On the front page of our work ethnic maps of the present-day territory of the Vojvodina are displayed with the help of pie-charts, based on ethnic (2002) and mother tongue (1941) data. Population-proportional pie diagrams provide information on the territorial distribution of the major ethnic groups and on the contemporary administrative division. When giving the names of the settlements the prevailing official names are given in the first place, then below them - in case of towns - the Hungarian names, while in case of other ethnic mixed settlements the locally important minority names are displayed at both times. The maps on the front side reflect the ethnicity data of the 2002 census in Serbia; the results of the Hungarian census in 1941 in Bačka, returned to Hungary at that time; and our estimations referring to 1941, based on mainly the Yugoslavian census data of 1921, 1931, and 1948 in Syrmia (Srem) attached to Croatia and in Banat, remaining part of Serbia though under German occupation, as well as population estimates of the NDH („Independent State of Croatia”) referring to the end of 1941 (in Syrmia) . The eight supplementary maps on the back side show the linguistic-ethnic composition of the present-day territory of the Vojvodina in 1495, 1784, 1880, 1910, 1931, 1941, 1991 and 2002 respectively. The chart here explores the quantitative and proportional changes of the main ethnic groups’ population between 1495 and 2002. The data displayed on the supplementary maps and the chart, referring to the „ethnic-linguistic-origin” structure of the population living there before 1857 can be described as vague and of a rather varied nature - due to the lack of censuses also collecting comprehensive ethnic information. At the time of the Hungarian royal tax registration in 1495, conclusions for a probable absolute or relative „ethnic” majority of the population living in the inhabited areas of the studied territory - the administrative areas of present-day settlements - could be drawn from the given sources through analysing direct references of „ethnic nature”, in most cases by the linguistic analysis of taxpayers’ names and that of geographical names. Inhabited areas, existing settlements were determined on the basis of Csánki, D. (1894), Engel P. (2001)  in 1495 and Neu, J, (1782-84)  in 1784. The ethnic majority of particular settlements at the end of the 18th century was determined primarily on the basis of historical monographs  on settlements, shires, and migrations, as well as Nagy L. (1828), Fényes E. (1839-43) and Popović, D.J. (1950, 1955) . Due to the limited opportunity of cartographic representation, deriving from scale relations, a simple surface cartographic representation method was used for displaying the absolute or relative ethnic majority of the population on the inhabited territory of the present-day settlements. While using this method we had to disregard ethnic mixing within individual settlements. The series of maps displays absolute or relative ethnic majorities only in the inhabited areas of the settlements mentioned in the particular sources. Uninhabited areas with no permanent settlements are covered with white spots. In order to help better understanding, on the supplementary maps the names of the most important settlements are given in the ever prevailing official, contemporarily dominant form.
Calculating on the basis of Kubinyi, A. (1966) , who processed the data of the tax inventory conducted in 1495 by Sigismund Ernust, Chancellor of the Royal Treasury , about 194.000 inhabitants might have been living on the present-day territory of Vojvodina in a rather uneven territorial distribution. While in South Banat, lying near the Ottoman Empire, having been exposed to almost continuous Turkish devastation ever since 1394 the density of population was only 2 - 7, in Bačka and in North Banat, lying farther from the frontier in a safer area it was 11 - 13; whereas in Syrmia (Srem), a rich wine producing area of international fame, giving new home to several thousands of Serbian refugees living in a secured area defended by the fortifications of Belgrade and Šabac it was 14 persons/km2. 52 townships (civitas, oppidium) and 801 villages could be found in the studied area, in which Hungarians are likely to have constituted the majority of population , except for 9 townships and 145 villages of Serbian dominance and 76 villages of Croatian dominance. County level estimations concerning the ethnic distribution of the population living on the present-day territory of the Vojvodina in and around 1495 were made on the basis of the number of settlements with Hungarian, Serbian or Croatian dominance . Thus we estimated the number of population bearing Hungarian-sounding names ? or living in settlements of this character ? in this area at 148,000 persons, their ratio at 76.1%; that of Southern Slavs of Orthodox religious affiliation (Serbs, „Rascians”) at 39,000 persons and 20%; while in case of Catholic Southern Slavs (Croats, Slavonians) the corresponding figures are 7,500 and 3.9% respectively (Table 1.). Two thirds of Hungarians lived in Bačka, which had an almost completely Hungarian character at the time, where their most important towns were the county seats, i.e. Bács-Bač, Bodrog and also Futak-Futog, Titel, Pest-Bačka Palanka, Szond-Sonta, and Coborszentmihály-Sombor (Map 1.). Similar Hungarian dominance could be observed in the Banat up to the line of the Temes / Tamiš - Berzava rivers, where the most Hungarians are likely to have lived in the Hungarian Révkanizsa-Novi Kneževac, Oroszlános-Ban.Aranđelovo, Becse-Novi Bečej, Aracsa-Arača, and Becskerek-Zrenjanin. Due to the Ottoman/Turkish military campaigns of the 15th century as well as the almost uninterrupted immigration of Serbs, the Hungarians of Syrmia gradually were driven to the safer Northern Danubian area, to the foots of the forested Fruška Gora mountains and to the towns (e.g. Péterváradja-Petrovaradin, Karom-Sremski Karlovci, Kamanc-Sremska Kamenica, Cserög-Čerević, Szalánkemén-Slankamen, Árpatarló-Ruma, Rednek-Vrdnik, Nagyolasz-Manđelos) . The ethnic territory of Serbs, having moved in several waves since the end of the 14th century (often lead by their despots), or settled in bulks by the Hungarian frontier defence authorities, being given religious privileges and tax (tenths) exemption basically reached as far as South Banat, the Sava region and the South-Eastern part of Syrmia. Serbian refugees concentrated in especially great numbers around the townships of Haram-Ban. Palanka, Kevi-Kovin, Pancsal-Pančevo, Kölpény-Kupinovo, Szentdemeter-Sremska Mitrovica and Racsa-Sremska Rača. In the latter area, the Eastern part of the historical Valkó-Vuka county, mainly around the towns of Marót-Morović, Berekszó-Berkasovo and Újlak-Ilok, an ever growing territory was occupied by the Catholic Southern Slavs (Croats), either indigenous or running away from Bosnia.
In the Middle Ages the most densely populated ethnic Hungarian territories of Hungary in the South lost their Hungarian population almost completely for a period of more than two centuries. The main reasons for this dramatic loss of population were the Hungarian peasants’ uprising of 1514, lead by George Dózsa (further worsened by the devastation caused by the army forces of the Serbian despot, Šiljanović)  ; the military campaigns (1521-29 in Syrmia, 1541 in Bačka, 1551-52 in Banat) resulting in continuous Ottoman (Turkish) occupation; and the ravages of Jovan Crni (Nenad)’s Serbian troops in 1527. Following the Turkish invasion it was mainly the nobility, the clergy and the officials who fled from the biggest towns in Syrmia, mostly populated by Hungarians - while the majority of the civilian middle-class population who stayed there, Hungarian Catholics or Hussites, converted to the Islamic faith . Besides these latter so called „renegades”, the number of Muslim population of the significant towns and fortifications was further increased by Turks and Southern Slavs, having converted from Christianity to the Islamic faith, moving in from the surrounding areas or the Balkans. Besides the ruins of the former Hungarian villages destroyed or depopulated in the first half of the 16th century, settlements of Serbs were formed. These Serbs, who settled in several waves, mostly between 1526 and 1560, were stock-breeders and soldiers integrating into the Ottoman-Turkish military organization . According to the Turkish „defters” in the first decades of the occupation (1543-1579) , the majority of the rural population on the territory of the present-day Vojvodina was Serbian. In this period (1567-1578) the following settlements had the largest Christian (mostly Serbian) population, i.e. the largest number of taxpaying households („hane”) : Karom-Sremski Karlovci 485, Bács-Bač 426, Módos-Jaša Tomić 186, Becse-Novi Bečej 174, Becskerek-Zrenjanin 166, Pancsova-Pančevo 161 and Titel 155. The remaining Christian Hungarians fled even from the Northern edge of the Banat (e.g. Oroszlános-Ban. Aranđelovo, Rév-Kanizsa-Novi Kneževac) in the first half of the 17th century, while Muslim Hungarians assimilated more and more to the Serbo-Croatian speaking environment in the towns of Syrmia . However, Szabadka-Subotica and Martonos on the Northern edge of Bačka were settlements of Hungarian ethnic dominance even in 1664 (disregarding Muslim military forces) . On the basis of the number of houses, Irig (2000) and Mitrovica (1500), the seat of the Syrmia sanjak could be considered the most populous towns at the time, while on the basis of the number of soldiers the most important fortifications were Pétervárad-Petrovaradin and Mitrovica (2000 - 2000) .
Most of Bačka and Syrmia was liberated from the Ottoman (Turkish) rule after the Peace Treaty of Karlowitz (Sremski Karlovci) (1699). From the beginning of the liberating military campaigns in the area (1687 - 88) significant changes took place in the ethnic-religious structure of the population. The Muslims withdrawing from advancing Christian forces fled mainly to Bosnia, while some of the Bosnian Catholics (Shokatzes of the Tuzla area and Bunjevci of Herzegovina) fled to Slavonia, Baranya, Bačka. Following the defeats of the liberating Christian army in the Balkans and the retaking of Belgrade by the Turks in 1690, tens of thousands of Serbs fearing Turkish revenge fled to Syrmia, Bačka and other Danubian regions, lead by their patriarch, Arsenije III Crnojević (1633 - 1706). The Supreme Command in Vienna made most of them settle in the newly reorganized Military Frontier in the region of the Danube, Tisza and Maros rivers. During the time of the Hungarian War of Independence (1703 - 1711), lead by prince F. Rákóczi II the Serbs - as faithful allies of the Hapsburg Emperor Leopold I - ravaged the middle regions of the Great Plain (mainly the vicinity of Kecskemét) quite frequently. As a reply to that, the Hungarian troops tried to drive the Serbs out of Bačka in several military campaigns (in 1704 lead by Rákóczi). As a result of the revenge campaigns between Hungarians and Serbs, the region between the Danube and the Tisza rivers became almost completely depopulated by 1710 .
Following the supression of the War of Independence lead by Rákóczi (1711), the Austrian - Turkish War in 1716 - 18, and the retaking of the Banat, a census of the taxpaying population of Hungary was taken in 1720. As a result of this, on the present-day Serbian territory of the Bačka 3,111 taxpaying heads of households were recorded, out of whom 97.6 % had Serbian or Croatian, 1.9 % Hungarian and 0.5 % German names . In this period - due to mercantilistic economic and political considerations - most settlers to the extremely thinly populated desolate South Hungarian regions were recruited from among Roman Catholic Germans of Western and Central Europe. These politically reliable Germans with great production experience and economic culture were settled in the more significant borderland fortifications and towns (e.g. Pétervárad-Petrovaradin, Zimony-Zemun, Pancsova-Pančevo, Fehértemplom-Bela Crkva), in the Western parts of Bačka, and the Southern parts of Banat . In the course of the next Austrian-Turkish War (1737 - 1739) not only crowds of Serbs fled from the Balkans, but also Roman Catholic Albanians and Bugarians into Syrmia and the Banat (1737) .
The masse resettling of Hungarians could only take place after Maria Theresa’s succession to the throne (1740). By that time the Tisza-Maros Military Frontier had lost its military importance, and was gradually terminated between 1741 - 1750. Thus the Serbs (about 2,200 - 2,400 families) who had got used to following a military course of life and also to total political independence from Hungarian authorities began to move to the rarely populated Western areas of the Banat and also to the newly organized Military Frontier in the South Banat . Replacing the leaving Serbs the spontaneous and organized settling of Hungarians went on almost uninterruptedly from the North (chiefly from the vicinity of Szeged and the central areas of the Great Hungarian Plain) to the Tisza Crown District, formed in 1745 and to Subotica and its vicinity. Due to this period the core of the Hungarian ethnic territory of the present-day Vojvodina, the Szabadka / Subotica-Tisza Region (Potisje) Hungarian ethnic block came to existence. After the „decree of colonization” (1763) of Maria Theresia the further settling of Germans with state help was given great emphasis . This process was accompanied by large scale immigration of Slovaks, Ruthenians and Romanians on the territory of the present-day Vojvodina. The basic characteristics of that ethnic-religious heterogeneity, later so characteristic of this province also took shape at that time.
Also during the reign of Joseph II (1780 - 1790) great state support was given to the colonization of German population (chiefly in Bačka), but this time the settling of protestants was also made possible . According to our calculations based on the data of the first census taken in Hungary between 1784-1787 476,000 inhabitants could live on the territory of the present-day Vojvodina, in the following ratios of ethnic affiliation: 59.2% Serbs, 12.4% Germans, 10.6% Hungarians, 8% Croats, 5.8% Romanians (Table 1.) (Map 2.). The colonization of Germans was halted by the last Austrian-Turkish War (1787 - 1790), in the course of which 2,533 families fled from Serbia to the Banat and 8259 inhabitants to the destroyed areas of Syrmia . During the reign of Francis I. the main target of colonization was the still thinly populated Banat. In this period significant numbers of Hungarians, Slovaks, Romanians, Croats and Czechs could settle here besides Germans. During the Napoleonic wars the colonization organized by the state was halted at most times, but about 6,000 German and Croatian refugees withdrawing from advancing French troops fled to South Hungary . From 1817 the immigration of foreigners (chiefly the settling of Germans and the fleeing of Serbs from Serbia) became slower and sporadic. In the first half of the 19th century it was the continuous and ever intensifying North-South movement of Hungarians that played the most important role in the internal migration.
During the Hungarian War of Independence of 1848 - 49, in the period following the declaration of the Serbian Vojvodina (13-15th May, 1849, Karlóca-Sremski Karlovci), independent of Hungary, the most local Hungarian and German settlements were burnt down, their inhabitants were expelled by the Serbs in the course of the fights between the Hungarian Army and the local and Serbian Serbs. After 1849 some of the Serbs, having suffered serious losses and having lost their faith in the Austrian Empire, moved to the Serbian Principality, given autonomy within the Ottoman Empire. The previously fleeing Hungarian and German population returned to their settlements, where their ethnic importance was further strengthened by those Hungarian settlers who continuously arrived from the North and bought or rented fields, or simply sought employment on the large local landed estates. These processes were reflected by the Austrian census in 1857, according to which out of the 1.03 million inhabitants living in the studied area only 40.5% were Serbs, while the proportion of Germans reached 21.1% and that of Hungarians 19.6% (Table 1.).
During the period of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, the rapid economic development and the improvement of public health conditions resulted in a high natural increase of the population chiefly on the territories of Hungarian and German ethnic dominance . This Hungarian demographic tension on the Great Hungarian Plain caused ever growing social problems (fragmentation of landed estates, poverty, unemployment etc.). Attempts were made to ease these tensions by parcelling out landed estates belonging to the treasury combined with state colonizing policies also taking into consideration aspects of national politics  (Map 3.). Small scale waves of state assisted colonization between 1883 and 1889, affecting not only Hungarians, but also Germans, Slovaks and Bulgarians, did not cause any significant reshaping in the ethnic patterns of the region’s population . The increase in the number of Hungarians and Hungarian settlements could be rather attributed to spontaneous internal migrations and private colonization (besides their natural increase). The number of Hungarians grew rapidly in bigger towns and also in manors of larger landed estates as well as in some industrial centres . Natural assimilation also contributed to the increase of the number of inhabitants declaring themselves Hungarians to a small extent. This could be observed mainly among German, Croat (Bunjevac), Jewish, Serbian urban middle-class citizens and Catholic Bulgarians in the Banat. Inhabitants of the overpopulated German villages sought new opportunities in ever growing numbers in the neighbouring non-German settlements and in Syrmia, then, from the end of the 19th century abroad, chiefly overseas. In the period between 1899 and 1913 about 150,000 persons emigrated from the territory of the present-day Vojvodina, 53% of whom were Germans (mainly from the Banat) .
At the time of the 1910 Hungarian census 1.51 million inhabitants were registered on the territory of the present-day Vojvodina, out of whom 33.8 % declared Serbian, 28.1% Hungarian, 21.4% German, 6% Croatian (Bunjevac, Šokac), 5% Romanian, 3.7% Slovakian „mother tongue” (Table 1.). The Hungarian ethnic territory in the studied area had not been larger than in this period since the 16th century (Map 4.). Compared to 1880, the number of settlements with Hungarian ethnic dominance grew to 134 (1880: 103), that of Germans to 89 (84), Slovakians to 18 (15) while the number of settlements with Serbian ethnic dominance decreased to 203 (216). In the mostly Serbian dominated Syrmia, as a result of the large scale immigration of Germans, Croats, Hungarians, Slovaks, Ruthenians, the proportion of the Serbs decreased to 58.3% (1880: 64.6%, 1787: 89.9%).
At the end of World War I Serbian troops supported by the Entente re-took control of Serbia and Montenegro, then - between 7-14 November, 1918 - they also occupied Syrmia, Slavonia and Southern-Hungary as far as the Barcs-Pécs-Baja-Szeged-Arad line. Later, on 25 November, 1918 the representatives of the Serbian minority in Novi Sad declared the annexation of the occupied territories to Serbia. The Serbian authorities immediately started to eliminate all traces of Hungarian statehood. Power was given to the local Serbs, most Hungarian civil servants were dismissed or forced to retire. Those who could keep their employment were demanded pledge allegiance instantly, the schools were nationalized (20 August 1920). On 1 December 1918 the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was declared, whose borders were determined between September 1919 and November 1920. On 25. 02. 1919 the expropriation of most latifundiums larger than 500 cadastral acres ? owned mainly by Hungarian, German and Jewish proprietors ? was ordered by the new Yugoslavian rule. The „agrarian reform” served nationalistic purposes (aimed at the economic ruining of Hungarian-German landowners directly and Hungarian peasantry and workers indirectly), and also social purposes (satisfying the thirst for land among Southern Slavic, mainly Serbian population). Hungarians were almost completely excluded from the distribution of land, at the same time the former, mostly Hungarian ? and by that time already unemployed ? workers, farm labourers, servants and tenants of the confiscated large estates were expelled in order to make room for Serbian and Croatian settlers. According to our calculations ? between 1918 and 1931 ? 45,000 Serbs and 3,000 optant Bunjevatzes were settled besides local Slavs onto that land of 468,989 cadastral acres confiscated until 31 January 1939 on the present-day territory of the Vojvodina, in a Hungarian ethnic space, chiefly in a zone of about 50 kilometres from the border. As a result of this the number of settlements with Serbian ethnic dominance increased from 203 to 258, that of Croatians from 20 to 22, while the number of settlements with Hungarian ethnic dominance dropped to 90 from 134 (Map 5.). Due to state colonization the Serbian ethnic space expanded especially in the neighbourhoods of Bačka Topola-Topolya, Novi Sad-Újvidék, and Zrenjanin-Nagybecskerek as well as South of Kikinda . In the Serbian part of the Banat the number of Romanians dropped of 10,000 due to their emigration to Romania.
These basic changes in the political situation ? resulting in massive migrations of opposite directions ? were also reflected in the results of the 1931 Yugoslav census. In respect of the Vojvodina’s present-day territory, the proportion of Serbs ? out of the total population of 1.62 million ? increased to 37.8% (1910: 3.8%) while the number of Hungarians fell to 376,000 inhabitants, i.e. 23.2 % in proportion (1910: 28.1%) (Table 1.). As a consequence of fleeing, being expelled, emigration, dissimilation of some earlier Magyarized Germans and Croats, and census manipulations, the 1931 census registered a drop of 50,000 in the number of Hungarian population, and an increase of 101,000 of Serbian population compared to data from 1910 on the territory of the present-day Vojvodina.
During the time of World War II the German and Italian troops began the relatively fast overrunning of the country that was in an insecure position also due to its heterogeneous ethnic composition on 6th April 1941. The operation officially ended on 17th April with Serbian capitulation. In the meantime the „Independent State of Croatia” (NDH) was declared in Zagreb on 10th April, which meant the disintegration of Yugoslavia. On the following day, 11th April, Hungarian troops entered Southern Baranya and Bačka, having belonged to Hungary until 1918, still having a relative Hungarian majority. According to the resolutions of the Vienna Conference Hungary could keep the re-occupied Bačka, the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) was given Syrmia, the Banat fell under German military control, thoretically as a part of Serbia. In which returned to Hungary, the internment and deportation of those Serbs was started  who had settled in after 31st December 1918 and had not escaped yet. At the same time projects of state colonization were launched, aiming at stregthening local Hungarians, having weakened during the time of Serbian rule. In the course of these, 13,200 Hungarians (3,279 families) from Bukovina, 161 Hungarians (53 families) from Moldova and 481 other Hungarian families, i.e. 2,325 persons were settled in the former Serbian settlers’ evacuated colonies between 11th May 1941 and 20th June 1941 . Besides agricultural colonization about 20,000 inhabitants from the „mother country” also settled in Bačka between 1941 and 1944. As a result of this, according to the Hungarian census taken here between 11th and 25th November 1941, out of the 804,000 inhabitants living in the re-occupied part of Bačka 44.7% declared themselves Hungarian, 20.2% German, and 19.7 Serbian ? in respect of their mother tongues (native languages) (Map 6., front page map). According to our estimations, 1.66 million inhabitants could live on the present-day territory of the Vojvodina at that time, in the following proportions of mother tongues: 36.2% Serbs, 28.5% Hungarians, 19.1% Germans, 6.1% Croats (Table 1.).
A few months after the re-annexation of Bačka the sabotage activities of the Serbian-Yugoslavian partisans started, becoming even more intense after the middle of December 1941. Their activities concentrated mainly on the territory of the Serbian ethnic block in the South-Eastern corners of Bačka, i.e. the Šajkaš District, where losses were revenged in an increasingly determined and fierce way by the Hungarian army, gendarmerie and counter-intelligence corps. Cruel raids against the local Serbian population, who were held responsible collectively, spread to Óbecse-Bečej, Szenttamás-Srbobran and Újvidék-Novi Sad in January 1942. 2,550 Serbs, 743 Jews and 47 inhabitants of other ethnicity fell victim to these waves of massive retaliation . In the period between 1941 and 1945, the losses of Serbs in Syrmia ? being attached to the Ustasha Croatian state ? amounted to about 20% (33,000 persons), due to their internment to concentration camps, partizan war and front-line military losses .
After the German occupation of Hungary (19th March 1944) 16,034 Jewish people (10,000 Hungarian native speakers among them) were deported to the German Empire from Bačka. Later, in September and October of 1944 Hungarian authorities and Hungarians having settled here after 1941 started to flee in front of the advancing front-line, while about 60 - 70,000 Germans were also evacuated from Bačka .
The changes of German-Croatian-Hungarian and Soviet-Yugoslav military power and front-lines, taking place in September and October 1944, launched large scale migrations, restructuring the ethnic structure. Running away from the approaching Red Army and the Yugoslav (Serbian) partisans, about 43% of local Germans left their homeland either as recruited members of the German military forces, or as evacuated refugees. The remaining German population (about 150,000 people) ? collectively treated as war criminals ? were deprived of their wealth and driven to concentration camps , from where the survivors (34% of them) were released in 1948 . In the first few weeks thousands of Hungarians also fell victim to the retaliations by the returning Serbs . Right after the war, in the year of 1945, 389,256 cadastral acres of land owned by Germans were expropriated in the Vojvodina, which constituted 58.2% of the provincial stock of land distributed in the course of the second Yugoslavian „agrarian reform”.  84% of the land distributed among private persons were allotted to Serbs, Montenegrins and Croats (60.5% of the population). Between September 1945 and July 1947 ? grabbing the exceptional historical opportunity ? 225,696 people (162,447 Serbs, 40,176 Montenegrins, 12,000 Macedonians, 7,134 Croats,, 2,091 Slovenes, etc.) were settled mainly from the Croatian and Bosnian Krajinas to the lands of the displaced Germans . Due to the above mentioned reasons the Serbs managed to regain their absolute majority (gained first in the 1540s, then lost in the 1830s) on the present-day territory of the Vojvodina (841,000 Serbs, 50.6%) by the time of the 1948 census (Table 1.). Compared to data from 1941, the number of Hungarians dropped by 44,000 (or by 75,000, taking into account those people of German origin, who rather declared themselves Hungarians by that time, fearing revenge) to a total of 429,000 people, their proportion fell to 25.8%. The remainder of the German population accounted only for 1.9% of the total population then.
Since the end of the 1940s social and spatial mobility increased also in the Vojvodina within the framework of building the Yugoslavian communist society. Economic development based on heavy industry attracted several hundred thousand village dwellers into the towns, causing deagrarization and urbanization, also bringing about the gradual breaking up of the traditional peasants’ society and closed ethnic rural communities. In urban environment, the intense ethnic mixing and mixed marriages of the rapidly growing new urban population ? with different lingual and religious backgrounds ? intensified natural linguistic assimilation on the one hand and the fading of ethnic identity on the other. This tendency was duly reflected by the rapid growth in the proportion of those ? especially starting from the 1970s ? who could not (or did not want to) define their ethnic affiliation (1961 = 0.3%, 1981 = 8.6%). An overwhelming majority of this population identified themselves only as „Yugoslav”. In 1981 the „Yugoslav” population ? both in absolute and relative terms ? reached the greatest share in bigger towns (Novi Sad-Újvidék, Subotica-Szabadka, Zrenjanin-Nagybecskerek, Sombor-Zombor, Pančevo-Pancsova) with vast attraction zones and extremely mixed ethnic hinterlands.
Between 1948 and 1991 the population of he Serbs grew by 36 %, while that of Montenegrins by 46.6% in the Voividina as a result of recurring waves of immigration from the Balkans. At the same time it was the Romanians (-34.5%), Croats (-27%), Hungarians (-20.8%), and Slovaks (-11.5%), who were especially struck by the increasing loss of their ethnic identity, i.e. who got „Yugoslavized” and tempted by the attracting „guest work” (Gastarbeit) chances in the West. As a result of colonization primarily favourable for Serbs and assimilation (getting „Serbianized”), the number of settlements with a Serbian majority rose from 310 to 326 — while the number of settlements with a Hungarian, Romanian, Croatian, and Slovakian majority fell from 93 to 86 (Hungarian); from 24 to 20 (Romanian); from 19 to 17 (Croatian) and from 17 to 16 (Slovakian) between 1941 and 1991 (Map 7.). At the time of the last „Great Yugoslav” census (31.03.1991), out of the 2 million inhabitants of the Vojvodina 56.8% declared themselves Serbians, 16.9% Hungarians, while 9.8% (198,000 people) made no reference about their ethnic affiliation (or else 174,000 of them declared themselves simply „Yugoslavs”).
During the period since the 1991 census, the changes in the population of different ethnic groups in the Vojvodina have primarily been determined by migrations of different directions and for different reasons, taking place during the war. During the time of the wars in Croatia and Bosnia the Serbs fleeing from there appeared in the Vojvodina, while several thousand members of the national minorities (especially Hungarians) escaped abroad from army recruitment . As a result of the rapidly deteriorating economic situation, poverty, and increasingly hostile interethnic relations, which followed the embargo ordered by the Security Council of the UN against „Little-Yugoslavia” (30.05.1992) it was not only the minorities but also the Serbs who moved abroad (permanently or temporarily) in ever growing numbers. Following the collapse of the Serbian Republic of Krajina and the defeats and retreat of Serbian troops in Bosnia (August of 1995) almost a quarter of a million Serbian refugees arrived in the Vojvodina. 3/4 of them settled in South-Western Bačka and Syrmia, partly in the settlements of their relatives having been colonized there between 1945 and 1948, also in the villages of Croats who had moved (or been expelled) from Syrmia, and naturally in the cities that offered favourable living conditions (e.g. 24,487 Serbs settled in Novi Sad-Újvidék, 6 - 8,000 in Ruma, Sombor-Zombor, Pančevo-Pancsova, India, Sremska Mitrovica) . A relatively small number of Serbs: 5,891 people accounting for only 2.4% of all Serbian refugees in the Vojvodina moved to the territory of the Hungarian ethnic block in the Tisza Region (Potisje). However, considerable numbers of Serbian refugees found new homes in Hungarian majority towns with good accessibility and in urbanized regions (e.g. Subotica-Szabadka 6,401, Temerin 3,444, Bečej-Óbecse 1,471, Palić-Palics 1,359 and Bačka Topola-Topolya 1,200). Due to the Serbian refugees’ settling and some of the Hungarians’ moving away, also to the natural decrease of the latter group - Hungarians lost their majority status in Temerin, Bajmok and Banatski Dvor-Törzsudvarnok by 1996. As a result of the immigration of Serbian refugees and the increasing emigration of minorities (directed mostly to their mother countries) and their assimilation, the proportion of Serbs within the total population of the Vojvodina increased from 56.8% to 65%, while that of the minorities dropped from 33.4% to 28.1, just like the proportion of those whose ethnic affiliation was unclear (from 9.8% to 6.9%).
At the time of the Serbian census of 31st March 2002 2,031,992 persons (Yugoslavian and foreign citizens, stateless or other persons) were registered on the territory of the Vojvodina. 93.2% of them made a statement about their ethnic affiliation, 2.5% (50,000) simply declared themselves „Yugoslavs”, while 0.5% (10,000) declared some regional affiliation (e.g.. belonging to the Vojvodina, Bačka or Banat). 2.7% did not answer the question referring to their ethnic identity, while there were no available ethnic data concerning 1.1% of the population. According to the answers given to the question about national-ethnic affiliation 65% of the population declared themselves Serbian, 14.3% Hungarian, 3.8% Croatian or Bunjevatz, 2.8% Slovakian, 1.7% Montenegrin, 1,5% Romanian, 1.4% Roma (Gypsy), 1% Ruthenian or Ukrainian (Table 1.). As far as their mother tongue is concerned, however, 76.6% of the population (apart from Serbs also the majority of Montenegrins, Bosnians, Muslims, Croats, Bunjevci, Macedonians) classified themselves as Serbs, 14% as Hungarians, 2.7%as Slovaks, and 1.5% as Romanians.
Serbia’s dominating nation, the Serbs (1.32 million, 65% by ethnicity, 1.56 million, 76,6% by mother tongue) increased their number on the territory of the Vojvodina in the period between 1991 and 2002 by 178,000 people (owing to Serbian refugees.) The Serbian ethnic spatial expansion was especially significant on the territory of the economically developed communas  lying near the Belgrade - Novi Sad / Újvidék - Subotica /Szabadka axis, offering relatively favourable living conditions (Map 8., front page map). At the same time the number of Serbs was more or less stagnant or it even decreased in the Tisza region and in most parts of the Banat. The Serbs represent an absolute majority in 33 out of the 45 communes of the province, accounting for a more than 70 % proportion in 22 communes (in Syrmia, South-Bačka and in the Southern and central regions of the Banat). By now 343 settlements out of the total number of 475 in the Vojvodina have a Serbian majority. The highest number of Serbs is typical of the significant regional (okrug) and commune centres: Novi Sad-Újvidék (141,000), Pančevo-Pancsova (61,000), Zrenjanin-Nagybecskerek (56,000), Sombor-Zombor (33,000), Kikinda-Nagykikinda (31,000), Sremska Mitrovica-Mitrovica (31,000), Vršac-Versec and Ruma (28 - 28,000).
In spite of large scale emigration and natural decrease of the Hungarians in the Vojvodina, their number registered in 2002 (290,000, 14.3% by ethnicity, 284,000, 14% by mother tongue) was „only” 49,000 smaller than the corresponding figure from 1991. The decline of Hungarian population figures was especially notable in the provincial seat (Novi Sad-Újvidék: -4.558 persons), and in the communes lying on the edges of their ethnic block (Subotica-Szabadka: -7,185, Bačka Topola-Topolya: -3,642, Bečej-Óbecse: -3,206 persons) , which could basically be attributed to their emigration rate higher than the average. The Hungarians represent an absolute majority in six communes mostly in North-Eastern Bačka (Kanjiža-Magyarkanizsa, Senta-Zenta, Ada, Bačka Topola-Topolya, Mali Idjoš-Kishegyes and Čoka-Csóka) and a relative majority in two (Subotica-Szabadka, Bečej-Óbecse). Primarily in the Tisza region, as well as in the peripheral regions of the province, ? most struck by the ageing and emigration of the population ? 81 settlements can be found, where, Hungarians outnumber other ethnic groups (Map 8., front page map). The most populous Hungarian communities also live in the North-Eastern parts of Bačka (Subotica-Szabadka: 35,000, Senta-Zenta: 15,900, Bečej-Óbecse: 11,700) and also in Zrenjanin-Nagybecskerek (11,600) and in Novi Sad-Újvidék (11,500).
In 2002 the number of Croats, Bunjevatzes and Shokatzes together - often mentioned in the same category because of their common religion (Roman Catholic), was 76,312 (56,546 Croats és 19,766 Bunjevatzes) by ethnicity, however, 3/4 of them declared themselves as Serbs concerning their mother tongue, while the number of those claiming to be Croatian by their native language amounted only to 21,053. The number of ethnic Croats and Bunjevatzes dropped by almost 22,000 (22.2%), compared to 1991. This drop could mostly be attributed to the fact that during the time of the war between Serbs and Croats the majority of Syrmian Croats emigrated (fled or were expelled) to Croatia. As a result of their moving away and the Serbs’ moving in, now Hrtkovci, Novi Slankamen, Kukujevci, Gibarac, Sot and Stara Bingula in Syrmia can be considered as settlements of Serbian ethnic dominance. In Bačka 10 settlements still retain their Bunjevatz and Shokatz majorities, though  (Map 8., front page map).
The number of Slovaks (56,637, 2.8% by ethnicity; 55,065, 2.7% by mother tongue) has primarily been reduced by their natural decrease during the past decade. The ethnic character of the 15 settlements with Slovakian majority has hardly been effected by the recent Serbian colonization. However, this does not apply to Stara Pazova in Syrmia, lying near Belgrade, where the biggest Slovakian community (5,848 people) live. In the Banat most Slovaks live in Kovačica and Padina, while in Bačka Bački Petrovac, Kisač, Selenča, Pivnice, Kulpin and Gložan still have the highest number of Slovakian inhabitants (Map 8., front page map).
The number (and proportion) of Montenegrins, i.e. the other nation of the Serbia-Montenegro (Crna Gora) state federation fell to 35,513 (1.7%) on the territory of the Vojvodina, due to their migrations in the 1990s. The spatial distribution of this ethnic group ? having been settled here mostly in 1945 ? has hardly changed in the past few years. Most of them still live in Vrbas-Verbász (7,800), in Novi Sad-Újvidék (4,300), in Kula (3,000), in Sivac-Szivác (2,700) and in Lovćenac-Szeghegy (2,100) (Map 8., front page map).
The number of Romanians in the Vojvodina has been continuously decreasing since 1910 due to emigration, natural decrease and assimilation (Serbianization). In 2002 30,419 (1.5%) people declared themselves Romanian by ethnicity, 29,512 of them also by mother tongue. The Romanians ? living predominantly in the Southern and central regions of the Banat (in the vicinity of Vršac-Versec, Alibunar and Zrenjanin-Nagybecskerek) ? still have ethnic dominance in 19 villages. In this area the most Romanians (1 - 2,000) live in Banatsko Novo Selo, Uzdin, Lokve, Torak, Vršac and Vladimirovac (Map 8., front page map).
The Gypsies (Romanies) in the Vojvodina ? unlike other Romas in the Carpathian Basin ? have not got assimilated to either sorrounding language in this amazingly heterogeneous, multiethnic environment. As a result, out of the 29,057 Gypsies by ethnicity the majority (21,939 people) also declare themselves Roma by mother tongue. They constitute the only minority in the province, whose population has been dinamically growing during the past decades (by 47.5% since 1981) due to their high rate of natural increase. Most of them live in bigger towns (Zrenjanin-Nagybecskerek, Novi Sad-Újvidék, Subotica-Szabadka, Pančevo-Pancsova, Kikinda-Nagykikinda, Vršac-Versec) and in their vicinity (eg. Beočin) but they also constitute significant proportions of the population in the central, borderland areas of the Banat, affected by growing depopulation (Map 8., front page map).
In the past decade it was the number of Ruthenians, Ukrainians (20,261 people) that showed the least decline (-8.8 %) among national minorities in the Vojvodina. For a long time these minorities had favourable rates of natural increase, though they were decimated by assimilation. Their most important settlements are Ruski Krstur ? first populated in the middle of the 18th century (with 4,500 inhabitants) ? and Kucura (2,200), but they represent significant numbers in some neighbouring towns (in Vrbas and Kula) as well (Map 8., front page map).
The Macedonians constitute one of the „youngest” minorities of the Vojvodina, (11,785 people, 0.6%) having replaced Germans in 1945. They live in considerable numbers in the Southern regions of the Banat (Jabuka, Kačarevo, Pančevo, Plandište). The remainders of their relatives, the Catholic Bulgarians, settling in the Banat after 1737 (1,658 ethnic Bulgarians) constitute a notable community (307 persons) only in Ivanovo in the Danubian region.