvania than had been estimated previously, based on the resident population recorded in 1966. The difference was particularly striking in the so-called "closed" towns, in which settling was subject to the obtaining of a permit. Subsequently, in official statements the criteria were adjusted to the real situation and, in addition to the resident population defined above, the number of inhabitants with a registered permanent address was taken rather than the number of persons present. The population actually present has, in practice, been referred to as the "resident population" in statistical returns since 1977. In 1981, the number of persons actually present was 96,313 higher (in towns, 246,903) than the number of persons with a permanent residence in the same place; and in 1992, the figure was 45,107 persons (in towns, 130,708) higher.

The Hungarian Statistical Office provided demographic data with reference to religion (from 1890 to 1893), and later (in 1897, and from 1900 to 1918) to native language also. (An analysis of mixed marriages was included from the beginning of this century.) The figures were given at local administrative level until 1912 (or until 1915 for natural population changes with respect to native Hungarians), and at regional level between 1913 and 1918. Local-administration-level data on emigration and remigration were published between 1899 and 1915. Emigrants were registered from the beginning of this period, and remigrants from 1905, on the basis of native language, homeland and destination. Every year between 1920 and 1937, with some minor interruptions, the Romanian statistics service published the main results of population changes with respect to denomination according to region and type of settlement. The ethnic data regarding natural population changes are available for the period between 1920 and 1923, and between 1933 and 1942. (From 1934 the data are also available at county level and include monthly figures.) Figures showing the natural growth of the different nationalities were also published between 1931 and 1939 at county level, and in both parts of Transylvania after its division according to the Vienna Award. International migration statistics (emigration, immigration and remigration with respect to nationality, citizenship and country) were first published annually between 1926 and 1942, and this practice was resumed after the 1989 changes (emigration data according to nationality have been recorded since 1975; data with respect to destination from 1980; and remigration figures according to nationality or provenance from 1990). The key figures for population changes with respect to nationality have not been published in Romania for two generations, although some minor information has been leaked occasionally.

Population development in Transylvania
between 1869 and 1995

Population development in present-day Transylvania from 1869 to the present is illustrated in Table 1. (The table contains basic data published in census reports and statistical yearbooks as well as figures relating to different areas and periods which are required for the calculation of population changes.)

Table 1
Population development in Transylvania 1869-1995

  31 Dec. 1869a
  25 Jan. 1948g
  31 Dec. 1880a
  1 Jan. 1956
  31 Dec. 1890a
  21 Feb. 1956
  31 Dec. 1900a
  1 Jan. 1966
  31 Dec. 1900
  15 March 1966
  31 Dec. 1910b
  1 Jan. 1966h
  31 Dec. 1910
  15 March 1966h
  5 Jan. 1977
  Dec. 1920c
  1 July 1977i
  Dec. 1920d
  1 July 1985i
  29 Dec. 1930
  1 July 1989i
  31 Jan., 6 April 1941e
  7 Jan. 1992
  31 Jan., 6 April 1941e,f
  1 July 1992
  25 Jan. 1948
  1 July 1995

Italics: calculated values

a Civilian population.
b Taking an undivided number of inhabitants in border settlements.
c Data for Battyánháza (Óbéb), Cenei/Csene, Soca/Karátsonyiliget, Comloşu Mic/Kiskómlós, Checea/Kőcse, Lăţunaş/Lacunás, Jamu Mare/Nagyzsám, Beba Veche/Óbéb, Pustiniş/Öregfalu, Cherestur/Pusztakeresztúr, Uivar/Újvár, Jombolia/Zsombolya occupied by Serbia, and those of Iam/Jám are missing. Busenje/Káptalanfalva, Jaša Tomić/Módos, Medja/Párdány, belonging to Yugoslavia at present, are included.
d Figure relating to final borders and based on the 1910 settlement data listed above, according to the 1930 administrative situation (without the 1,151 inhabitants of Coşna/Kosna and Cârlibaba Nouă/Radnalajosfalva).
e Data for the Romanian parts of Tiszalonka/Lunca la Tisa/Luh and Técső/Tyacsiv in Máramaros/Maramureş county are not known, so the two parts are included with the 1930 figures.
f According to the 1930 and 1948 administrative situation.
g 1956 administrative situation.
h Present administrative situation.
i Official data based on the 1977 census without illegal emigration.

Magyarország népessége községenként (...) az 1869. évi népszámlálás alapján, táblázat. A magyar korona országaiban az 1881. év elején végrehajtott népszámlálás főbb eredményei (...) 1882: pp. 9-331. A magyar korona országainak helységnévtára 1892: pp. 18-656. Magyar Statisztikai Közlemények 1902: pp. 280-455, 1912: pp. 280-457, 581-629. Popa - Istrate 1921: p. 156. Martinovici - Istrati 1921: pp. 7-52. Recensământul general al României din 29 decemvrie 1930 1938: pp. XXXII-XXXIII. Recensământul general al populaţiei României din 1941 6 aprilie (...) 1944: p. XI. Az 1941. évi népszámlálás (...) 1947: pp. 498-690. Golopenţia - Georgescu 1948: pp. 39-41. Biji - Nichita 1957: p. 11. Recensămîntul populaţiei din 21 februarie 1956. Rezultatele generale 1959: p. 4. Recensămîntul populaţiei şi locuinţelor din 15 martie 1966 1968: Volumes relating to counties in Transylvania. Recensămîntul populaţiei şi locuinţelor din 15 martie 1966 1969: p. 2. Measnicov - Trebici 1978: p. 31. Recensămîntul populaţiei şi locuinţelor din 5 ianuarie 1977 1980: p. 6. Anuarul statistic al Republicii Socialiste România 1986: p. 13. Recensămîntul populaţiei şi locuinţelor din 7 ianuarie 1992 1994: p. 1. Anuarul statistic al României 1990: p. 52, 1993: p. 686, 1995: p. 748.

Because of the geopolitical situation in the region, it is worth studying the comprehensive figures for population growth in conjunction with the figures for the historically connected neighbouring territories (Table 2). In those territories which were taken from Hungary and attached to Romania population growth between 1870 and 1992 can be regarded as average for Europe. Over the last century or more the number of inhabitants in these territories has almost doubled, as has the population of present-day Hungary. During the same period, the number of Romanian citizens living in the Transcarpathian region has more than tripled. Population growth in the three regions was also different before World War I. In the Transcarpathian region, for instance, real population growth was three times higher than in Transylvania. (This was partly due to the demographic crisis in the 1870s, when the population decreased by 5 per cent in present-day Transylvania.) The population of Transylvania increased slightly over the subsequent four decades, and the 1948 figure indicates a stagnation compared with the figures for Hungary and Transcarpathia. The slower growth was caused by wars: population growth in the period including World War I was more modest, and during the Second World War, the decrease was significantly higher than in Hungary or in the Transcarpathian region. In the subsequent three and a half decades, however, there was a significant increase in the Transylvanian population, with the average annual growth rate exceeding the comparable Hungarian rate, and, between 1970 and 1980, even the figure for Transcarpathia This upward trend changed to a negative trend at the end of the 1980s. The Transylvanian population was somewhat smaller in 1992 than at the beginning of the previous decade. Meanwhile, Hungary's population also started to decrease, and the growth rate of the Transcarpathian population was also one-third of the figure of a decade earlier.

Table 2
Population development in Transylvania, Hungary,
and the Transcarpathian region 1870-1992a

Year Population (x thousand persons)b Index (1870 = 100) Average annual growth or decrease (%)c
Hungary Trans-
Hungary Trans-
Hungary Trans-
4,224.4 5,011.3 4,500.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 - - -
4,032.9 5,329.2 4,750.0 95.5 106.3 105.6 -0.42   0.56 0.54
5,260.0 7,612.1 7,507.0 124.5 151.9 166.8 0.88 1.18 1.41
5,548.4 8,685.1 8,732.4 131.3 173.3 194.0 0.27 0.66 0.84
5,912.3 9,316.1 10,202.9 140.0 185.9 226.7 0.63 0.70 1.51
5,761.1 9,204.8 10,111.5 136.4 183.7 224.7 -0.37   -0.15   -0.13  
6,232.3 9,861.0 11,257.1 147.5 196.8 250.2 0.97 1.15 1.33
7,032.6 10,322.1 13,220.0 166.5 206.0 293.8 0.84 0.30 1.12
7,725.0 10,709.5 14,476.4 182.9 213.7 321.7 0.94 0.37 0.91
7,723.3 10,374.8 15,060.3 182.8 207.0 334.7 0.00 -0.32   0.34

Italics: estimated values

a According to present borders. Transylvania and the Transcarpathian region are separated according to administrative borders at the time of the censuses.
b Population as of the date of the censuses which were usually carried out at about the same time. Exceptions are 1970 and 1980 for Transylvania and the Transcarpathian region where mid-year figures are given, and 1956 for Hungary, where the value calculated refers to conditions at the beginning of the year. The initial figures for Transylvania and also for present-day Hungary are from the beginning of the year in which the censuses were carried out. The same figure for the old Romanian kingdom was calculated at the end of the year.
c Growth or decrease since the previous date. Figures are taken from the middle of the period.

The population development outlined above can be shown in greater detail in a breakdown reflecting the sources of real population growth (that is, natural growth and migration). These factors are given in Table 3 for Transylvania and in Table 4 for Transcarpathia, a region which has also had strong demographic links with Transylvania.

Table 3
Real and natural population growth and the difference between the two values in Transylvania
between 1869 and 1995

Period Real Naturala Difference between real and natural growth Real Natural Difference between real and natural growth
growth or decrease(-) growth or decrease(-)
Number of persons Annual average per thousand
-191,585 -55,280d -136,305 -4.2   -1.2 -3.0  
396,713 432,479d   -35,766 9.4 10.2   -0.8  
411,158 403,026d     8,132 8.9 8.7 0.2
387,723f 477,437 -89,714 7.6 9.4 -1.8  
-125,090g   140,800h -265,890h   -2.4   2.7 -5.1  
414,700 482,508 -67,800 7.7 9.0 -1.3
362,611 386,865   -24,254 6.3 6.7 -0.4
-149,847   125,000k   -274,900l   -3.7   3.1 -6.7  
471,050n ... ... 10.0   ... ...
508,300o 481,487   26,800 7.8 7.4 0.4
  788,773r 715,423   73,350 10.1   9.2 0.9
  415,612t 374,422   41,190t 6.3 5.7 0.6
  117,792t 140,782   -22,990t 3.7 4.4 -0.7  
-310,320   41,030 -351,350 -15.7     2.1 -17.8    
  -76,387 -34,355   -42,032 -2.8   -1.3   -1.5  

Italics: calculated values

a Calendar years.
b Civilian population.
c Real decrease allowing for probable lack of data in the 1880 census: approx. 162 thousand. Natural decrease without unregistered victims of the cholera epidemic: approx. 90-100 thousand. Accordingly, migration loss: approx. 60-70 thousand.
d In the case of counties divided by the border: calculated values.
e Allowing for probable lack of data in the 1880 census, real growth: approx. 367 thousand. Accordingly, migration loss: approx. 65 thousand.
f Real growth was calculated using the undivided population in settlements divided by the border.
g Real growth was calculated by taking the 1920 population between confirmed borders.
h Without war victims. If war victims are included, real growth changes to a decrease of 29.7 thousand persons, and migration loss amounts to 95.4 thousand.
i Within the 1930 administrative borders.
j Between censuses.
k Estimated value in North Transylvania (in related areas in Ugocsa/Ugocea and Máramaros/Maramureş counties and, in 1944, in the whole of North Transylvania).
l Difference between immigration and emigration + war loss.
m According to 1956 administrative borders.
n Between 25 January 1948 and 1 January 1956.
o Between 1 January 1956 and 1 January 1966.
p According to present administrative borders.
r Between 1 January 1966 and 5 January 1977.
s Based on the population between two censuses with mid-year figures and taking half of the natural growth in the year in question.
t Using officially calculated data based on the 1977 census, without illegal emigration.

Magyar Statisztikai Közlemények 1893b: pp. 70-73*. Magyar statisztikai évkönyv 1874-1875, 1877-1880, 1893-1916/1918. A népmozgalom főbb adatai községenként 1828-1900 1980: pp. 28-35, 44-51, 90-99, 110-119, 1984: pp. 30-51, 78-99. Magyar Statisztikai Közlemények 1913: pp. 280-459. A népmozgalom főbb eredményei 1911-1920. Manuilă 1938: p. 796, 1929: pp. VIII, XI, XV. Anuarul statistic al României 1928-1939/1940. Magyar statisztikai évkönyv 1941-1942. Statisztikai negyedévi közlemények 1942-1944: 1-2. Thirring 1943: p. 358. A népmozgalom főbb adatai községenként 1901-1968 1969: pp. 62-67, 124-129, 184-199, 314-319, 376-381, 436-451. Buletinul demografic al României May 1940-January/February 1948. Comunicări statistice 1947: p. 5-6. Anuarul demografic al Republicii Socialiste România 1967: pp. 22, 82, 1974: pp. 144, 238. Anuarul statistic al Republicii Socialiste România 1975-1986. România. Date demografice 1994: pp. 124, 188. Anuarul statistic al României 1990-1996.

Table 4
Real and natural population growth and the difference between the two values in the Transcarpathian region
between 1930 and 1995

Period Real Naturala Difference between real and natural growth Real Natural Difference between real and natural growth
growth or decrease(-) growth or decrease(-)
Number of persons Annual average per thousand
1,471784 1,312,912 158,872 15.1 13.5   1.6
    -92,653 258,350 -351,000c   -1.3   3.7 -5.0
1,109,300e   ... ... 13.1 ... ...
1,117,000f   1,283,490 -166,500   9.5 10.9 -1.4
1,692,807h 1,835,255 -142,448 11.6 12.6 -1.0
  749,314j   943,151 -193,837j   6.1   7.7 -1.6
  308,936j   366,553   -57,617j   5.1   6.1 -1.0
  -31,209   111,264   -142,473   -0.8   2.9   -3.8
  -52,697   -19,317   -33,380   -1.0   -0.4   -0.6
Italics: calculated values

a Calendar years.
b Between censuses.
c Difference between immigration and emigration +war loss.
d According to 1956 administrative units.
e Between 25 January 1948 and 1 January 1956.
f Between 1 January 1956 and 1 January 1966.
g According to present administrative borders.
h Between 1 January 1966 and 5 January 1977.
i Based on the population between two censuses with mid-year figures and taking half of the natural growth in the year in question.
j Using officially calculated data based on the 1977 census, without illegal emigration.

Between 1931-1940: Anuarul demografic al Republicii Socialiste România 1974: pp. 142, 236. From 1941 on the same as in Table 3.

The first column of Tables 3 and 4 gives real population growth or decrease in different periods within changing administrative borders. The second column gives the values for natural growth and decrease as a result of the difference between the number of live births and deaths. If we substitute the missing data with an estimated value reflecting between 26 and 28 per cent of the national natural growth rate in Transylvania, we find that natural growth in Transylvania between 1948 and 1955 may have coincided with real population growth. The third column gives the difference between real and natural growth in different periods. This figure provides information regarding fluctuations resulting from internal and external migration, and, from 1911 to 1920 and from 1941 to 1947, includes both military and civilian losses (since demographic figures did not include victims of war). A certain distortion of the migration figures in the 1970s and 1980s, due to shortcomings in data processing, should be taken into consideration (THIRRING 1963, p. 229; KATUS 1980, p. 271). Thus the real migration difference during these periods is smaller than that indicated in the table.

The data illustrate that, until recently, natural population growth was a determining factor in Transylvania's real population growth, apart from the period affected by the epidemic in the early 1870s and some war years. The different factors causing natural population changes in both regions are shown in Tables 5 and 6.

Table 5
Live births, deaths and natural population growth in Transylvania from 1866 to 1995

Period Live births Deaths Natural growth or decrease Live births Deaths Natural growth or decrease
Number of persons Annual average per thousand
37.6 29.9 7.7
38.1 39.3 -1.2  
42.0 31.8 10.2  
38.5 29.8 8.7  
35.5 26.1 9.4  
34.9 24.8 10.1  
16.5 23.7 -7.2  
30.1 22.4 7.7
30.4 21.4 9.0
25.2 18.4 6.8
20.3 17.2 3.1
21.0 17.9 3.1
17.5 10.1 7.4
19.4 10.2 9.1
16.3 10.7 5.6
15.5 11.0 4.5
13.4 11.0 2.4
10.7 12.1 -1.4  

Italics: calculated values

a Based on calculated values in counties divided by the border.
b Omitting data referring to the Banat military border territory.
c Based on values calculated in the parts of Ugocsa/Ugocea and Máramaros/Maramureş belonging to Transylvania.

Sources: as for Table 3.

Table 6
Live births, deaths and natural population growth in the Transcarpathian region from 1871 to 1995

Period Live births Deaths Natural growth or decrease Live births Deaths Natural growth or decrease
Number of persons Annual average per thousand
35.6 31.3   4.3
42.4 28.3 14.1
41.1 29.,2 12.0
40.2 26.0 14.2
42.3 24.6 17.7
39.5 22.3 17.2
32.8 19.4 13.4
23.6 19.9   3.7
19.5   8.6 10.9
21.5   8.9 12.6
17.5   9.9   7.6
17.1 10.8   6.3
14.0 10.6   3.4
11.0 11.5 -0.5

Italics: calculated values

a Estimated value.
b In the territory of the Old Kingdom (Oltenia, Muntenia, Moldavia and Dobrudia between 1921 and 1930).

Between 1871 and 1900: Gheţău 1997a: p. 29.
Between 1901 and 1930: Anuarul statistic al României 1922-1933. From 1931: as in Tables 3 and 4.

During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Hungary entered the second phase of the so-called calculated demographic transition. This model implies that in the first phase, where traditional demographic conditions prevail, high birth and death rates result in a relatively low rate of natural growth of between 5 and 10 per thousand. The mortality rate then decreases while the birth rate remains unchanged or decreases slightly, so the population growth rises to between 10 and 15 per thousand. In the third phase, the birth rate decreases continually and therefore, with an unchanged mortality rate, population growth also decreases. In Hungary the demographic acceleration developed later than in Western Europe. Another difference was that, almost parallel with the decrease in the mortality rate, the birth rate also decreased. This near coincidence meant that there was scarcely any second-phase provisional population increase. The second phase was also delayed due to the devastating cholera epidemic in the 1870s and a famine which decimated the population at the same time, both of which struck the east of Hungary as it was then, particularly Transylvania. Natural population changes in present-day Transylvania as it entered the second phase of the demographic transition (in the last two decades of the nineteenth century) show that the fall in the birth rate, which was somewhat more marked than the similar national (Hungarian) figure, was larger than the fall in the mortality rate. This trend changed for the better only in the decade preceding World War I, and then again for a short time in the early 1920s, the latter reflecting normal post-war population changes. The low number of births during World War I had a significant negative impact on demographic changes. This appeared not only as a direct loss (in Transylvania between 350 and 400 thousand fewer children were born than would normally have been expected), but also as a later deficit resulting from the lower number of potential parents. By the time those generations affected by the war-related birth deficit reached child-bearing age between 1931 and 1940, the live birth rate had decreased considerably, which, accompanied by the new war-related birth deficit (although much smaller than the earlier one), contributed to a fall in the number of babies born between 1956 and 1965. (Previously, between 1948 and 1955, taking the natural population growth estimated above and calculating a somewhat lower mortality rate in Transylvania than the national average, the live birth rate must have been higher by 3 to 4 per thousand, that is, over 20 per thousand.) At the same time the mortality rate gradually decreased, stagnating at around 10 per thousand before slowly increasing again. Altogether, natural population development in present-day Transylvania has been marked by a high degree of instability in terms of birth rate, influenced by several factors. Accordingly, the relatively progressive values of between 9 and 10 per thousand for the population growth rate at the beginning of the century were only reached after the wars and, following radical measures introduced by the state to increase birth rates, at the turn of the 1960s. Apart from the negative records reached during the war years, natural population growth reached its lowest levels in the 1930s and 1980s, and in recent years the national trend has become a fall in the population level resulting from a falling live birth rate and a rising mortality rate. The demographic transition described above occurred in the Transcarpathian region after a delay of three decades. Live birth rates were higher and mortality rates were usually lower here than in Transylvania. During the demographic depression in the 1930s, for example, the average natural population growth in the Transcarpathian region was twice as high as in Transylvania, and even after 1948 it was, for three decades, between 3 and 3.5 per thousand higher than the respective Transylvanian figure. The negative balance of migration after 1956 (resulting in a positive balance in Transylvania), indicates that after World War II significant numbers out of the high population in the Transcarpathian region had moved westwards through the Carpathians to establish new homes.

Population development with respect to nationalities and the number of Hungarians
between 1869 and 1992

The demographic metamorphosis in Transylvania is closely connected with changes in the number of its major components, that is, the various nationalities. An outline of this metamorphosis is given below, focusing on the population development among Hungarians and Romanians in different periods. Changes in relations between nationalities and religions can be seen in Tables 7 and 8.

Table 7
The number of different ethnic groups according to native language
and nationality in Transylvania between 1869 and 1992*

Index number (starting population = 100)

Year Total Hungar. Roman. German Jewish, Yiddish Other Gypsy Ukrain. Serbian Croat. Slovak.
  1869a 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0b ... 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0c 100.0
    1880a,d 95.3 9.2 92.0 100.0b ... 105.6 107.3 86.3 115.0e ... 115.8
  1890a 104.7 113.9 99.3 109.8b ... 111.3 116.4f 89.0 102.0 81.4c 124.6
 1900a 114.3 134.9 107.1 114.3b ... 94.2 54.5 107.8 100.5 38.1 131.1
1900 115.2 136.2 107.6 115.5b ... 95.3 54.5 109.0 102.4 38.8 132.2
1910 124.2 157.2 113.3 112.0b ... 115.5 110.5 137.0 110.2 23.4 137.3
1919 123.7 131.0 119.8 102.4 100.0 98.2 ... ... ... ... ...
1920 121.3 124.1 117.5 109.2 105.9 89.6 ... ... ... ... ...
1930 131.1 140.3 129.5 107.4 65.0 103.3 79.4 144.6 89.3g ... 174.4h
1930 131.1 128.2 128.5 108.0 104.3 150.1 198.5 179.5 91.5g ... 201.5h
1941 139.7 164.9 132.4 106.3 48.3 139.6 ... ... ... ... ...
1948 136.2 140.4 150.5 65.8 17.5 93.2 ... ... ... ... ...
1956 147.7 153.5 163.9 74.2 5.7 86.6 69.4 175.6 92.1i ... 83.6
1956 147.7 148.1 162.8 73.3 25.6 119.5 142.5 191.1 95.6i ... 102.2
1966 159.6 154.5 184.0 74.5 0.7 86.0 58.3 219.4 87.1i ... 86.5
1966 159.6 151.8 183.6 74.1 7.9 102.1 89.4 223.6 91.8i ... 96.6
1977 178.1 160.7 209.6 69.3 4.6 143.8 223.7 259.2 70.3i 90.6c 93.5
1992 183.4 153.9 234.2 18.2 0.2 113.2 154.0 290.1 69.3e ... 80.5
1992 183.4 152.4 228.9 21.7 1.6 186.4 368.5 305.3 59.4 49.1 86.0

*Within present administrative borders

Bold type: native language
Normal type: nationality
Italics: calculated values

a Civilian population.
b Including Yiddish native speakers.
c Croatians, Crassovanians.
d Those unable to speak are divided proportionally among the nationalities.
e Serbians, Croatians, Crassovanians.
f According to the 1893 census of Gypsies the figure is 273.3.
g Serbians, Croatians, Slovenians.
h Czechs, Slovakians.
i Serbians, Croatians, Slovenians, Crassovanians.

Table 8
The number of different denominations in Transylvania between 1869 and 1992*
Index number (Starting population = 100)

Year Total Orthodox Greek Catholic Roman Catholic Calvinist Lutheran Unitarian Jewish Other
  1869a 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
  1880a   95.3   92.7   93.5   99.8   96.4   95.8 102.6 116.5 82.6
  1890a 104.7   98.5 104.1 113.0 108.2 101.2 110.6 143.3   66.5
  1900a 114.3 104.9 113.6 126.9 120.8 107.7 119.4 173.7   47.2
1900 115.2 105.4 114.1 128.3 122.0 108.8 120.3 174.9   48.3
1910 124.2 111.7 124.2 138.8 134.2 113.4 127.2 200.9   94.7
1919 123.7 112.9 128.1 128.3 133.3 115.2 124.8 189.1 258.6
1930 131.1 119.5 138.1 132.6 134.6 118.7 126.6 212.9 1033.7  
1992 183.4   333.3b   20.8b 120.5 154.0 24.4 140.7     3.1 7480.0  

*Within present administrative borders

a Civilian population.
b Combined figure for Orthodox and Greek Catholics: 213.8.

According to the estimation made by Elek Fényes, the renowned Hungarian descriptive statistician (FÉNYES 1839-1840; 1842, p. 52b), it can be stated that in the 1830s and 40s a total of 62.3 per cent of the population of present-day Transylvania were Romanian, and only 23.3 per cent were native Hungarian speakers. At the time of the 1869 census it is estimated that the proportion of Hungarians and Romanians was 24.9 per cent and 59 per cent respectively (VARGA E. 1997, p. 61). (Of the 3.3 per cent decrease in the proportion of Romanians, 1 per cent occurred among native Gypsy speakers who were regarded as Romanians by Fényes.) The change in ethnic proportions was most striking in the Tisza/Tisa-Maros/Mureş region, where the ratio of Romanians decreased by nearly 12 per cent in four decades, while the ratio of Hungarians and Germans increased by almost the same percentage due to resettlement in Banat.

As shown in Table 7, changes in the proportion of Romanians were greatly influenced by the demographic catastrophe of the 1870s. The number of Romanians fell by 200 thousand between 1869 and 1880, and two-thirds of this decrease was caused by the demographic crisis of the decade (the remaining third being due to migration and assimilation). Thus, in one decade the proportion of Romanians fell by a further 2 per cent, almost as much as during the previous three to three and a half decades (excluding the decrease caused by the separation of the Gypsies). During the same period the proportion of Hungarians within the total population increased by 1 per cent, despite a slight fall in their actual number, to reach 25.9 per cent.

According to official native-language statistics between 1880 and 1910 the proportion of Hungarian native speakers continued to increase the most rapidly, in Transylvania as in all other parts of the country. The growth rate here was not only twice as high as that of the population as a whole, but it was also 3.7 per cent higher than the national average for their rate of increase (calculated without Croatia-Slavonia). As a consequence, the proportion of Hungarians increased from the 25.9 per cent of 1880, to 31.6 per cent by 1910, while the proportion of Romanians decreased from 57 to 53.8 per cent.

The significant changes in the ethnic spectrum in Hungary at the turn of the century can be explained by three factors: 1. The natural population growth of Hungarians was higher than that of non-Hungarian nationalities; 2. The proportion of Hungarians emigrating was lower than the proportion of non-Hungarians; and 3. Some non-Hungarians and most immigrants were assimilated to the Hungarians (KATUS 1982, p. 18). These statements are true with respect to the territory of present-day Transylvania. There was yet another phenomenon which contributed to the fact that the proportion of Hungarians in Transylvania increased more rapidly than the national average: a positive balance of internal nationality exchange in certain administrative units. The factors outlined above are illustrated with demographic data from the last decade before World War I, which is more or less relevant to the present territory as well.

As Table 9 shows, between 1901 and 1910 the number of Hungarian native speakers increased far more rapidly than the total population (a higher figure was only recorded in contemporary statistics for Ruthenians and Slovakians, both very small in number). Half of the total natural growth occurred among Romanians and 36.3 per cent among Hungarians. The high natural increase with respect to Hungarians was partly due to their relatively lower mortality rate, and partly due to the slightly higher than average birth rate, although this was still proportionally lower than the Romanian birth rate. The mortality rate among Romanians was highest of all the nationalities (apart from a few fragments of ethnic groups not specified here). It is for this reason that the number of Romanians increased considerably more slowly than the number of Hungarians, despite the fact that the Romanian birth rate was higher at the time.

Table 9
Live birth rates, deaths and natural population growth in Transylvania according to native languages
between 1901 and 1910

Native language Live births Deaths Natural growth or decrease Live births Deaths Natural growth or decrease
Number of persons Annual average per thousand
35.5 26.1 9.4
36.1 24.9 11.2
36.6 27.9   8.7
30.9 21.9   9.0
28.8 21.5  7.3

Italics: calculated values

Magyar Statisztikai Közlemények 1905: pp. 178-183, 340-345, 1907b: pp. 184-193, 346-355, 1910: pp. 184-193, 346-355, 1916a: pp. 244-249, 460-465. A népmozgalom főbb eredményei 1901-1910.

A comparison of the data for natural and real population growth highlights further phenomena affecting the unequal proportions in terms of population increase among the different nationalities. The difference between the two numbers indicates the balance between external and internal migration in the territory at the time as well as the negative or positive effects of assimilation for the nationalities in question.

Table 10
Real and natural population growth and the difference between the two values in Transylvania
between 1901 and 1910

Native language Real Natural Difference between real and natural growth Real Natural Difference between real and natural growth
growth or decrease growth or decrease
Number of persons Annual average per thousand
  7.6 9.4 -1.8
14.5 11.2     3.3
  5.3 8.7 -3.4
-3.0 9.0 -12.0  
19.1 7.3 11.8

Italics: calculated values

As shown in Table 10, only real growth among Hungarians and other native speakers is higher than their natural growth. (The positive balance among other native speakers indicates the increase in the Gypsy population on the territory of historical Transylvania compared with the 1900 figures. The increase is due to the appearance of nomadic Gypsies, and to different self-identification among Gypsies in 1910 at the expense of other nationalities, mainly Romanians.) The negative Romanian and German balance is the result of massive emigration. Statistics suggest that in the period examined above emigration among the Romanian population was in proportion to their numerical ratio; while the Hungarians were under-represented, and the Germans over-represented, in terms of emigration in the present-day territory of Transylvania. The emigration deficit with respect to Romanians in the period, taking unregistered immigration into account, was 80 thousand (KOVÁCS 1912, p. 798) or, allowing for some hidden population changes (e.g. Gypsies becoming statistically independent), somewhat less, but below 60 thousand (VARGA E. 1977, p. 77).

In terms of Hungarian native speakers, between 1880 and 1910 the population gain above their natural growth in the region was between 180 and 200 thousand, while Romanian losses were between 130 and 150 thousand, depending on whether we take the birth rate figures of the last decade as retrospectively relevant, or calculate with the more balanced earlier figures for nationality growth. The Romanian losses were mostly due to emigration, which increased dramatically in the 1980s, especially in southern counties of historical Transylvania and became a mass movement at the beginning of the twentieth century. Hungarian population gains, on the other hand, included a migration surplus. However, the exact value of this cannot be determined, since we are unable to give a balance of internal population exchanges between administrative units with respect to the present borders. Nevertheless, the attraction of certain central points giving rise to migration among regions is well known. In Krassó-Szörény/Caraş-Severin and Hunyad/Hunedoara counties, where natural population growth was originally low, mining areas and rapidly developing industrial centres attracted Hungarians from a distance. Thus, in three decades their number multiplied between 4.7 and 4.2 times. The proportion of Hungarians therefore increased from 1.9 per cent to 7.2 per cent, and from 5.1 to 15.5 per cent for the two areas respectively. A massive increase can be seen in certain areas of Temes/Timiş and Torontál counties (the number of Hungarians increased 2.5 times, their proportion growing from 8 per cent to 16.6 per cent). In Arad county, where the increase in proportions was average, the number of Hungarians also grew rapidly (the figure in 1910 is 1.8 times higher than in 1880, with their proportion rising from 22.3 per cent to 29 per cent). Similar data are available in Kolozs/Cluj county (1.7 times higher with the proportion increasing from 33.2 to 38.9 per cent); in Szatmár/Satu Mare and Ugocsa/Ugocea (where the proportion increased from 44.4 to 55.1 per cent); and in the Bihar (Bihor) area, where the proportion of Hungarians rose from 39.8 to 44.4 per cent in spite of the high birth rate among local Romanians. The rise in the number of Hungarian native speakers in Máramaros/Maramureş also deserves attention: the number of Hungarian native speakers here increased 2.1 times over thirty years, and the proportion grew by 5 per cent to reach 19.4 per cent in 1910. At the same time, the serious local economic and social crisis in Szeklerland is well demonstrated by the fact that here, in the smaller language area of the eastern periphery of the country, in Csík, Háromszék and Udvarhely counties, the population increase among Hungarians fell far behind even the Transylvanian average because of losses resulting from migration.

The population growth and the changes in ethnic proportions outlined above were also influenced by the fact that assimilation enlarged the Hungarian population. The main areas in which this process occurred were the rapidly developing towns, with those assimilated being individuals who had become estranged from their original, homogenous ethnic blocks, and who had drifted far away from their place of birth and were rising into the middle class. Hungarian expansion due to assimilation is illustrated by the process during which the denominations became more Hungarian.

Table 11
The number of Hungarian native speakers per denomination between 1880 and 1910

Period Total Orthodox Greek catholic Roman catholic Calvinist Lutheran. Unitarian Jewish Other

(x 1,000 persons)
1880a 1,009.4 11.2 31.6 366.8 468.2 23.6 52.4 54.4 1.2
  1880a,b 1,046.1 11.6 32.7 380.6 485.0 24.5 54.3 56.2 1.2
1890a 1,201.2 13.0 42.3 434.6 547.2 26.0 58.8 77.5 1.8
1900   1,438.5 20.9 63.3 530.9 622.6 30.7 64.5 104.3   1.3
1910c 1,663.2 25.2 82.3 632.2 685.8 35.8 68.0 132.0   1.9

Index number (Starting population = 100)
  1880a,b 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
1890a 114.8 111.4 129.5 114.2 112.8 106.1 108.2 137.9 145.9
1900   137.5 179.7 193.7 139.5 128.4 125.3 118.6 185.8 101.6
1910c 159.0 217.4 251.9 166.1 141.4 146.0 125.1 235.0 154.5

a Civilian population.
b Those unable to speak are divided proportionally among the nationalities.
c Value calculated with regard to the undivided population in settlements divided by the border.

A magyar korona országaiban az 1881. év elején végrehajtott népszámlálás főbb eredményei, némely hasznos házi állatok (...) 1882: pp. 508-623. Magyar Statisztikai Közlemények 1893a: pp. 256-307, 1907a: pp. 354-387, 1916b: pp. 248-281.

The growth index in Table 11 vividly illustrates that the number of Hungarian native speakers belonging to "non-Hungarian" churches increased much more rapidly than the number of Hungarian native speakers in general, whereas the population growth among those who belonged to typically Hungarian churches (Calvinists, Unitarians) was below the average. Among Hungarian native speakers the highest increase was among Greek Catholics, followed by Hungarian Jews and members of the Orthodox Church. According to data for specific local areas, the Hungarian language gained ground in the Câmpia Ierului/Érmellék area, in Szatmár/Satu Mare and Ugocsa/Ugocea counties; to a smaller extent in Szeklerland among Greek Catholics; in Bihar/Bihor among Orthodox believers; around Nagykároly/Großkarol/Carei and Szatmárnémeti/Sathmar/Satu Mare; in Banat among Roman Catholic Germans; and among the Jewish population in general. The expansion of the Hungarian language did not make any real changes to the language borders, except in the Szatmár/Sathmar/Satu Mare - Ugocsa/Ugocea area, where the 1910 census revealed that the outlines of the Hungarian language area were more clearly defined, as Greek Catholic Romanians and Ruthenians and Roman Catholic Germans had exchanged their native languages for Hungarian. The adoption of Hungarian was most intensive among the Yiddish speaking Jews who arrived in a steady stream from Galitia and Bukovina from the middle of the century and among whom the growth rate was very high. The number of Hungarian native speakers belonging to the Jewish community in Transylvania increased two and a half times by 76 thousand persons between 1880 and 1910. Among native Hungarian speakers, during the three decades about 40 per cent of the population gain above the natural increase (80 thousand persons) was a result of assimilation. Two-fifths of those assimilated were originally Orthodox and Greek Catholics, another two-fifths were Jewish, and the rest were made up of Germans in Szatmár/Sathmar/Satu Mare and Banat, as well as some smaller nationalities.

The ethno-demographic tendencies around the time of the 1910 census were dramatically reversed after World War I as a consequence of the change in political supremacy. Intensive emigration up to the beginning of the war and war losses (see MIKE 1927, p. 627; WINKLER 1919, pp. 31-34) virtually counterbalanced the demographic gain among Hungarians in the second decade of the century. At the end of 1918, as the Romanian occupation resulted in a flow of refugees, the number of Hungarians in Transylvania started to fall. Up to December 1920, a total of 154.3 thousand persons arrived in Hungary from the occupied territory (THIRRING 1938, p. 390). At the time of the Romanian census in 1920, the number of those remaining who had been registered as Hungarian native speakers in the 1910 census could not have been much higher than 1.5 million. However, the census recorded 200 thousand fewer ethnic Hungarians than could be expected. The deficit was found mainly in border counties and major centres of migration, but the census modified the ethnic proportions in all those areas in which high numbers of Hungarian native speakers belonging to "other religions" were living. In order to achieve politically motivated "statistical justice", the organisers took back the whole of the assimilation gain in the number of those speaking Hungarian that had been recorded earlier by the Hungarian censuses, something which had undoubtedly reflected their delayed ambitions to create the nation state. The first official Romanian census reproduced the conditions of the decades prior to the 1910 census, while being forward looking at the same time. This is proved by the fact that the basic nationality proportions registered then did not change essentially in the subsequent decade.

According to official statistics, in the first four years of the new regime 25.1 per cent of the total natural population growth occurred among Hungarians, and 57.2 per cent among Romanians (Table 12). A significant fall in the mortality rate and a rise in the birth rate after the war meant that the total population increased at the same rate as between 1911 and 1914 (although the live birth rate did not reach the level of ten years earlier). However, the decreasing natural growth rate, and especially the birth rate among Hungarians (compared with earlier periods and other nationalities) predict an unfavourable demographic change in this respect.

Table 12
Live births, deaths and the natural population growth in major ethnic groups in Transylvania
between 1920 and 1923

Nationality Live births Deaths Natural growth Live births Deaths Natural growth
Number of persons Annual average per thousand*
32.6 22.4 10.2
30.1 20.2   9.9
34.9 24.7 10.2
30.0 20.0 10.0
26.5 14.3 12.2
26.8 16.7 10.1

*Mid-period population based on the nationality results of the census conducted in December 1920 with natural population growth added to and deducted from the census respectively, according to missing refugees (the 1920 natural growth is divided proportionally among nationalities).

Istrate 1925: p. 115.

Population development according to ethnic groups between 1921 and 1930 can only be given indirectly, by means of the demographic data with respect to denominations.

Table 13
Live births, deaths and natural population growth in Transylvania according to denominations
between 1921 and 1930

Denominat. Live births Deaths Natural growth Live births Deaths Natural growth
1921-1928 1921-1928 1921-1928 1921-1930 1921-28 1921-30 1921-28 1921-30
Number of persons Annual average per housand
31.1 22.0   9.1     9.1*
30.0 23.2   6.8   7.0
  Greek Cath.
36.7 23.7 13.0 13.2
  Roman Cath.
29.0 21.2   7.8   7.6
30.1 20.6   9.5   9.3
25.7 14.0 11.7 10.9
8.4 7.9   0.5   1.3

*This value is based on an average figure re-calculated from the 1930 census, thus it differs from the comparable figures in Table 5.

Anuarul statistic al României 1923-1931/1932. Istrate 1929: pp. 681-683. Kovács 1929: pp. 1210-1211.

After an initial boom, the average natural population growth fell steadily and rapidly each year, except for the years 1928 and 1930. The decrease in birth rate was uninterrupted among Roman Catholics and Protestants, whereas some occasional improvement could be found with the other denominations. Since the mortality rate of the different denominations decreased at almost the same rate, the natural population growth differences were determined by birth rates. Accordingly, decrease in natural growth is most marked among Protestants, Roman Catholics and Jews, somewhat weaker among the Orthodox community, while the relatively smallest decrease can be found among Greek Catholics. The figures are especially unfavourable with respect to Hungarians, since the situation was at its most serious among Hungarian denominations. Taking the values in column 4 of Table 13, we can attempt to establish what proportion of the population growth over the ten years occurred in the major ethnic groups. The calculation is based on the proportion of Hungarian and Romanian native speakers in each denomination in 1910. These figures can then be used to calculate what proportion of the natural growth between 1921 and 1930 occurred in the two major ethnic groups within each denomination (see KOVÁCS 1929). The result shows that out of the total natural population growth of 483.8 thousand persons, an increase of 141.4 thousand persons (29.2 per cent) occurred among Hungarians, and double this figure, that is, 277.6 thousand persons (57.4 per cent), among Romanians. (If we adjust this result, which is optimal from a Hungarian point of view, to Romanian data collection practices based on the concept of "descent according to people", and accordingly subtract Jewish persons and include Orthodox Hungarian native speakers among Romanians, the Hungarian share in the natural population increase is reduced to approximately 115 thousand persons, while the Romanian share increases to 290 thousand persons.) In order to calculate (even conditionally) the population balance with respect to Hungarians, migration losses also have to be taken into consideration. Between 1921 and 1924 there was an increase of 42.8 thousand in the number of Transylvanian refugees registered in Hungary. According to the official Romanian emigration statistics, the emigration, immigration and remigration balance with respect to ethnic Hungarians or Hungarian citizens was -8.7 thousand persons between 1926 and 1930. The real number of Hungarian emigrants was increased by those who were regarded as non-Hungarian - for example, Jews and Germans. Emigration was particularly intensive in the first half of the decade, but we have only incomplete information from this period (STATISTICĂ EMIGRĂRILOR DIN ROMÂNIA 1923, DIE SIEBENBÜRGISCHE FRAGE 1940, p. 223). With this in mind, however, it is no exaggeration to estimate that the deficit in the number of Hungarians emigrating from Transylvania over ten years amounts to at least 60 thousand persons. This number is nearly as high as the negative balance of the real and natural population growth of the region illustrated in Table 3. The census in late December 1930 found a maximum of 80 thousand, or, allowing for the "decent according to people" criterion 55 thousand, more Hungarians in Transylvania than could be estimated for 1920, or than the figure recorded in the census. The nationality returns in the census, which stated that the number of Hungarians had increased to 1,353.3 thousand, just fulfil these low expectations. The figure of 1,480.7 thousand for native speakers is closer to the estimation based on the 1910 data, although this is still 100 thousand fewer than 1.6 million, the figure generally accepted by moderate Hungarian statisticians (RÓNAI 1938, p. 97, 1939, p. 351; SCHNELLER 1940, p. 492). Interestingly enough, in 1910 the total number of those whose identity was subject to controversy (Hungarian native speakers belonging to the Jewish, Greek Catholic, and Orthodox denominations, and Germans who became Hungarian in Szatmár) amounted to 264.1 thousand. This figure was roughly the same as the difference between the estimated 1.6 million mentioned above and the number of Hungarians registered by the 1930 census. Of these, 127.2 thousand spoke only Hungarian, while 114.5 thousand had Hungarian as their native language but also knew another language which, because of their denomination, was taken to be their "original" language. The number in this latter group is approximately equivalent to the shortfall from the figure for native language.

The data for population changes with respect to denominations in Transylvania between 1931 and 1935 are shown in Table 14.

Table 14
Live births, deaths and natural population growth according to denominations in Transylvania
between 1931 and 1935

Denomination Live births Deaths Natural
Live births Deaths Natural
Number of persons Annual average per thousand
25.9 18.8 7.1
25.3 20.0 5.3
  Greek Catholic
32.0 20.2 11.8 
  Roman Catholic
22.7 17.6 5.1
23.4 17.2 6.2
21.6 15.6 6.0
23.9 16.6 7.3
18.0 12.8 5.2
  Baptist, Advent.
28.7 18.0 10.7 
* * 3.1

Source: Anuarul statistic al României 1933-1937/1938.

The regional breakdown reveals that the most favourable figures for natural population growth for all the denominations, with the exception of Jews and Greek Catholics, were recorded in the territory of historical Transylvania. Even the positive birth rate among the Orthodox community reaches 8.2 per thousand here. The same figure for Roman Catholics and Calvinists is 8.4 per thousand and 7.2 per thousand respectively. The birth rate among Greek Catholics is highest in the Crişana/Körös and Maramureş/Máramaros areas (12.2 per thousand). In Banat, a further fall in the originally low birth rate meant that not only the Jewish community and the Unitarian and Greek Catholic segments, but also the dominant Orthodox denomination began to experience a natural decrease (an annual average of -0.9 per thousand). The Banatians, too (and the Germans in particular), among whom the birth rate was traditionally low, reduced the average natural population growth among Roman Catholics with an annual figure of 0.6 per thousand. It is once again instructive to look at denominational data in order to demonstrate ethnic differences in population changes, as well as to check demographic statistics with respect to nationality. Using the method applied above, the natural population growth among Hungarians over half a decade can be established as 51.7 thousand persons (or 41.7 thousand if the "descent according to people" criterion is used), while the same figure for Romanians is 128.6 thousand or 134.8 thousand. As Table 15 indicates, according to this method the number of Romanians actually increased during this time. The population growth among those officially regarded as ethnic Hungarians is higher than expected, since the calculation based on denominations produces a lower value than the real one due to the low birth rate among the Germans.

Table 15
Live births, deaths and natural population growth according to nationality in Transylvania
between 1931 and 1939

Nationality Live births Deaths Natural growth Live births Deaths Natural growth
1934-1939  1934-
1934-1939  1934-
Number of persons Annual average per thousand
24.7 18.0 6.7 7.1 7.1
27.1 19.4 7.7 8.0 8.1
21.3 15.8 5.5 6.5 6.2
19.8 16.6 3.2 3.2 3.4
18.3 13.5 4.8 6.3 5.5
  Russ., Ukr.
34.2 20.6 13.6   14.4   14.1  
24.7 17.9 6.8 6.8 6.8

Anuarul statistic al României 1935/1936-1939/1940.; Buletinul demografic al României May 1939-April 1940. Manuilă 1940: pp. 95-103.

The annual natural population growth rate among ethnic Hungarians between 1931 and 1933 was still 7.5 per thousand, but over the next six years it fell by 2 per thousand, thus increasing the shortfall compared with Romanians from 1.3 per thousand to 2.2 per thousand. Thus the tendency of the 1920s towards the equalisation of the growth rate in the two ethnically dominant Transylvanian nationalities seems to have gained strength up until the early 1930s when it turned into a new inequality, this time to the advantage of the Romanians. The growth rate among Hungarians fell from 11.2 per thousand (the rate between 1901 and 1910), to less than half that figure, that is, 5.5 per thousand. At the same time, the fall in the Romanian growth rate was only 1 per thousand, and the natural growth rate among the Romanian population still reached an annual figure of 7.7 per thousand. (However, this value was extraordinary only by Transylvanian standards, since the Romanian growth rate amounted to 12.6 per thousand over the whole of Great Romania.) Although the ethno-demographic statistical records were distorted to some extent due to the lack of a clearly standardised criterion system, they basically followed major tendencies. They demonstrate that the demographic turn-around with respect to the two nationalities described above was due to the disproportionately large difference between the fall in birth rates, since the decrease in mortality rates was more or less equal (compared with the first decade of the century the Hungarian rate fell by 9.1 per thousand, and the Romanian rate by 8.5 per thousand). The annual birth rate among Hungarians was 14.8 per thousand lower than it had been three decades earlier. The same Romanian value was only 9.5 per thousand lower. This phenomenon was probably also brought about by the accumulated population losses among Hungarians, since the wave of refugees fleeing to Hungary after the war compounded the decreasing birth rate caused by the low number of those of child-bearing age (although this factor should not, of course, be exaggerated). The annual average for Hungarian natural growth is only higher than the Romanian figure in Banat (4.1 per thousand) where the number of Romanians was falling at the time (-1.2 per thousand). On the other hand, it is remarkable that the natural population growth rate among Romanians (10.3 per thousand) was 1.5 times higher than that among Hungarians (6.7 per thousand) even in the territory of historical Transylvania, whereas in the Crişana/Körös and Maramureş/Máramaros areas the rate was 2.5 times higher (8.6 and 3.2 per thousand respectively). This suggests that we should be cautious when interpreting these data. Such a great difference can only be explained by the fact that the architects of the demographic statistics followed the practice of the 1930 census and based their figures on the obscure "descent according to people" criterion. With this in mind, and correcting the data with regard to denominations, it can be seen that from the natural growth of the total Transylvanian population between 1931 and 1940, which amounted to 386.8 thousand persons, some 250 thousand persons (64.6 per cent) may have been Romanian and another 100 thousand (25.8 per cent) Hungarians. According to the official nationality registration, the number of Hungarians increased to 1,430.9 thousand, during a period in which demographic tendencies were officially regarded as undisturbed (MANUILĂ 1940, p. 97). However, allowing for the data of the 1910 Hungarian census concerning native speakers, and following the argument outlined above, we obtain a figure of 1.7 million.

The period between 1931 and 1941 was concluded by a further change in political supremacy. Since the Second Vienna Award resulted in mutual population movements in the region, it seems advisable to draw the ethnic picture of divided Transylvania allowing for the new border. Figures for natural population changes detailed in this way also demonstrate that this border, running from the western edge of present-day Romania to the southern curve of the Carpathians, lies along a demographic break-line dividing the fertile north and north-west of Transylvania from the southern and south-western parts where population growth was decreasing (see Table 16).

Table 16
Live births, deaths and natural population growth in Transylvania between 1931 and 1941*

Territory Live births Deaths Natural growth Live births Deaths Natural growth
Number of persons Annual average per thousand
North 702,149 467,930 234,219 28.0 18.7 9.3
South 759,398 606,752 152,646 22.8 18.2 4.6

*Between 1 January 1931 and 31 January 1941 in North Transylvania, and 1 January 1931 and 31 March 1941 in South Transylvania

Thirring 1943: p. 358. Anuarul demografic al Republicii Socialiste România 1974: pp. 142, 236. Buletinul demografic al României May-July 1941.

Table 17, illustrating real and natural population growth according to major ethnic groups, reveals that the Hungarian census in North Transylvania in late January 1941 practically reconstructed the ethnic and native language situation as it had been before Trianon. The reasons behind this phenomenon are almost impenetrably complex. According to the registration made by the Central Office for the Control of Foreigners 100 thousand Hungarian refugees had arrived in Hungary from South Transylvania by the date mentioned (A ROMÁNIAI MENEKÜLTEK FŐBB ADATAI 1944, p. 410), which is also indicated by the real and natural population balance. Most of them sought refuge in the north, and almost as many persons arrived in the reannexed territory as moved to the Trianon territory from South Transylvania (STARK 1989, pp. 72, 74). As a result of these migrations, North Transylvanian Hungarians increased by almost 100 thousand. In order to "compensate" for this, a great number of Romanians were obliged to leave North Transylvania. Of them, some 100 thousand had left by February 1941 according to the incomplete registration of North Transylvanian refugees carried out by the Romanian government (TEROAREA HORTHYSTO-FASCISTĂ 1985, p. 143). Besides this, a fall in the total population suggests that a further 40 to 50 thousand Romanians moved from North to South Transylvania (including refugees who were omitted from the official registration for various reasons). If the difference between real and natural population growth in the two main ethnic groups is adjusted according to migration gain and loss respectively, the population balance among Hungarian native speakers becomes +160 thousand, while the Romanian figure is -90 thousand. These values reflect returns which differ from the previous census, that is, a reassimilation gain among Hungarians, and a disassimilation among Romanians. The Hungarian assimilation gain is made up of losses on the part of other groups of native speakers, as shown in the last column of Table 17. The figures reveal that more than half of the persons recorded as Yiddish native speakers in 1930 returned to the community of Hungarian native speakers. This tallies with the corresponding figures of the 1910 census. Yiddish, then recognised as a special German dialect, was spoken by 40.2 thousand Jewish persons who had German as their native language in the counties in question in 1910 (with respect to present-day Transylvania), whereas there were 48.5 thousand Yiddish speakers in North Transylvania in 1941. The changing of language was most typical among Romanians, nearly 90 thousand of whom were added to the total number of Hungarian speakers. As for nationality, the Hungarian gain is much higher than gain based on native language: that is, over 300 thousand. On the other hand, behind this figure were instances, many of them in Máramaros/Maramureş and Szatmár/Satu Mare counties, where in dozens of settlements many of those who had declared themselves as Romanian now identified themselves as Hungarian, even though they did not speak Hungarian at all (not did they in 1910). The 1941 Romanian census data with respect to Hungarians in South Transylvania are quite correct, since most ethnic groups whose identity was debated were found north of the border and were thus recorded by the Hungarian census. Their number was between 160 and 300 thousand, the range being somewhat wider than ten years earlier.

Table 17
Real and natural population growth and the difference between the two values according
to native language and nationality in North and South Transylvania
between 1930 and 1941a
(x 1,000 persons)

Major ethnic groups Number of persons Real Naturalb Difference between real and natural growth
in 1930 in 1941 growth or decrease(-)

a. In North Transylvania according to native language

b. In North Transylvania according to nationality

c. In South Transylvania according to nationality

Italics: calculated values

a In North Transylvania on 31 January 1941, in South Transylvania on 6 April 1941.
b Values based on nationality figures until 1939. When native language is recorded, it is corrected by estimation.
c Of this Jewish: -1 thousand.

Thirring 1943: p. 358. Anuarul demografic al Republicii Socialiste România 1974: pp. 142, 236. Manuilă 1992: p. 145. Buletinul demografic al României May 1940-July 1941.

The population balance during World War II can be calculated by comparing the 1941 and 1948 census returns with natural population growth in the period. The result shows a real deficit of 275.6 thousand persons in terms of the total population. This is the balance of the total losses and gains among the different ethnic groups. The number of North Transylvanian Jews, three-quarters of them Hungarian, is established at between 90 and 100 thousand (SEMLYÉN 1982, Part 6 p. 9; ERDÉLY TÖRTÉNETE 1986, p. 1757). Another 100 thousand may represent the number of Germans who fled to the West with the withdrawing Hitlerist troops. Some 90 to 100 thousand Germans were sent as workers to the Soviet Union by the Romanian government to repair war damage. Most of them did not later return to their homeland, but settled in Germany or Austria (ILLYÉS 1981, pp. 28-29). The number of Hungarians leaving Transylvania for good in subsequent waves is also estimated at between 100 and 125 thousand by different sources (STARK 1989, p. 73). The sum of these losses is higher than the figure based on the population balance mentioned above. Consequently, another segment of the population experienced a significant migration gain, for which no precise figures can be given without knowing details of military losses. This gain obviously enlarged the Romanian population and contributed to an estimated real increase of 400 thousand persons (as regards native language), because of which the proportion of Romanians, which had been almost stagnant until then, rose by 9 per cent to reach two-thirds of the population at the time of the 1948 census. The number of Hungarians in Transylvania fell from 1,743.8 thousand to 1,481.9 thousand during this period according to the census. The difference of over 260 thousand persons and their natural population growth between the two censuses went to produce the total population deficit of Transylvanian Hungarians, which includes those who were killed on the fronts or as prisoners of war, the civilian victims of deportations, military actions and reprisals, as well as those leaving the country for good. All that can be deduced from this deficit, relying on different sources, is the number of refugees, expatriates and deportees, that is, a total of 200 thousand. Not having any (even approximate) data, about the other Hungarian victims of war, we can only presume that these losses did not exceed the Hungarian natural population increase in the seven years. Theoretically, these losses must have been the remaining 60 thousand missing from the officially established number of Hungarian native speakers. Owing to the destruction of Hungarian Jews, this deficit is much smaller than could be ascertained from previous Romanian censuses. The difference still indicates uncertainties in the estimation due to incomplete data about human losses. On the other hand, it also witnesses to the survival of earlier reflexes such as repeated attempts to separate members of certain population groups with dual ethnic identity (mostly denominations using Greek rites, as local data show) from Transylvanian Hungarians.

Over the next eight years, as shown in the 1956 census, native language proportions did not change in practice in Transylvania. Within the same administrative borders the number of Hungarian native speakers increased by 137 thousand, and the number of Romanian native speakers by 339.8 thousand between 1948 and 1956. The Hungarian real annual population growth was 11 per thousand, that is, 1 per thousand higher than the total population increase, even slightly exceeding the 10.8 per thousand Romanian annual population growth. Part of the Hungarian population growth seen in the 1956 census derives from a verifiable positive change in declarations of nationality compared with the 1930 and 1948 censuses. It is obvious from regionally analysed data that the Hungarian population growth rate in Transylvania is above the average primarily in the north-west border region, except in present-day Hunedoara county where a higher rate occurred due to remigration into the mining area. In the north-west, once the territory of Szatmár/Satu Mare) and Szilágy/Sălaj counties, the number of Hungarian native speakers increased by an annual 16.1 per thousand, while the same figure for local Romanians, well-known for their high birth rate, was only 7.5 per thousand. (The source of the 1956 data adjusted to previous administrative units is László Sebők's Transylvanian historical-statistical gazetteer. Computerised database, L. Teleki Foundation Library and Documentary Service, Budapest.) A closer study reveals that this unique outcome in the history of Romanian censuses was due to the fact that ethnic groups that had earlier broken away from the Hungarian native-speaking community now returned to it - although, as shown in later censuses, only temporarily. Because of this temporary assimilation gain for the Hungarians, their natural population growth was lower than the real increase, although we do not know how much the birth rate differed from the average in the region, since there are no figures for the period.

Ethnic relations were challenged, but, with respect to the Hungarian and Romanian positions at least, were only slightly modified along earlier break-lines, by the repeated changes in political supremacy. A real rearrangement of the ethnic spectrum has occurred since the 1956 census. As shown in Supplementary Table 1, in 1956 the Hungarian population had once again reached, for the first time since the beginning of Romanian censuses, approximately the same levels as registered in 1910. Their proportion of the total population had even increased (compared with 1930) with respect to the nationality breakdown, nor did it fall below the lowest value recorded until that time (in 1869) with respect to native speakers. Moreover, their position in North Transylvania remained unchanged, even in the towns, compared with 1930; there was even improvement in certain areas, whereas the proportion of Romanians barely retained its two-thirds share. At that time the increase in the proportion of Romanians was mostly due to their intensive expansion, which meant their replacing those masses of Hungarians who, although not forming compact groups, had left or had been forced to leave Transylvania. This expansion was primarily experienced in southern counties along the traditional "industrial axis", and in German settlements already in the process of being deserted (especially in Banat and North Transylvania, around Bistriţa/Bistritz/Beszterce - Reghin/Säschisch-Regen/Szászrégen, so it did not, in fact, occur at the cost of Hungarians.

In the three and a half decades since that time, however, the proportion of Romanians in terms of native speakers has increased by another 9.8 per cent and by 8.6 per cent with respect to nationality. Thus, at the time of the 1992 census, about three-quarters of the Transylvanian population was made up of Romanians. The ratio of Hungarian native speakers (which is not far above that of ethnic Hungarians) has decreased by a further 5 per cent, and consequently in 1992 only one-fifth of the population was Hungarian. These changes, however, cannot be followed in detail, as the demographic data do not contain a nationality breakdown. An ethno-demographic approach can only rely on regional demographic publications to some extent, although it is clear from earlier corresponding data that it can be misleading to relate population growth rates in the different counties directly to their nationality ratios and then to project these values onto a national level. Information leaked sporadically suggests that the population increase among ethnic Hungarians in the last decades has been checked, unlike in earlier periods, by a higher than average mortality rate. (Between 1934 and 1939, when the birth rate among ethnic Hungarians was 3.4 per thousand lower than that in Transylvania as a whole and 5.8 per thousand lower than the same Romanian figure, a relatively satisfactory level of growth among Hungarians was ensured by a mortality rate 2.2 per thousand lower than the Transylvanian average and 3.6 per thousand below the Romanian figure.) In 1965, when the national birth rate fell to an extremely low 14.6 per thousand in Romania, and to 14.2 per thousand in Transylvania, the live birth rate among Hungarians in Transylvania was 12.8 per thousand, while the Romanian figure was 14.5 per thousand (ANUARUL DEMOGRAFIC 1967, p. 53). Thus the Hungarian birth rate was only 1.4 per thousand lower than the Transylvanian rate and 1.7 per thousand lower than the Romanian average. In that year (using calculations based on the mother's nationality), out of the 20,812 Hungarian new-born babies, 20,675, that is, 99.3 per cent, were born in Transylvania. Over the next eleven years the number of babies born to Hungarian families was approximately 336 thousand (SEMLYÉN 1980a, p. 49), 333.5 thousand of whom must have been born in Transylvania if we accept the ratio mentioned above. Taking a mean proportion of the values of the two censuses we obtain a birth rate of 18.8 per thousand, which roughly corresponds with the Transylvanian average. During this period the Hungarian population increased by 93.6 thousand persons in Transylvania, an annual growth rate of 5.3 per thousand. From the figures for live births and the 5.3 per thousand average real population growth between 1966 and 1977, we obtain, by a simple calculation, a mortality rate of 13.5 per thousand, that is, 3.3 per thousand higher than the Transylvanian average. However, there is no reason why we should accept this speculative result as probable. Relying on demographic data between 1966 and 1985 in counties where Hungarians formed a majority or lived in great numbers, we can only suppose that as Hungarian birth rates in Transylvania slowly sank below the average, mortality rates approached, or sometimes exceeded the average (VARGA E. 1994c, pp. 80-81). Official information concerning the natural population changes among Hungarians was only provided quarter of a century later, when the national demographic situation had become critical: the official version is that Hungarian mortality rates over the whole country increased to 14.8 per thousand in 1992, while the birth rate reached only 9 per thousand (GHEŢĂU 1993). Although this alarming fact effectively documents the dramatic outcome of nationality inequalities in the process of demographic transition, it does not enable us to draw definite conclusions about conditions a few decades earlier.

Owing to the forty-five year blockade on information on the natural population growth of particular nationalities and its structure, we can only rely on the real population development figures recorded in the censuses when reviewing the dramatic changes that occurred in ethnic relations between 1956 and 1992. It is clear from Table 18 that the number of ethnic Hungarians between 1956 and 1977 increased by only 132.7 thousand, thus Transylvanian Hungarians did not increase more in these two decades than during the previous eight years. It is also worth mentioning that the 1977 census documentation flagrantly distorts the original records (NYÁRÁDY 1983, VARGA E. 1996b) and takes only 1,651.3 thousand "ethnic Hungarians and native speakers" into account. Thus it acknowledges the existence of just 93 thousand (only 35 thousand as native speakers) more Hungarians in Transylvania than recorded twenty-one years earlier by the 1956 census. Bearing in mind the chaotic, contradictory nature of the publications, earlier doubts about the ethnic data supplied by the Romanian statistical service would seem to be justified. It is not therefore surprising that this period saw the highest number of different estimations regarding the number of Transylvanian and Romanian Hungarians. Using general population trends and church registrations, Hungarian specialists usually put this figure at between 2 and 2.2 million in the 1980s, immediately before the beginning of mass emigration, flight and natural population decrease (DÁVID 1982; NYÁRÁDI 1983; SÜLE 1988; ANTAL 1989; KOCSIS-KOCSISNÉ 1991; KLINGER 1991; SEBŐK 1992).

Members of the general public who were keen to know the facts were faced with a "fait accompli" in the 1992 census, which, contrary to even moderate expectations, registered a serious fall in the number of ethnic Hungarians compared with the previous census. The decrease of 87.1 thousand (or 89 thousand nation-wide) can only partly be explained by emigration. According to data from the Ministry of the Interior, 63,427 ethnic Hungarians had left Romania legally since the previous census (ANUARUL STATISTIC 1993, p. 143). Taking the results of the two censuses, natural population growth and official emigration statistics, we find that the real migration loss for Romania was at least twice as high as officially registered (VARGA E. 1994a, pp. 196-197). (This was partly due to the omission of many Romanian citizens who were abroad at the time the census was carried out.) Thus the number of Hungarians who had either left the country for good or who were merely away from the country must have been higher than mentioned before. Taking the multiplier referred to above, it probably reached 100 thousand. However, not even this can explain the population deficit among Hungarians recorded in the census, since their natural increase must have compensated to a great extent for the losses caused by permanent or temporary emigration. Allowing for natural population growth and migration, the Bucharest Statistical Service registered 1,753.2 thousand Hungarians in Romania on 1 January 1988 (FEHÉR KÖNYV 1991, p. 2). (These records suppose a natural population growth of 63.5 thousand relying on the 1977 census which recorded 1,712.8 thousand ethnic Hungarians, and they take the number of persons emigrating between 1977 and 1987 as 23.1 thousand. In this case, the annual rate of population increase among Hungarians would be 3.4 per thousand compared with the 5.5 per thousand average for the total Transylvanian population.) If we reduce this officially established value by 40.3 thousand, that is, the number of emigrants between 1988 and 1991, and by a further 35 thousand, being the probable number of unregistered illegal emigrants, we still obtain a total of 1,680 thousand Hungarians - a figure that should have been found in Romania by the 1992 census. In fact, the census only registered 1,625 thousand Romanian citizens as belonging to the ethnic Hungarians. Although natural population growth has turned into a decrease in Romania as well, and although this change must have occurred somewhat earlier among Hungarians, it is not likely that the population gain among Hungarians in Romania, which had accumulated up to the end of the 1980s, vanished in a few years. All this considered, the number of Hungarians in Romania recorded at the time of the census is at least 50 thousand fewer than can be calculated taking the 1977 census as a basis and allowing for natural and mechanical population changes. The deficit can be attributed to different declarations of nationality from those given in the previous census, that is, assimilation (or reassimilation) shifts: one-third of the deficit seems to have gone to enlarge the German and Gypsy communities, and two-thirds were probably included among Romanians.

Table 18
The real population growth and decrease among Hungarians, Romanians and the population in Transylvania
between 1948 and 1992*

Period Total Romanian Hungarian Total Romanian Hungarian
Number of persons Annual average per thousand
1948-1956 483,766 339,785 137,008   10.0 10.8 11.0
1956-1966 503,734 520,951 39,136   7.7 12.0   2.5
1966-1977 780,674 644,414 93,610 10.2 12.2  5.3
1977-1992 223,084 480,296 -87,125     1.9   5.9 -3.5

*Between two censuses, according to the territorial system valid at the end of the decade. Native language test 1948-1956, nationality test 1956-1992.

Major data for city development
and for the flow of Transcarpathian Romanians into Transylvania

Supplementary Table 2, tracing the development of ethnic relations in Transylvanian towns, illustrates that ethnic structures, weakened by repeated changes in political supremacy, were modified fundamentally only by the city explosion during the "second urbanisation" based on massive industrialisation. An outline of the process is given here, with a focus on the nation-wide migration which brought great masses of Romanian people into towns, as well as on the large-scale population exchange between the two great regions of the country.

The sources of twentieth-century urban population growth in Transylvania are illustrated in Table 19.

Table 19
The sources of urban population growth in Transylvania
between 1900 and 1944a

Period Real Natural Migration difference Administration changesb Annual average growthc
growth or decrease (-)
1901-1910 124,650 21,714 79,895 23,041 20.1
1911-1920   38,985 -12,483d 55,606e -4,138   5.5
1921-1930 241,872 18,960f 132,228   90,684 28.7
1931-1941 190,226   5,951g 169,321   14,954 18.0
1941-1948 -34,740 ... ... -1,839 -3.1
1948-1956 634,940 ... ... 243,070   27.4 
1956-1966 625,525 136,770   351,260   137,494   30.1
  1966-1972h 623,325 ... ... 240,556   36.8
  1972-1976h 555,957 150,000   405,960   - 37.7
  1977-1981h 424,293 165,040   259,250   - 25.0
  1981-1985h 316,007 115,395 200,612 - 19.1
  1985-1989h 269,598 ... ... 59,184i 15.2
  1989-1991h -138,852   485,36 -187,388 - -12.4 
  1992-1994h     3112 10,177   -7,065 -   0.3

Italics: calculated values

a Real growth between censuses; natural growth broken down into calendar years.
b Number of persons in settlements that were declared towns, or were attached to or separated from towns at the beginning of the period.
c Real population growth compared with mid-period figures per thousand
d Between 1911 and 1918, and in 1920.
e Difference between immigration and remigration minus war losses.
f Between 1 January 1931 and 1 April 1941 (in North Transylvania between 1 January 1931 and 1 August 1940).
g Taking the mid-year population for the years between the two censuses and half of the population growth in the year in question.
h Newly established towns with end-period numbers.

Magyar Statisztikai Közlemények 1902: pp. 280-455, 1912: pp. 280-457, 1913: pp. 280-459. A népmozgalom főbb eredményei 1911-1920. Martinovici - Istrati 1921: Dicţionarul comunelor. Manuilă 1929: pp. VIII, XI, XV. Anuarul statistic al României 1922-1939/1940. Ionescu 1927: pp. 57-62. Recensământul general al populaţiei României din 29 decemvrie 1930 1938: pp. XLII, 116, 224, 234, 276, 416, 440. Buletinul demografic al României May-November 1940, Mai-July 1941. Recensământul general al Româniai din 1941 6 aprilie 1944: pp. 1-270. Az 1941. évi népszámlálás 1947: pp. 498-690. Recensămîntul populaţiei din 21 februarie 1956 1960: pp. 17-158. Recensămîntul populaţiei şi locuinţelor din 15 martie 1966 1968: Volumes relating to Transylvania. Cucu - Urucu 1967: Supplementary Table. Anuarul statistic al Republicii Socialiste România 1973-1986. Recensămîntul populaţiei şi locuinţelor din 5 ianuarie 1977 1980:p. 616. Recensămîntul populaţiei şi locuinţelor din 7 ianuarie 1992 1994: p. 1. Anuarul statistic al României 1990-1995.

Urbanisation was dynamic in the first decade of the century as well, although the rate of increase was more modest than later because of the lower number of newly established towns. Nearly two-thirds of the growth was a result of immigration. The ratio of migration increase to natural population growth was 4:1. A total of 100.8 thousand Hungarians (81 per cent), or 88 thousand (86.6 per cent) not counting newly established towns, contributed to the growth in urban population during the decade, and their natural population growth reached 22.6 thousand persons. The difference between the two figures is due to migration and assimilation gains among Hungarians. The shift in ethnic proportions following the change of supremacy can partly be attributed to forced reassimilation. (In the 1920 census, for example, 91.1 thousand urban Jews, whose mother tongue was Hungarian, were registered as ethnic Jews.) However, it was also caused by flight and by the changeover in terms of state administration, officials and the liberal professions, as well as by an influx of Romanians coming from rural areas into the towns. Those settlements which became towns were mostly made up of Romanians or were mixed even at that time. Some of the migration gain experienced in the 1930s was temporary, since it included refugees who had been forced to leave their homes and who were lodged in towns on both sides. However, the fact that 53.5 per cent of migration gain was concentrated in the narrow strip of the South Transylvanian industrial area, in the towns of Braşov/Brassó, Sibiu, Hunedoara, Caraş-Severin, Timiş/Temes-Torontal and Arad counties, was a sign of permanent change.

Obvious parallels can be found between urbanisation trends during the peaceful years before World War I and after World War II as far as proportions are concerned. In both cases, the proportion within urbanisation of those belonging to the dominant nation was much higher than their proportion in the existing urban population. The Hungarian share in urban population growth between 1901 and 1910, calculated within the same administrative system, was 86.6 per cent, while the same figure for Romanians was 88.5 per cent between 1956 and 1966, and 87.3 per cent between 1966 and 1977. Between 1977 and 1992, the population growth among Romanians exceeded that of the whole country in towns as well. As Hungarian historians clearly show, towns at the turn of the century were "furnaces of assimilation to the Hungarians". This demographically true statement about the dominance of the official language is true for later periods as well, in so far as an overwhelming majority of Transylvanian towns are now furnaces of assimilation to the Romanians. The only difference - a difference which cannot be ignored - is the intensity of these trends. Urban population growth in the first decade of the century was a mere 101.6 per thousand (apart from in newly established towns), while the same figure increased to 488 thousand after 1956. Over the next eleven years it rose to 938.7 thousand, and in mid-1989 it reached 950.7 thousand. Two-thirds of this tremendous growth was the consequence of migration into towns, at least until the mid-1980s.

As an after-effect of the massive migration, the growth capacity of towns also increased. The impact of the environment in pushing down birth rates was delayed: in small- and medium-sized towns open to migration, and even in relatively "closed" big cities with a large proportion of autochthonous population, the higher birth rate among the newcomers remained dominant for some time (SEMLYÉN 1980b, p. 194). From the 1970s on, as shown by a comparison of Tables 5 and 20, in towns (and city-like settlements) live birth rates approached the national average. As a result of relatively high birth rates and mortality rates far above the average, the source of natural population growth gradually shifted to urban areas. Between 1956 and 1966, between 70 and 75 per cent of natural population growth occurred villages (including settlements regarded as urban at the time but which were, in fact, rural). This ratio fell to between 55 and 60 per cent between 1966 and 1977, and dropped to between 20 and 25 per cent between 1977 and 1992. In this latter period rural areas entered the phase of natural decrease from the original 40 to 45 per cent level.

Table 20
Live births, deaths and natural population growth in Transylvanian towns
between 1900 and 1994a

Period Live births Deaths Natural growth
or decrease(-)
Live births Deaths Natural growth
or decrease(-)
Number of persons Annual average per thousand
1901-1910 176,806 155,092 21,714 28.0 24.6 3.4
1911-1914   78,169   65,690 12,479 28.1 23.6 4.5
1915-1918   45,600   71,893 -26,293   16.1 25.3 -9.3 
1920   17,923   16,592   1,331 24.8 23.0 1.8
1921-1925   87,843   76,131 11,712 23.2 20.1 3.1
1926-1930   88,524   81,276   7,248 19.1 17.5 1.6
1931-1939 153,414 145,808   7,606 17.6 16.7 0.9
  1956-1965b 366,705 199,124 16,7581   14.0   7.6 6.4
  1972-1976b 309,084 140,654 168,430   17.7   8.1 9.6
  1977-1985b 605,686 304,568 301,118   16.2   8.1 8.1
1989-1991 174,785 112,302 62,483 12.8   8.2 4.6
1992-1994 132,927 121,720 11,207 10.0   9.2 0.8

a According to administrative units at the end of the period.
b Including city-like settlements and together with fringe settlements.

Magyar Statisztikai Közlemények 1913: pp. 280-459. A népmozgalom főbb eredményei 1911-1920. Manuilă 1929: pp. VIII, XI, XV. Anuarul statistic al României 1922-1939/1940. Ionescu 1927: pp. 57-62. Anuarul demografic al Republicii Socialiste România 1967: pp. 22-24, 82-84. Anuarul statistic al Republicii Socialiste România 1973-1986. Anuarul statistic al României 1990-1995.

The demographic "ruralisation" of the urban population was caused by the growing number of incoming Romanians, many of them from the Transcarpathian region. The only exception to this rule was Szeklerland. The returns with respect to migration deficits in a regional breakdown suggest a massive influx of people from the Transcarpathian region. (A summary of the related data from Tables 3 and 4 can be found in Table 21.)

Table 21
The migration balance in the present territory of Romania
according to the two main regions
(x 1,000 persons)

Perioda Romania Transcarpathia Transylvania
1901-1910 ... ... -89.7  
  1911-1920b ... ... -265.9    
1921-1930 ... ... -67.8  
1931-1941   134.6 158.9 -24.3  
  1941-1948b -625.9 -351.0 -274.9    
1948-1955 -130.2 ... ...
1956-1965 -139.7 -166.5 26.8
1966-1976  -69.2 -142.5 73.3
  1977-1989c -233.2 -251.4 18.2
1989-1991 -493.8 -142.5 -351.3    
1992-1995   -75.4 -33.4 -42.0  

a Migration balance based on the population on 1 January (registered by census in 1941, 1948, 1977 and 1992; in 1989 and 1995, mid-year figures).
b Difference between immigration and emigration + war losses.
c Based on official data following the 1977 census, excluding illegal emigration.

Official records reveal a continual migration deficit in the country since the end of World War II. Between 1956 and 1989, migration loss in the Transcarpathian region exceeded the national value, while Transylvania had a migration gain despite the fact that a large proportion of emigrants (especially Jews, Germans and Hungarians) had left Transylvania. The deficit caused by these emigrations was apparently compensated by people coming from the former Old Kingdom. Including these, the immigration gain from the Transcarpathian region from 1948 to 1955 can be estimated at between 35 and 40 thousand; from 1965 to 1976 at between 120 and 125 thousand; and from 1977 to 1989 at 250 thousand, thus totalling nearly half a million over the whole period. The number obtained in this way can be further increased by several tens of thousands with regard to officially unregistered legal emigration, as well as ethnic Romanians leaving Transylvania before 1976. The real number of those arriving in Transylvania is even higher than this, since it also includes people coming from the Transcarpathians who moved into places previously inhabited by those moving to the Transcarpathian region. The real weight, that is, the direct and indirect demographic importance of Transylvanian inhabitants originating from the Transcarpathian region, can be outlined using census data with respect to place of birth (Table 22).

Table 22
The population of Transylvania according to place of birth and habitation: 1930, 1966, 1977, 1992
(Number and percentage)a

Year Total
Born in present place of habitation Born elsewhere in the country Otherb
In the same county Elsewhere in Transylvania In Trans-

1930 5,548,363 4,105,376 74.0   788,695 14.2 414,855 7.5   68,650 1.2 170,787   3.1
1966 6,719,555 4,333,885 64.5 1,078,816 16.1 791,427 11.8 397,373 5.9 118,054   1.7
1977 7,500,229 4,640,685 61.9 1,329,210 17.7 916,289 12.2 532,905 7.1 81,140 1.1
1992 7,678,206 6,174,802   80.4 876,752 11.4 573,986 7.5 52,666 0.7

Of these, number of persons living in towns
1930   963,418 400,124 41.5   215,552 22.4 214,576 22.4   44,466 4.6 88,700 9.2
1966c 2,619,925 1,075,900 41.1   617,226 23.5 542,450 20.7 304,247 11.6 80,102 3.1
1977 3,558,651 1,499,878 42.1   891,960 25.1 672,488 18.9 435,254 12.2 59,071 1.7
1992 4,344,939 3,167,464   72.9 657,633 15.1 482,318 11.1 37,524 0.9

a 1930, 1966, 1977: population actually present; 1992: those with a registered permanent address.
b Born abroad or did not respond.
c According to the administrative units introduced in 1968.

Recensământul general al populaţiei României din 29 decemvrie 1930 1940: pp. XXXIV-XXXVII, XLII-XLIX. Recensămîntul populaţiei şi locuinţelor din 15 martie 1966 1970: pp. 2-9, 18-25. Recensămîntul populaţiei şi locuinţelor din 5 ianuarie 1977 1980: pp. 696-701, 720-725. Recensămîntul populaţiei şi locuinţelor din 7 ianuarie 1992 1994: pp. 112-123, 130-141.

It can be seen that in 1930 only 68,650 persons born in the Transcarpathian region were living in Transylvania. Four and a half decades later this number rose to 532,905. On the other hand, in 1930 some 176,381 persons, (289,791 in 1977) born in Transylvania were registered in the Transcarpathian region. Thus the migration balance for Transylvania was still negative in 1930, but later it became positive. The outstandingly detailed publication containing 1966 data, which sets out domestic population changes up until that date with reference to period as well, also helps clarify the picture (see Table 23).

Table 23
Dates of residence changes in Transylvania in the 1966 census according to place of birth

  Date of changing place of residence
No response

Total number
      Living in Transylv., born in Transc.
33,425 39,073 51,721 72,161 181,847 19,146
      Living in Transc., born in Transylv.
77,069 17,170 25,932 27,358   77,962 15,314
      Domestic migration balance
-43,644   21,903 25,789 44,803 103,885   3,832
      Living in Transylv., born abroad
54,432 20,202 10,596   9,827   12,819   6,062

Of these, persons living in towns
      Living in Transylv., born in Transc.
26,038 27,979 45,118 59,950 134,302   10,860
      Living in Transc., born in Transylv.
70,532 15,101 22,823 22,070 59,775 10,034
      Domestic migration balance
-44,494   12,878 22,295 37,880 74,527     826
      Living in Transylv., born abroad
36,555 13,775   8,411   7,284   8,690   3,403

Source: Recensămîntul populaţiei şi locuinţelor din 15 martie 1966 1970: pp. 70-260.

Detailed records confirm that the domestic migration balance for Transylvania became positive after World War II. Before that, a greater number of people had moved to the Transcarpathian region from Transylvania than vice versa. The year 1945 can be regarded as a watershed: earlier, Transylvanian inhabitants born abroad included those who had come from Hungary. After 1945, this number refers rather to immigrants from territory which had belonged to Romania before 1945. Between 1 January 1945 and 15 March 1966, some 345,000 persons settled in Transylvania (within the present borders of the country) from the Transcarpathian region. If we take into account the 50,000 persons coming from abroad (mostly from Transprut and South Dobrudia), those who did not submit information about their place of habitation and those who arrived after 1945 but were no longer alive and consequently unregistered, we can state that the total number of persons flowing into Transylvania from the Transcarpathian region amounted to 450,000 persons between 1945 and 1966.

Between the 1966 and the 1977 censuses the number of people living in Transylvania and born in the Transcarpathian region increased by 135,532 persons. In order to establish the number of immigrants, it is not sufficient to calculate the difference between the two censuses. We also have to consider the number of deaths in the intervening period. Taking a figure of 10.2 deaths per thousand inhabitants, we find that it is one-tenth of the total number of immigrants. By carrying out the necessary calculations, it can be concluded that between 1966 and 1977 approximately 183 thousand persons arrived in Transylvania from the Transcarpathian region. With this in mind, the number of persons moving from the Transcarpathian region into Transylvania from the end of World War II until 1972 can be estimated at 630 thousand. Using similar calculations we find only 74 thousand Transylvanians moving to the Transcarpathian region between 1966 and 1977, and taking the whole period from the end of World War II, this figure rises to a mere 250 thousand Moreover, many of these immigrants must have belonged to ethnic minorities (even if we presume that their proportion within the migration total was much lower than their proportion in the existing population) without there being a compensatory counter tendency from the Transcarpathian region, since the proportion of non-Romanians in the Transcarpathian region was only 1.5 per cent in 1966, the comparable figure being 32 per cent in Transylvania. As shown above, the population exchange in terms of Transylvanian Romanians is remarkable, especially if ethnic disproportions within domestic population changes are considered. Their migration gains can be estimated at at least 400 thousand persons between 1945 and 1977, including counter migration as well as the Romanian gain compensating the losses among ethnic minorities caused by their migration to the Transcarpathian region.

The 1992 census recorded some 600 thousand persons living in Transylvania and born in the Transcarpathian region, although no special details are provided. Among them, 573,986 had a permanent dwelling. If we increase the difference in their numbers between the two censuses by 95 thousand, a figure based on the annual mortality rate of 11 per thousand, we reach an immigration figure of a further 165 thousand persons over fifteen years. Thus the number of persons moving into Transylvania from the Transcarpathian region in the last half a century can be put at between 800 and 900 thousand, allowing for domestic and external migration data, place of birth statistics and deaths in the period. With this important figure in mind, we can venture to state that in the past few decades Romanians coming from the Transcarpathian region (and their descendants) have been able to compensate the population decrease of over one million persons which was caused by war losses, repeated waves of flight and the continual emigration of non-Romanians. Strictly according to the rules of calculation, this statement may be questioned since without the inhabitants emigrating to the Transcarpathian region the net migration gain for Transylvania is scarcely above half a million. However, the conclusion above can be regarded as true if we take into consideration the very intensive physical presence of Transcarpathians (and their dominant mentality).

This presence is mostly to be experienced in towns, as shown in the 1977 place of birth records. Geographical mobility is not simply a process of mobility between different areas or territories, but also between different kinds of settlement, especially a movement from villages to towns. Consequently, the population exchange between identical settlement types must have been relatively modest in terms of inter-regional relations. Unfortunately the data available do not allow us to make any in-depth investigation. Relying on national statistical averages, however, we can rightly suppose that centrifugal population changes mostly brought villagers to the Transcarpathian region, while centripetal forces mainly caused those people arriving in Transylvania to move into towns. Because of these shifts the net migration gain in Transylvanian towns temporarily reached, and sometimes even exceeded, the domestic migration gain in the total Transylvanian population. Approximately one-fifth of the migration gain in Transylvanian towns between 1956 and 1977, and nearly one-third of that between 1977 and 1985, was derived from the Transcarpathian region. This gain, which may appear insignificant compared with the whole value, can be seen as a moderate, or in some places even a considerable gain, where examined locally. In 1977, for example, 33.2 per cent of urban dwellers in Braşov/Brassó county, 23.4 per cent in Hunedoara county, and 16.2 per cent in Timiş/Temes county, were of Transcarpathian origin (i.e. had been born there). It also indicates that migration from the Transcarpathian region was primarily focused on the "migration buffer zone" in South Transylvania. More than 80 per cent of those who moved here from the Transcarpathian region were recorded in the three counties mentioned above as well as in Caraş-Severin, Sibiu and Arad counties. Although domestic migration lines ran, by and large, from one end of the country to the other, from those Transcarpathian regions which experienced natural growth, people tended to move to neighbouring Transylvanian counties (recently Cluj/Kolozs) and the industrial centres referred to above. Until 1977, migration from the Transcarpathian region only exercised an indirect influence on the ethnic structure of towns traditionally regarded as Hungarian by the general public (except in Harghita/Hargita and Covasna/Kovászna counties). (A mere 4 per cent of city dwellers in North Transylvania were born in the Transcarpathian region and no more than 7 per cent of Romanians here were of the same origin.) Certain indications, however, clearly demonstrate that forced urbanisation, delayed after 1977, was accompanied by an aggressive settlement policy, no longer motivated economically, aimed at North Transylvanian towns. The contribution of (domestic) migration to urban population growth was very high, between 65 and 70 per cent in Bihor/Bihar and Cluj/Kolozs at the time (comparable only to the southern counties mentioned earlier), and from 1981 also in Satu Mare/Szatmár and Mureş/Maros counties. One of the main sources of migration here is still the chain of Romanian villages surrounding these towns, but in Cluj/Kolozs and Mureş/Maros counties urban population growth is being increased to a greater degree than earlier by settlers coming from outside Transylvania. In Szeklerland, of the new settlers coming from other counties those from the Transcarpathian region formed a majority in this period. Although they withdrew from Harghita/Hargita county, in the towns of Covasna/Kovászna county their number doubled over one and a half decades.

Using place of birth statistics and relying on estimates, we can form a picture of the role played by migration in the development of ethnic structures in towns. The effect of migration into and from towns can be inferred from the ethno-demographic conditions of counties with a population outflow. Our starting point is the hypothesis that the ethnic structure of settlers in towns corresponds with ethnic relations in their place of birth. Of course, this is only a theoretical assumption, since we have no opportunity to locate the (perhaps ethnically different) migration centres, within those counties experiencing natural growth, from which people migrate. Likewise, we have to ignore the ethnic aspects of those factors (economic, social, political) which influence changes in place of habitation, especially considering the fact that these movements were partly controlled and, particularly in the "closed" towns, ethnically discriminative. We have tried to compensate for the resulting distortions by establishing a fictitious ethnic structure for inhabitants born elsewhere over the last half a century on the basis of the 1977 nationality data (which reflected the increasing dominance of the leading nationality). In 1977, out of 3,558.6 thousand city dwellers 2,058.8 thousand had their place of habitation elsewhere in Transylvania. Among them, 892 thousand were born in another settlement in the same county, 672.5 thousand in another county in Transylvania, and 435.2 thousand in the Transcarpathian region. Calculations suggest that two-thirds of those who came from another Transylvanian county were made up of Romanians, and somewhat more than a quarter of them were Hungarian. The number of Romanians is in line with their proportions in Transylvania as a whole, while Hungarians are over-represented compared with their proportion in the region. This is related to the fact that Hungarian migration is greatest from Covasna/Kovászna, Harghita/Hargita and Mureş/Maros counties (as well as from Sălaj/Szilágy, Bistriţa-Nasăud/Beszterce-Naszód and Alba/Fehér counties where Romanians form a majority). (These Szekler counties, which had 15 per cent of the total Transylvanian population in 1977, share 20 per cent of the total population exchange among Transylvanian counties.) Transylvanian Romanians, unlike Hungarians, have a significant migration hinterland outside Transylvania as well, which essentially modifies the overall picture. The 435.2 thousand persons born in the Transcarpathian region practically doubled the number of Romanians who arrived in Transylvanian towns from outside the county. At the same time, tens of thousands of Hungarians left Transylvania for the Transcarpathian region and, as ethnic data records, were lost to the Hungarian community. Romanians born in other Transylvanian counties and in the Transcarpathian region together total up to 80 per cent of the urban population born outside their county of residence. (If we add persons coming from the Transcarpathian region to those born in other counties, the Hungarian share of newcomers drops to only 15 per cent.) The presence of Transcarpathians increased the proportion of Romanians among settlers in towns primarily along the borderline of the two regions, especially in Braşov/Brassó, Hunedoara, and Caraş-Severin, as well as in Harghita/Hargita and Covasna/Kovászna counties. Studying the migration balance of individual counties we can see that in Covasna/Kovászna and Harghita/Hargita counties, where the total balance was negative, there was a growth among the Romanians. In Bihor/Bihar, Satu Mare/Szatmár and Mureş/Maros counties the Romanian balance was also negative, although their presumed migration loss was smaller than the corresponding Hungarian figure. Besides the areas mentioned, considerable Hungarian migration was experienced from Sălaj/Szilágy county. Hungarians swarming away from these areas found new homes in the towns of Arad, Caraş-Severin, Cluj/Kolozs, Maramureş/Máramaros, Timiş/Temes, Sibiu, Hunedoara and Braşov/Brassó counties in Transylvania. The inter-county migration growth among urban Hungarians reached its highest values in the last four counties mentioned above, with Hunedoara, and in particular Braşov/Brassó, ahead, the latter having an intensive population exchange with Covasna/Kovászna. Hungarian migrants settling in South Transylvania arrived in their new homes along with hundreds of thousands of people coming from the Transcarpathian region. It is not surprising that these masses, estimated at several tens of thousands, disappeared in the Romanian melting pot here as well as in the Transcarpathian region. In this area in 1977 only the towns of Timiş/Temes and Braşov/Brassó counties presented tangible Hungarian population growth.

Main demographic characteristics for Hungarians
based on the 1992 census

(The sources for the tables in this chapter are as follows: Recensământul populaţiei si locuinţelor din 7 ianuarie 1992 1994, 1995. Data not published in these volumes are from working papers made for the internal use of the Statistical Office of Bucharest.)

The official number of ethnic Hungarians living in Romania was 1,625 thousand at the time of the 7 January 1992 census. Demographic returns have reported a fall of 53 thousand since then. Only one-fifth of this figure can be accounted for by the difference between emigration and remigration, the majority of the decrease resulting from a high mortality rate. Accordingly, the number was established as 1,572 thousand on 1 January 1996 (GHEŢĂU 1997b, p. 3).

A total of 98.7 per cent of Hungarians in Romania live in Transylvania, where they form slightly more than one-fifth of the total population. Some 45.1 per cent of Transylvanian Hungarians (723.2 thousand) live in Szeklerland (Mureş/Maros, Harghita/Hargita, Covasna/Kovászna counties); 24 per cent (385.3 thousand persons) are concentrated on the ethnically mixed border area of the central Hungarian settlement territory which extends over the Hungarian-Romanian frontier (Satu Mare/Szatmár, Bihor/Bihar, Sălaj/Szilágy counties); and 30.9 per cent (495.4 thousand persons) live in language islands or blocks loosely connecting the larger Hungarian language area with the smaller one, or are scattered north and south of these language islands. The greatest population decrease over the last fifteen years has taken place in the latter, intermediate area (77.3 thousand persons). Fewer Hungarians now live along the north-west border as well (-31.1 thousand persons), and their number has only increased in Szeklerland by 21.3 thousand (in Mureş/Maros county, however, it has decreased by 15.6 thousand persons compared with 1977). The regional distribution of emigration partly explains the fall in the Hungarian population in certain counties. Approximately three-quarters of the officially registered 483.5 thousand emigrants from the country (two-thirds of them non-Romanians) between 1977 and 1991 left Transylvania, most of them from Timiş/Temes, Sibiu, Arad and Braşov/Brassó counties, as a result of German emigration, but a considerable number (tens of thousands) left Cluj/Kolozs, Bihor/Bihar and Mureş/Maros counties as well (ROMÂNIA. DATE DEMOGRAFICE 1994, pp. 456-457; GHEORGHIU 1995.)

A total of 56.1 per cent of Transylvanian Hungarians live in towns. As clearly shown in Table 24, these are the places where the natural growth among Transylvanian (and, generally, Romanian) Hungarians, actually disappears. While the rates of population decrease in villages between 1977 and 1992 were roughly the same among Hungarians and Romanians, in towns the Romanian population growth rate was eight(!) times higher than the corresponding Hungarian figure. The real population growth among Hungarians in Transylvanian towns is equal to their natural population growth (mostly occurring in Szeklerland). The gains resulting from migration from villages have evaporated due to external and internal losses (emigration, natural decrease in major towns and assimilation).

Table 24
Population levels in Transylvania in 1992, growth and decrease between 1977 and 1992
according to settlement type and the two main nationalities*
(Number and percentage)

Nationality Total Romanians Hungarians

Number of persons in 1992
7,723,313 100.0 5,684,142 73.6 1,603,923   20.8
4,429,697 100.0 3,351,001 75.6 898,387 20.3
3,293,616 100.0 2,333,141 70.8 705,536 21.4

Change in number of persons between 1977 and 1992
223,084   3.0 480,296   9.2 -87,125 -5.1
814,941 22.5 847,714 33.9   36,358 4.2
-591,857   -15.2   -367,418   -13.6   -123,483   -14.9  

*According to present administrative units

The decrease in Hungarian demographic weight in Transylvanian towns is particularly striking. The number of inhabitants in the eight towns in Table 25 has almost doubled since 1966: from 992.5 thousand to 1,845 thousand. Of this growth, some 800 thousand persons were Romanians and only 60 thousand Hungarians. In the decade preceding the 1977 census the number of Hungarians living in these towns increased by 79 thousand persons (three-quarters of them new settlers, which was only 15 per cent of all settlers even then), but this gain was partly lost over the subsequent fifteen years. Between 1977 and 1992, the number of Romanian inhabitants increased by 66.2 per cent in /Târgu Mureş/Marosvásárhely; by 62 per cent in Baia Mare/Nagybánya; and by 56.9 per cent in Oradea/Nagyvárad, while the number of Hungarians did not actually increase. In other places, significant Romanian population growth was accompanied by a similarly remarkable decrease in the Hungarian population which, in Cluj-Napoca/Kolozsvár for example, resulted in a complete change in ethnic proportions which had still been balanced twenty-five to thirty years earlier. Considerable Hungarian population gain in the last fifteen years has only appeared in small and medium-sized towns in Szeklerland and in Satu Mare/Szatmár, Sălaj/Szilágy and Bistriţa-Nasăud/Beszterce-Naszód counties, although nearly three-quarters of this 77.5 thousand gain was restricted to just two counties (Harghita/Hargita, Covasna/Kovászna).

Table 25
Changes in the total population, and in the number and proportion of Romanians and Hungarians
in eight Transylvanian towns between 1966 and 1992a

Town Nationality proportions Change in number of personsb
Romanians Hungarians Total Romanians Hungarians
1966 1977 1992 1966 1977 1992  1966-
63.8 71.1 79.7 24.9 20.9 15.7 35.9 11.0 51.6 24.3 10.8 -14.1
75.8 81.9 88.8 17.0 13.6 9.7 57.0 26.2 69.6 36.9 25.3   -9.6
56.5 65.8 75.6 41.4 32.8 22.8 41.6 25.0 64.9 43.7 12.1 -13.2
28.5 35.1 46.1 69.6 63.2 51.4 50.4 26.4 85.2 66.2 36.5     2.8
  Baia Mare/Nagybánya
66.7 73.2 80.2 31.9 25.3 17.4 56.5 47.7 71.6 62.0 24.5     1.4
46.1 53.9 64.8 51.4 44.0 33.3 39.2 30.6 62.9 56.9 19.3   -1.2
  Satu Mare/Szatmárnémeti
47.6 51.0 55.1 49.5 47.2 41.0 48.4 27.5 59.2 37.6 41.6   10.5
62.6 71.2 82.2 17.8 13.6 9.5 54.6 24.0 75.7 43.2 18.4 -34.5
58.0 65.6 74.5 34.8 29.0 22.0 47.6 25.9 66.9 43.0 22.9   -4.1

a According to present administrative units.
b The proportion of increase or decrease as a percentage compared with the original number of persons.

Movement from villages to towns can be traced in the change of the population structure with regard to the size of settlements (Tables 26 and 27). Due to migration and natural population decrease which began in the villages in the second half of the 1980s, the number of small villages increased. The proportion of villages with fewer than 500 inhabitants out of the total of 5,285 Transylvanian settlements rose from 45.5 per cent to 54.8 per cent, while the proportion of those living in villages with below 500 inhabitants rose from 7.7 per cent to 8.1 per cent. At the same time, the proportion of all settlement types with between 0.5 and 10 thousand inhabitants fell, the most significantly in the case of settlements with between 1 thousand and 5 thousand inhabitants. In 1992, some 51.6 per cent of the total Transylvanian population was concentrated in towns with over 10 thousand inhabitants, in contrast to 41.1 per cent in 1977. The increase was the highest among Romanians (11.6 per cent) and took place almost exclusively in towns with over 50 thousand inhabitants. Within the Romanian population especially, the proportion of inhabitants living in towns with a population of between 2 thousand and 5 thousand (-4.8 per cent) and towns of between 0.5 and 1 thousand inhabitants (-3.8 per cent) decreased. In absolute figures, the greatest losses were suffered by the former group, while in proportion to their nationality ratio, losses were greater among the latter. Hungarian statistics mainly improved in medium-sized towns with between 20 thousand and 100 thousand inhabitants, primarily at the cost of small towns with between 10 thousand and 20 thousand inhabitants and settlements of between 1 thousand and 5 thousand inhabitants. The proportion of Hungarians fell drastically in towns with over 100 thousand inhabitants and in those with between 10 thousand and 20 thousand inhabitants.

Table 26
The number of settlements in 1977 and 1992. The number of Romanians, Hungarians
and the total population in 1992, and changes in their numbers in settlement groups arranged
according to number of inhabitants

Settlement groups according to
number of inhabitants
Number of settlements Number of persons in 1992 Change in population between 1997 and 1992
1977 1992 Total Roman. Hungar. Total Roman. Hungar.

Table 27
The distribution of Romanians and Hungarians in settlement groups
arranged according to number of inhabitants in Transylvania in 1977 and 1992

Settlement groups
according to
number of
Proportion of population according to settlement group Proportion of population within the settlement group
Total Romanian Hungarian Romanian Hungarian
1977 1992 1977 1992 1977 1992 1977 1992 1977 1992
-499   7.7   8.1   9.1   8.9   4.7   5.6 82.7 81.0 13.8 14.2
500-999 13.7 11.1 15.1 11.3 10.3   9.6 76.4 75.2 16.9 18.0
1,000-1,999 17.1 13.2 17.1 12.3 16.8 14.3 69.5 69.2 22.1 22.7
2,000-4,999 14.5 11.2 13.0 10.2 16.5 13.3 62.0 57.2 25.7 21.0
5,000-9,999   5.9   4.8   5.1   4.2   7.1   6.8 60.0 63.2 27.0 29.2
10,000-19,999   5.5   5.7   5.2   6.0   6.0   4.3 65.5 76.8 24.5 15.4
20,000-49,999   9.7 10.7   9.6 10.2 11.3 13.8 68.4 69.6 26.3 26.7
50,000-99,999   5.7   9.2   6.5 10.0   3.5   6.8 78.8 80.7 13.7 15.5
100,000- 20.2 26.0 19.3 26.9 23.8 25.5 66.4 76.2 26.7 20.4
Összesen 100.0   100.0   100.0   100.0   100.0   100.0   69.4 73.6 22.5 20.8

Transylvanian Hungarians formed an absolute majority in 828 settlements in 1977 and in 786 settlements in 1992 (a quarter of all Transylvanian settlements inhabited by Hungarians, Table 28). In another 25 settlements their proportion did not reach 50 per cent, but they were the largest ethnic group numbering 21,942 persons. The number of Hungarians forming an absolute majority in their settlements decreased from 955.1 thousand to 912 thousand between 1972 and 1992. However, their proportion in the total Transylvanian population hardly changed (going from 56.6 to 56.9 per cent). Characteristic proportion shifts among settlement groups demonstrate the tendency for certain Hungarian urban communities to lose ground demographically (clearly illustrated in Table 25). As a consequence, the number of Hungarians forming less than 25 per cent of the population in settlements rose from 316.6 thousand to 425 thousand, and their proportion within the total Hungarian population in Transylvania rose from 18.7 to 26.5 per cent. The ethnic homogeneity of settlements outside city administration is stronger and relatively more stable. Four-fifths of ethnic Hungarians registered in Transylvanian villages formed an absolute majority in the settlements in which they were living at the time of both censuses. However, nearly one-sixth of those Hungarians living in settlements with a Hungarian majority, that is, some 91 thousand persons, lived in smaller administrative units with a Romanian majority. The number of those living in villages where the majority of the administrative staff were Romanians was highest in Mureş/Maros (17.9 thousand), Cluj/Kolozs (14.8 thousand), Satu Mare/Szatmár (15.2 thousand) and Bihor/Bihar (11 thousand) counties, while their proportion was greatest in Hunedoara (100 per cent), Timiş/Temes (79.1 per cent), Bistriţa-Nasăud/Beszterce-Naszód (67.4 per cent), Maramureş/Máramaros (65.5 per cent) and Arad (57.6 per cent) counties. At the same time, in villages with a Hungarian majority a considerable number of people belonging to other ethnic groups could be found. These numbered a total of 110 thousand and formed nearly one-fifth of the population in these villages, being present mainly in Mureş/Maros (29.4 thousand), Satu Mare/Szatmár (18.4 thousand), Bihor/Bihar (16.2 thousand) and Sălaj/Szilágy (14.3 thousand) counties (see Table 29). Taking these three aspects into account, the homogeneity of rural Hungarians within their settlements is most complete in Covasna/Kovászna and Harghita/Hargita counties, and relatively strong in Mureş/Maros, and Bihor/Bihar, and also in Sălaj/Szilágy counties, although Hungarian settlements in Szilágyság form disconnected islands surrounded by Romanian villages. Due to the tendency of the Hungarian language area along the border in Satu Mare/Szatmár county to become ethnically mixed, settlement relations among Hungarian villages constitute a specific transition from ethnic blocks to ethnic islands and sporadic patches, tending rather towards the latter type.

Table 28
The distribution of Transylvanian Hungarians according to their proportion in settlements
in a breakdown per settlement group

Hungar. proport.
Number of settlements
inhabited by Hungarians
Hungarian population
Total In villages* Total In villages*
1977 1992 1977 1992 1977 1992 1977 1992
Number Number % Number % Number % Number %

*According to present administrative units

Table 29
The number of Hungarians in Transylvanian villages,
the number of Hungarians who form an absolute or a simple majority in their villages,
and their proportion in a county breakdown in 1992
(Number and percentage)

County Hungar. inhabit. total Forming a majority in their place of habitation Of these, living
in villages with
a Hungarian majority
Villages with a Hungarian majority
Number Total population Of this
  Satu Mare/Szatmár

The number of Hungarian native speakers was 1,639.1 thousand in 1992, that is, 81.6 thousand less than in 1977. Some 97.87 per cent of them (97.53 per cent in 1977) were ethnic Hungarians. Among those ethnic Hungarians with a different native language the most numerous are Romanians: 32.9 thousand persons, that is, 2.03 per cent (2.25 per cent in 1977). The proportion of ethnic Hungarians with a different native language is highest among the Hungarian diaspora in the Transcarpathian region, who are exposed to the most intensive language erosion (18.4 per cent; 15.8 per cent in 1977). The Transylvanian average is only 1.9 per cent (2.3 per cent in 1977), but the corresponding proportions (usually referring to ethnic Hungarians with Romanian as their native language) are high in areas where Hungarians have settled sporadically such as Caraş-Severin (14 per cent), Hunedoara (10.3 per cent), Sibiu (8.3 per cent), Bistriţa-Nasăud/Beszterce-Naszód (7.6 per cent), Alba/Fehér (6.7 per cent) and Timiş/Temes (6.6 per cent) counties. The lowest proportions can be found in Bihor/Bihar (1.1 per cent), Mureş/Maros, Satu Mare/Szatmár, Sălaj/Szilágy (0.8 per cent each), Covasna/Kovászna (0.3 per cent) and Harghita/Hargita (0.2 per cent) counties. When ethnic Hungarians have a different native language, it usually indicates a step towards assimilation to the dominant nationality (nation state). On the other hand, if the proportion of other nationalities increases among Hungarian native speakers, it also weakens the numerical potential of Hungarians. With the strengthening of the Gypsy and, in Satu Mare/Szatmár/Sathmar, "new-German" identity, the number of Gypsies and ethnic Germans among native Hungarian speakers has doubled since 1977, while the number of Hungarians has decreased accordingly (as a result of the disassimilation of the former and reassimilation of the latter group).

The data for religious distribution (Supplementary Tables 8 and 9) indicate that cultural identity was also manifested according to denomination, in other words, the coincidence of religion and nationality is invariably a strong and relevant tendency, although not as obvious as it used to be, while in the case of traditional diversities certain changes can be observed. One reason for this is the consolidation of Free Churches and the appearance of new religious communities in the many-coloured religious spectrum. The national proportion of believers outside the historical Christian churches, that is, in the Jewish and Muslim denominations, rose from 0.5 per cent in 1930 to 2.7 per cent by 1992. New denominations among the established churches in Romania are the Pentecostal Church (the fifth largest in terms of number of followers), the Evangelical Free Christian Church and the Orthodox Church which follows the traditional ritual. (These are all detailed in the census as well.) The Synod-Presbyterian Evangelical-Lutheran Church, the congregation of which is mostly made up of Hungarian native speakers, was also listed in the census as independent. This church separated from the Lutheran Church of the Augustan Confession after the change of political supremacy and was definitely recognised in 1948. (The two churches were often confused in censuses.) In addition, in ethnically mixed regions such as Transylvania, we can observe certain "rare exceptions" (MARTSA 1930), which were taken into consideration in Hungarian demography as early as the late nineteenth century. Changes in ethnic and denominational overlappings in Transylvania since 1910 can be followed in Table 30.

Table 30
Correlations between ethnic groups and denominations in Transylvania
with respect to major ethnic groups in 1910 and 1992a

A) The increase or decrease in the number of persons belonging
to different denominations between 1910 and 1992b
(x 1,000 persons)

Denomination Total Romanian Hungarian German
  Greek Catholic
  Roman Catholic

B) Denominational proportions among nationalities (%)

Denomination 1992 1910
Roman. Hungar. German Roman. Hungar. German
73.60 20.77 1.41 53.78 31.61 10.74
95.33   0.47 0.11 94.10   1.40   0.08
  Greek Catholic
85.71 11.01 0.77 89.54   6.61   0.07
  Roman Catholic
  9.28 76.91 7.66   0.73 63.52 30.10
  1.87 95.53 0.32   0.19 98.68   0.31
  1.53 96.94 0.22   0.68 98.87   0.14
  5.74 34.98 51.09     0.58 13.61 80.52
13.62   6.18 1.05   0.40 72.33 26.93
80.63 11.89 1.19 49.87 40.41   2.19

C) Nationality proportions among denominations (%)

Denomination 1992 1910
Roman. Hungar. German Roman. Hungar. German
100.00     100.00     100.00     100.00     100.00     100.00    
89.90   1.56 5.41 60.11   1.52 0.25
  Greek Catholic
3.12 1.42 1.46 39.40   4.95 0.15
  Roman Catholic
1.40 41.00   60.10   0.26 38.01   53.01  
0.26 47.45   2.35 0.05 41.23   0.38
0.02 4.59 0.15 0.02 4.09 0.02
0.06 1.23 26.46   0.05 2.15 37.47  
* 0.01 0.03 0.03 7.93 8.70
5.24 2.74 4.04 0.08 0.12 0.02

a In 1992, according to nationality; in 1910, according to native language (in the case of counties divided by the border, based on calculated values).
b With respect to present administrative units.

The decrease in the number of persons belonging to the Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran and the Jewish denominations is equal to the decrease among the German and Jewish population, and, as the 1910 native-language statistics show, among the Hungarian population also. The proportion of Germans among the Roman Catholics in Transylvania fell from 30.1 per cent to 7.7 per cent; the proportion of German Lutherans fell from four-fifths to 50 per cent. In 1910, persons belonging to the Jewish community made up a large proportion of the Hungarian population (nearly three-quarters of them declared Hungarian as their native language and they totalled 7.9 per cent of Hungarian native speakers), but this ethnic group has now practically disappeared. The low number of Greek Catholics can be explained by the abolition of their church in 1948. The persecuted unification movement was forced underground and, when the church was reorganised, it was unable to regain those believers lost forty years earlier. The ratio of Greek Catholics among Romanians thus fell to 3.1 per cent from the total of 39.4 per cent of 1910. Although within this denomination the proportion of Hungarians rose in absolute terms, the group also weakened (the number of Greek Catholic Hungarians is only one-quarter of the total of eight decades earlier), so their proportion among the Hungarians is a mere 1.4 per cent in contrast to levels of 4.9 per cent in the past. In order for the Orthodox Church to triumph as the "national" church, a lasting population gain has been required: this has been achieved via forced conversions, as shown by the fact that its growth is higher than its demographic increase. At present, nine-tenths of Transylvanian Romanians are Orthodox. Some Hungarian Greek Catholics were incorporated into the Orthodox Church, the importance of which is unchanged in the life of Transylvanian Hungarians. The number of Orthodox Hungarians hardly decreased, while their proportion (among ethnic Hungarians) increased to some extent compared with 1910. At the same time, Christianity according to the eastern rite has lost some ground among Romanians: only 93 per cent of Romanians are Orthodox or Greek Catholic now compared with 99.5 per cent in 1910. This is partly due to the fact that Orthodox Gypsies have declared their nationality more freely than before. Another, more important reason is the fact that neo-Protestant communities, whose congregations are pressing ahead to fill the gaps left by Byzantine religious traditions, are winning over a growing number of Romanian believers. Nearly two-thirds of the Romanian followers of Christian Free Churches, and among them three-quarters of those belonging to the most popular Pentecostal and Baptist (and other non-specified denominations), live in Transylvania, where Romanians attending these two churches form 81.9 and 84.6 per cent respectively. Thus the Free Churches are primarily a "reservoir" of Romanian ethnic potential even if they represent a rival to Orthodoxy. On the other hand, the proportion of Roman Catholics and Calvinists has tangibly increased among the Romanian population: it is exactly ten times higher than in 1910. This tendency indicates that the dominant nation is gaining ground among people belonging to "other religions", a similar, but inverse, trend to that which took place at the beginning of the century in favour of Hungarians. By studying the proportions of the different denominations among Hungarians, we find that the dominance of historical Hungarian churches became stronger due to the losses suffered when the Greek Catholic and Jewish communities were abolished. At the same time, the census also indicates that the national character of these churches was weakened; Hungarians lost 1.9 per cent with respect to Unitarians and 3.2 per cent with respect to Calvinists. Where Hungarians could make headway, usually at the cost of Germans, Romanians were also able to gain ground: they multiplied tenfold in the two Lutheran churches, and almost one in every ten Roman Catholics in Transylvania is now Romanian. (Many of them arrived from the Transcarpathian region where the number of registered Romanian Catholics was 282 thousand, most of them living in Moldovian counties, from where the highest numbers came). A great number of ethnic Romanians and Gypsies can be found among Calvinists, and the proportion of German Calvinists is the same as it was eight decades ago. Their number has slightly increased, while the total number of Transylvanian Germans has fallen to one-fifth of previous levels.

The distribution of Transylvanian Hungarians according to sex is marked by the proportion of women being somewhat higher than the national average: 51.6 per cent to 50.8 per cent. Although the proportion of male live births among Hungarians is higher than the equivalent Romanian figure, between the ages of 40 and 44 the male-female ratio changes in favour of women because of the higher premature mortality rate among men, and perhaps also due to migration among the male population. The proportion of women slowly increases from 50.3 to 53.7 per cent for the 60- to 64-year-old age group; for those between 65 and 69 it reaches 57.6 per cent, to end at 64.1 per cent for those over 75.

Table 31
Ethnic Hungarians in age groups according to sex in Romania in 1992
compared with the national and the Transylvanian averages
and the corresponding figures for Romanians

Age group Breakdown by age of ethnic Hungarians National average Transyl. average National average for Rom.-s
Total Men Women Total Women Nők
(Number or persons) (%) (%)
Total 1,624,959  786,971  837,988  100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
0-4   93,208 47,512 45,696 5.7 6.0 5.4 7.1 ... 7.0
5-9   96,791 49,729 47,062 6.0 6.3 5.6 7.3 ... 7.3
10-14 121,119 61,834 59,285 7.4 7.9 7.1 8.4  22.7a 8.4
15-19 129,898 66,625 63,273 8.0 8.5 7.6 8.4 8.5 8.4
20-24 136,601 69,299 67,302 8.4 8.8 8.0 8.9 8.8 9.0
25-29   84,082 43,306 40,776 5.2 5.5 4.9 5.5 5.9 5.5
30-34 100,218 50,816 49,402 6.2 6.5 5.9 6.8 7.0 6.8
35-39 121,300 60,784 60,516 7.4 7.7 7.2 7.5 7.7 7.6
40-44 109,944 54,691 55,253 6.8 7.0 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.7
45-49 106,636 52,199 54,437 6.6 6.6 6.5 5.2 5.3 5.1
50-54 105,592 50,623 54,969 6.5 6.4 6.6 5.9 5.8 5.9
55-59 100,234 47,389 52,845 6.2 6.0 6.3 6.0 5.6 6.0
60-64   97,707 45,220 52,487 6.0 5.8 6.3 5.4 5.2 5.4
65-69   83,559 35,416 48,143 5.1 4.5 5.7 4.5 4.4 4.5
70-74   54,203 21,424 32,779 3.3 2.7 3.9 2.4 2.6 2.4
75-b   83,867 30,104 53,763 5.2 3.8 6.4 4.0 3.7 4.0

a 0-14 year olds together
b Including persons not disclosing their age

The national average age is 34.6 years. The average age among Hungarians is 37 years, and among Romanians, 34.5 years. Among Hungarians, the proportion of children (between 0 and 14 years old) is below the national average, while the ratio of elderly people (over 60) is above the average. The proportions for these age groups have decreased and increased at the same rate as among Romanians (Table 32).

Table 32
Distribution among the total population, Romanians and Hungarians,
according to major age groups in Romania in 1977 and 1992

  1992 1977
years old
years old
over 60 0-14
years old
years old
over 60
22.7 60.9 16.4 25.4 60.2 14.4
22.7 61.0 16.3 25.6 60.3 14.1
19.1 61.2 19.7 22.2 60.5 17.3

The proportion of adult Hungarians is relatively high and has risen since 1977. The total proportion of the population which is mainly inactive in economic terms is 642 to every one thousand economically productive adults, that is, there are 373 children and 269 old people to every thousand adults. This figure is 638 for the Romanians, where a large majority are children (372), while among the Hungarians, the corresponding figure is 634 with a relative majority of old persons (321). The proportion of elderly people also increased within the economically non-active population. While in 1977 there were 76 elderly persons to every 100 Hungarian children (the figures is 53 among Romanians), in 1992 this number was 103 (72 for the Romanians). The age structure of the population in villages shows a rising population of elderly people as a natural result of the migration of young people: here there were twice as many elderly persons to children under 14 as there were in the towns. Among ethnic Hungarians the ageing index is quite high in towns as well (87) (see Table 33). It is worth noting that while this figure is 123 among Hungarian villagers on a national basis, in those Transylvanian villages in which Hungarians form an absolute majority (81.4 per cent of the population in these settlements) there were only 103 elderly persons to every 100 children. Although this may partly have been caused by the age structure of other nationalities living here (one-fifth Gypsy), we can still conclude that it is not the above-mentioned group that is mostly affected by the ageing process, but rather the sporadic Hungarian village communities.

Table 33
Number of elderly persons per 100 children in Romania and Transylvania,
and among Romanians and Hungarians in 1992 according to settlement type

  Total Towns Villages
 72.2  48.0 105.7
 70.1  48.4 103.0
 71.6  45.3 109.2
102.6  86.9 123.1

At the time of the 1992 census, 64.3 per cent of women over 15 were married. The same figure among Hungarian women was only 61.1 per cent. The proportion of unmarried women (16.8 per cent) and divorced women (4 per cent) were basically the same as the national average, that is, 17 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively, but the proportion of widows among Hungarian women (17.8 per cent) is far higher than the national average (14.7 per cent).

The ratio of women of child-bearing age (15 to 49 years old) out of the total population of women in the country was 47.7 per cent, a slight decrease compared with the 49.2 per cent of 1972. The proportion represented by this age group within the Romanian female population was 48 per cent, and 46.7 per cent among the Hungarian female population. Over one-third of Romanian women of child-bearing age (34.1 per cent; 33.9 per cent of Hungarian women in this age-group) had no children at all, while 18.7 per cent (20.6 per cent with respect to Hungarian women) had one child. Some 40.8 per cent (42.7 per cent of Hungarian women) had between two and four children, and only 6.4 per cent (2.8 per cent of Hungarian women) had five or more children.

The birth rate trend can be illustrated by the number of children born to women over 15 (Table 34). The average number of children per woman is still high among the Romanians (among those over 50, the figure is 2.35), although it has decreased considerably compared with the 1977 figure (2.9). In the case of Hungarian women the decrease is smaller, but among women over child-bearing age (that is, over 50), the average number of children (2.1 compared with 2.45 in 1977) fell below the critical value (2.2) necessary for the simple renewal of the population. With respect to denomination, the highest values can be found among Free Church members. The number of children per thousand women among Orthodox women over 50 is 2,328. In the case of Catholic women this number is higher (2,342), but it is much lower among typically Hungarian women belonging to the Calvinist (2,073), Unitarian (2,132), and Synod-Presbyterian Evangelical Churches (1,747).

Table 34
The number of children per one thousand women over 15 in the whole country
and among Romanians and Hungarians in major age groups in Romania in 1977 and 1992

Number of live births per 1,000 women

Nationality over 15 15-49 years old over 50
1992 1977 1992 1977 1992 1977
1,802 2,034 1,467 1,610 2,329 2,855
1,798 2,048 1,452 1,609 2,350 2,891
1,709 1,880 1,418 1,510 2,093 2,445

The 1992 census registered 6,393.1 thousand families in Romania. Of these, complete families (a couple with or without children) numbered 5,702.8 thousand and there were 690.3 thousand incomplete families where the father or the mother lived alone with his or her children. The number of childless families was 2,065.2 thousand, while complete families with children totalled 3,637.5 thousand. The average number of children per family in complete families was 1.92, and in incomplete families 1.5. Based on the nationality of the head of the family, the number of Hungarian families was 468,237 (7.3 per cent). Of these, 407,509 (7.1 per cent) were complete families and 60,728 were incomplete families, the proportion of which was apparently high (8.8 per cent) in correlation with the high number of divorced Hungarian women or widows. The number of childless Hungarian families was 145,072 (7 per cent), while Hungarian families with children numbered 262,437 (7.2 per cent).

Ethnically mixed families numbered 166,277 in the country as a whole. In 30.5 per cent of these marriages the husband was Hungarian, and in 33.2 per cent, the woman (that is, 50,677 and 55,141 persons respectively). Consequently, 12.9 per cent of the 819,482 ethnic Hungarian spouses lived in mixed marriages, while mixed marriages formed 22.8 per cent of the 462,650 "Hungarian" marriages (including all homogeneous and mixed Hungarian marriages). More than half of mixed marriages (56.8 per cent) were Romanian-Hungarian. In 62 per cent of Romanian mixed marriages one spouse was Hungarian, while in 89.2 per cent of Hungarian mixed marriages one spouse was Romanian.

There were children from 109,204 mixed marriages, of which 65,032 were Romanian-Hungarian. In over two-thirds of these families, that is, in 45,104 cases, the children were registered as Romanian and in only a quarter of them, that is, in 16,778 families, were the children declared as Hungarian. (In 3,150 families, a fragment of the total, the nationality of the children was divided between the parents' nationalities or was completely different from their parents'.) As to the nationality of children born to Romanian-Hungarian parents, Romanians registered a gain of 28,326 families, half of which resulted from assimilation. This means approximately 25 thousand children, if we calculate on the basis of fewer than two children per family.

The number of denominationally mixed families was 272,526 (4.8 per cent) in the 1992 census. The largest group of persons living in denominationally mixed families was formed by Orthodox Church members (100,442 men and 78,906 women). Two other relatively numerous groups in this category were Catholics (64,631 men and 71,782 women) and Calvinists (52,534 men and 51,658 women). Two-thirds of denominationally mixed marriages were contracted between Greek Catholics and members of other churches such as Roman Catholics (23.9 per cent of all denominationally mixed marriages), Calvinist (12.2 per cent), Greek Catholics (8.8 per cent), Pentecostalists (5.5 per cent) and Baptist (3.4 per cent). The number of marriages between Roman Catholics and Calvinists (19.6 per cent) and between Roman Catholics and Greek Catholics (2.7 per cent) was also significant.

Children were born to 62.7 per cent of denominationally mixed marriages. In 112,669 of these 170,938 families, either the wife or the husband was Orthodox. In mixed marriages with children where one spouse was Orthodox the children were raised as followers of the state religion in 66,286 cases (58.8 per cent), and in only 35,854 families (31.9 per cent) did they follow the religion of the non-Orthodox parent. In 10,529 cases the children's religion was different from that of their parents. Accordingly, gains for the Orthodox Church include the children of 30,432 families. Orthodox expansion was at the expense of Calvinists in 7,237 families, Roman Catholics in 7,053 families, Greek Catholics in 5,864 families, and other denominations (mainly Pentecostalists and Baptists) in 10,278 families. Although generation related changes of denomination are mostly in correlation with changes in the nationality spectrum indicating the expansion of Romanian Orthodoxy, figures for the two trends do not coincide. While in the balance of Romanian-Hungarian marriages with respect to the nationality of the children, the net gain of the dominant nation (state nation) is 28,326 families, in mixed marriages between Orthodox believers and those following a "Hungarian" denomination (Roman Catholic, Calvinist, Unitarian, Synod-Presbyterian Evangelical) gains on the part of the state religion are just over half of the figure mentioned above. This phenomenon can be explained by overlappings among nationalities and denominations (a large number of ethnic Romanians can be found in historically Hungarian churches and there are also a lot of ethnic Hungarians in Romanian churches).

Indexes for education reveal that the proportion of persons with further education qualifications is very low among Hungarians in the twelve years and above age group (only 3.6 per cent compared with 5.1 per cent among the population as a whole and 5.3 per cent among Romanians) (Table 35). Apart from the fact that a quarter of persons with further education qualifications are concentrated in the capital (excluding Bucharest the proportion of professionals is a mere 4.2 per cent), the following factors should be borne in mind: a controlled policy to produce an artificially low number of Hungarian professionals and, more importantly, massive emigration among Hungarian graduates. Hungarians are represented more proportionally among secondary-school leavers. The proportion of Hungarians with basic qualifications (the equivalent of the senior level of a first school) is better, that is, higher than the national average and the Romanian average. The proportions of Hungarians with no school education and of illiterate Hungarians are also better, in this case much lower than the Romanian average and the national average.

Table 35
The number of 12-year-old and above ethnic Hungarians according to school qualifications in Romania
in 1992 and the corresponding national, Transylvanian and ethnic Romanian figures

School qualifications Hungarians National average Transyl. average National aver. for Roman.-s
Number % %
1,389,042  100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
  Further education
  49,592   3.6   5.1   4.8   5.3
  Vocational sch. after secondary school
  23,449   1.7   2.0   2.0   2.0
  Secondary school
257,930 18.6 18.4 19.0 18.8
  Vocational school
203,794 14.7 14.1 14.7 14.3
  Senior sect.+1 grade of second. school
550,692 39.6 32.1 35.3 31.4
  Primary school
275,436 19.8 23.6 20.4 23.7
  Without school education and other
  28,149   2.0   4.7   3.8   4.5
  Of these. illiterate
  14,422   1.0   3.1   2.3   3.0

Among full-time Hungarian students the proportion of those in further education was lower than the average at the time of the 1992 census (Table 36). Ethnic Hungarian students in further education are particularly poorly represented at faculties of Law, Economics, Transport and Communication, but their presence falls far short of their ethnic proportions in faculties of Gymnastics and Sport, Medicine, Agriculture and Architecture as well. There are also few Hungarian students in secondary schools specialising in Transport and Communication, and also a disproportionately small number of Hungarians in grammar schools specialising in Gymnastics, Forestry, Informatics and Economics. The proportion of ethnic Hungarians is satisfactory in vocational training related to branches of industry, and their proportion is definitely high in the humanities. This is mainly true for schools training teachers, theologians and art students, but, in terms of attendance levels, secondary schools with high academic standards can also be regarded as especially important in Hungarian education. These institutions are often chosen because, in the absence of adequate Hungarian vocational training, they represent nearly the only opportunity for Hungarian students to learn in their mother tongue at secondary-school level. On average, between the years 1991 and 1994, approximately three-quarters of Hungarian students in primary and secondary education pursued their studies in their native language. If we look at the different stages of education and school types, the higher the level, the smaller this proportion becomes. The proportion of Hungarian students studying in Hungarian schools was 85 per cent in junior sections of primary schools, 80 per cent in senior sections, but slightly over two-thirds in secondary schools and only between 35 and 40 per cent in vocational schools (where only a single class or a specialised part of the class studied in Hungarian). In further education the teaching language is nearly exclusively Romanian. The drop-out rate among native Hungarian students is highest in areas where Hungarians are settled sporadically. Here, half of Hungarian children (in Hunyad and Temes counties almost three-quarters) are enrolled in Romanian schools in the first class of primary school.

Table 36
Students at different educational levels according
to the two major nationalities in Romania in 1992

Level of education Hungarians National average Romanians
Number % % %
254,890  100.0 100.0 100.0
  Further education
12,842   5.0   6.1   6.2
  Vocat. sch. after sec. school
  2,416   0.9   0.8   0.8
  General secondary school
22,197   8.7   6.6   6.5
  Special secondary school
33,780 13.3 13.5 13.7
  Vocational school
19,370   7.6   7.3   7.4
  Senior section
90,106 35.4 35.1 35.0
  Primary school
74,179 29.1 30.6 30.4

The number of Hungarians among the economically active population was 698.8 thousand (6.7 per cent). This represents 137.5 thousand fewer than in 1977. The decrease was higher than the national average partly because of ageing and emigration, partly because of a reduction in economic activity among the working-age population, particularly among women, and also because of earlier retirement ages. The reasons mentioned, as well as the fact that younger age groups migrated to towns, explains why the participation of rural Hungarians within the economy was particularly low (see Tables 37 and 38).

Table 37
The economically active population in Romania nationally and among Romanians and Hungarians
between the 1977 and 1992 censuses, and according to major age groups and the percentage of men
at the time of the 1992 census

Nationality 1977 1992 Of these
x 1,000 persons % x 1,000 persons % under 30 30-49
years old
over 50 Men
10,793.6 100.0 10,465.5 100.0 33.1 50.1 16.8 55.3
  9,590.7 88.9   9,500.8 90.8 33.0 50.0 17.0 54.9
   836.3  7.7    698.8  6.7 32.7 52.7 14.6 57.4

Table 38
The proportion of the economically active population in Romania nationally
and among
Romanians and Hungarians according to settlement type
and sex at the time of the 1992 census

Nationality Total Towns Villages
Total Men Women Total Men Women Total Men Women
45.9 51.6 40.4 47.2 51.8 42.7 44.3 51.3 37.5
46.6 51.9 41.4 47.7 52.1 43.5 45.2 51.7 38.8
43.0 51.0 35.5 45.7 51.6 40.4 39.5 50.2 28.8

The structure of the active Hungarian population shows a very low proportion within the primary sector (agriculture) and the predominance of the secondary sector (branches of industry). The proportion of persons working in the tertiary sector (trade and services) in the active Hungarian population approximates to the national average. A relatively high proportion of persons seeking first-time employment (in practice, the young unemployed) can be found among Hungarians (Table 39).

Table 39
The active population per sector of the economy in Romania
between 1966 and 1992 according to the two main ethnic groups

Sectors of economy Year Total Romanian Hungarian
Primary sector 1966 58.6 59.8 50.0
1977 38.5 38.8 30.5
1992 23.1 23.5 16.2
Secondary sector 1966 23.3 22.3 31.1
1977 38.0 37.7 46.5
1992 44.7 44.3 52.7
Tertiary sector 1966 18.1 17.9 18.9
1977 23.5 23.5 23.0
1992 27.8 28.0 26.3
Persons seeking
first-time employment
1992 4.4 4.2 4.8

Over half (52.7 per cent) of active ethnic Hungarians work in industry and in the construction industry. Their proportion is particularly high (two and three times higher than the average proportion of active ethnic Hungarians proportion within the active population of Romania) in certain processing branches of light industry (furniture, clothing, leather, fur and timber industries) and also significant (nearly one and a half times higher) in the iron, steel, metal, ceramics, and cement industries and in the production of other building materials. In the tertiary sectors the proportion of Hungarians is well above the national proportions of ethnic Hungarian employees in trade, health, education, culture, arts and in other services, as well as among the employees of social and church organisations. The reason why the number of Hungarians in this sector falls short of the national average can be found in their under-representation in transport, telecommunications, research, informatics and, in particular, in public administration (Table 40).

Table 40
The active Hungarian population in major branches of the economy in Romania
in 1992 compared with the distribution of the active Transylvanian population
and active ethnic Romanians according to major branches of the economy

Branch of economy Hungarians National average Transylvanian average National average of Rom.-s
Number % %
698,798 100.0   100.0   100.0   100.0  
106,068 15.2  22.3  18.2  22.7 
  Industry, mining
318,951 45.6  37.3  41.9  36.9 
  Construction industry
  37,512  5.4  5.6  4.9  5.6
  Trade, tourism, public supply
  50,677  7.3  6.6  7.0  6.5
  Transport, telecommunications
  33,746  4.8  6.1  5.8  6.2
  Research, development, informatics
  10,143  1.5  2.3  1.7  2.4
  Banking, finance, insurance
    3,965  0.6  0.5  0.6  0.6
  Public administration
  11,996  1.7  3.1  2.7  3.2
  26,757  3.8  3.7  4.0  3.7
  24,398  3.5  3.1  3.4  3.1
  Culture and arts
    4,152  0.6  0.5  0.5  0.5

In major occupation groups the proportion of ethnic Hungarians surpasses the national average among skilled workers, employees in trade and the service industry, and among unskilled workers. Romanian Hungarians, in keeping with their education figures, usually appear as under-represented for their number in special fields requiring further education qualifications. In occupations which require intermediate qualifications and vocational qualifications their representation is generally proportional.

Table 41
The active Hungarian population according to occupation groups in Romania
in 1992 compared with the corresponding national, Transylvanian and ethnic Romanian figures
Occupational groups Hungarians National average Transylvanian average National average of Rom.-s
Number % %
698,798   100.0   100.0   100.0   100.0  
  Senior offic. of the state and econom. managers
  9,126   1.3   1.6   1.6   1.6
  Professionals and researches
30,901   4.4   5.9   5.6   6.0
67,771   9.7 10.2 10.2 10.4
  Office workers
32,435   4.6   4.7   5.1   4.8
  Employees in trade and services
40,303   5.8   5.1   5.6   5.1
  Agricultural workers
78,159 11.2 18.5 14.9 19.0
  Skilled workers
351,177   50.2 42.4 44.8 42.0
  Unskilled workers
50,639   7.3   6.3   7.2   6.0

The proportion of the elected representatives of Hungarians in the leadership of state administration approximately followed political arithmetics. In other fields of administration, however, where officials are not elected but appointed, the proportion of Hungarians does not even reach half of their national proportion in terms of active workers. An analysis of the higher intellectual stratum reveals that their proportion is similarly low among researchers in the natural and applied sciences, and particularly among economists, lawyers and experts in the social sciences and humanities. Hungarians are represented more strongly than the average in occupations requiring high-level intermediate studies (expert technicians) in health, primary education, and economic and administration management, but more poorly in jobs closely related to production. It is interesting to note that an extremely low proportion of Hungarians (fewer than one-sixth of their proportion with respect to nationality) were found among experts in sea, river and air transport as well as among policemen and detectives. In service and trade the ratio of Hungarians exceeds their proportion with respect to nationality among the economically active population mainly among public servants, social workers and shop assistants. There are far fewer Hungarians among employees preserving and defending public order. Among skilled workers the ratio of Hungarians corresponds to their proportion in different branches of the economy and it only sinks below their nationality proportion among electrical engineering, electronic and precision-engineering mechanicians. Agricultural workers form only one-tenth of the active Hungarian population. This also means that nearly one-third of ethnic Hungarians working in the primary sector do not work in agriculture (this ratio is 20 per cent nationally), but, taking the national proportion as a basis, most of them are supposed to be mechanicians, skilled and unskilled workers.

The above represents a summary of the major available data regarding the demographic structure of Romanian Hungarians. We have deliberately avoided concentrating on the "how many?" question which so often leads to religious dispute. In fact, this question could hardly be answered accurately even in the case of the most trustworthy of surveys because of the oscillations in nationality, native language and denominational figures, and also due to extended inter-ethnic relations within families. There is a more serious issue to be considered: it is a sad fact that the Romanian population has also entered a phase of natural decrease. As we pointed out in the first part of the study, this demographic turn occurred first in Transylvania, and it began among the Hungarian population (almost simultaneously with the similar process in Hungary) preceding the Romanian ethnic community.

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Statistică emigrărilor din România
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Statisztikai negyedévi közlemények
- 1942-1944 [Statistical Quarterly.] 1-2/1942-1944 (XLV-XLVII). M. Kir. Központi Statisztikai Hivatal [Hungarian Royal Central Statistical Office], Budapest.

R. SÜLE, Andrea
- 1988 Tények és következtetések a II. világháború utáni román népszámlálások adatai alapján. [Facts and Consequences based on the Romanian Censuses after World War II.] In: Magyarságkutatás. A Magyarságkutató Intézet évkönyve. [Yearbook of the Insitute for Hungarology.] Ed. Gyula Juhász. Magyarságkutató Intézet, Budapest, pp. 123-144.

Teroarea Horthysto-fascistă în Nord-vestul României septembrie 1940 - octombrie 1944
- 1985 [The Horthy-Fascist Terror in the North-West of Romania in September 1940.] Ed. Mihai Fătu, Mircea Muşat. Editura Politică, Bucureşti. 325p.

- 1938 Magyarország Trianontól napjainkig. Népesség és népmozgalom. [Hungary from Trianon to the Present. Population and Population Movement.] Magyar Statisztikai Szemle 4, 1938 (XVI), pp. 375-390.
- 1943 Természetes és tényleges népszaporodás a két legutolsó népszámlálás közt a trianoni és a visszacsatolt területeken. [Natural and Actual Population Growth between the Last Two Censuses on Trianon Territory and the Reattached Areas.] Magyar Statisztikai Szemle 7, 1943 (XXI), pp. 352-359.
- 1963 Magyarország népessége 1869-1949 között. [The Demography of Hungary between 1869-1949.] In: Magyarország történeti demográfiája. [The Historical Demography of Hungary]. Ed. József Kovacsics. Közgazdasági és Jogi Könyvkiadó, Budapest, pp. 221-388.

VARGA E., Árpád
- 1994a Városodás, vándorlás, nemzetiség. Adatok és szempontok az erdélyi városi térségek etnikai arculatváltásának vizsgálatához. [Urbanisation, Migration and Ethnicity. Data and Perspectives on the Analysis of the Ethnic Changes in Transylvanian Urban Territories] Erdélyi Szemle 5-6, pp. 156-197. (Extended and modified version of the study published in Regio 4, 1991. )
- 1994b Erdély anyanyelvi, nemzetiségi és felekezeti statisztikája 1880-1992. [Statistics for Transylvania relating to Mother Tongue, Nationality and Denomination 1880-1992.] Magyarság és Európa 4, 1994 (II), pp. 20-52. (Extended and modified version : Limbă maternă, naţionalitate, confesiune. Date privind Transilvania în perioada 1880-1992. [Mother Tongue, Nationality, Religion. Data from Transylvania 1880-1992.] In: Fizionomia etnică şi confesională fluctuantă a regiunii Carpato-balcanice şi a Transilvaniei. [Changes in the Ethnic and Denominational Physiognomy of the Balkan-Carpathian Region and Transylvania.] Asociaţia Culturală Haáz Rezső [Haáz Rezső Cultural Association], Odorheiu Secuiesc, pp. 83-133. (Caiete Muzeale 14. )
- 1994c Az erdélyi magyarság lélekszámáról. [On the Demography of the Transylvanian Hungarians.] Tiszatáj 8, 1994 (XLVIII), pp. 78-96. Extended and modified version: Despre numărul maghiarilor din Transilvania. In: Fizionomia etnică şi confesională fluctuantă a regiunii Carpato-balcanice şi a Transilvaniei. [Changes in the Ethnic and Denominational Physiognomy of the Balkan-Carpathian Region and Transylvania.] Asociaţia Culturală Haáz Rezső [Haáz Rezső Cultural Association], Odorheiu Secuiesc, pp. 45-81. (Caiete Muzeale 14. )
- 1996a A romániai magyarság főbb demográfiai jellemzői az 1992. évi népszámlálás eredményeinek tükrében. [Main Demographic Characteristics of the Hungarian Population of Transylvania, according to the Results of the 1992 Census.] Hitel 3, 1996 (IX), pp. 68-84.
- 1996b Az 1977. évi romániai népszámlálásról az újabb adatközlések tükrében. [On the Romanian Census of 1977 on the Basis of New Publication of Data.] In: Erdély etnikai arculatának változása. [Changes in the Ethnic Physiognomy of Transylvania.] Teleki László Alapítvány Könyvtár és Dokumentációs Szolgálata [Library and Documentation Service of the Teleki László Foundation], Budapest, pp. 71-107. (Kisebbségi adattár. )
- 1997 A népesség fejlődése, az etnikai és felekezeti viszonyok alakulása a jelenkori Erdély területén 1869-1920 között. [Population Development and the Dynamics of Ethnic and Denominational Relations in the Territory of Contemporary Transylvania in 1869-1920.] Erdélyi Múzeum 1-2, 1997 (LIX), pp. 40-87.

WINKLER, Wilhelm
- 1919 Die Totenverluste der öst. -ung. Monarchie nach Nationalitäten. [The War Losses of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy according to Nationality.] Seidl und Sohn, Wien. VI, 84p, 14 tables.

Supplementary Tables