Freedom of religion in Montenegro

History

Montenegro has historically been at the crossroads of different cultural regions, and this has shaped its unique form of co-existence between Muslim and Christian populations. For much of the second half of the 20th century, Montenegro was part of Yugoslavia, which established a nominally secular state (although at times it displayed favoritism toward the Serbian Orthodox Church), and did not engage in anti-religious campaigns to the extent of other countries in the Eastern Bloc.

Despite tensions between religious groups during the Bosnian War, Montenegro remained fairly stable, mainly due its population having a historic perspective on religious tolerance and faith diversity. Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1992, Montenegro was at first part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, later renamed Serbia and Montenegro. It was at this point that the Montenegrin Orthodox Church began to be established, splitting from the Serbian Orthodox Church, a process which would be completed in 2000. The Serbian Church considered the establishment of the Montenegrin Church to be «non-canonical» and «political» and refused to recognize it. Since Montenegro’s independence from Serbia in 2006, both churches have been supported by sections of Montenegrin society and the government, although the Serbian Church also receives support from Serbia. Disputes between the churches are ongoing, as both churches lay claim to 750 religious sites in Montenegro. According to a book published by an academic at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, this conflict is an attempt by the Serbian Orthodox Church to suppress recognition of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church in order to further Serbian national interests.

In 2012 a protocol passed that recognizes Islam as an official religion in Montenegro, ensures that halal foods will be served at military facilities, hospitals, dormitories and all social facilities; and that Muslim women will be permitted to wear headscarves in schools and at public institutions, as well as ensuring that Muslims have the right to take Fridays off work for the Jumu’ah (Friday)-prayer.

Christianity[edit]

Eastern Orthodoxyedit

Ostrog Monastery

Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion in Montenegro. Adherents of Eastern Orthodoxy in Montenegro are predominantly ethnic Montenegrins and Serbs. Ethnic Serbs of Montenegro are adherents of the Serbian Orthodox Church and its dioceses in Montenegro: Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, Eparchy of Budimlja and Nikšić, parts of Eparchy of Mileševa, and parts of Eparchy of Zahumlje and Herzegovina. Ethnic Montenegrins are divided between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the independent Montenegrin Orthodox Church (which is consider by the Serbian Orthodox Church and the other autocephalous Orthodox Churches as for this moment, a non-canonical ‘schismatic’ Orthodox church).

Catholic Churchedit

St. Tryphon’s Cathedral in Kotor

Most Catholics are ethnic Albanians and Croats as well as some Montenegrins. In some municipalities where Albanians form a majority, like Tuzi, are adherents of Catholic Christianity. Catholicism is also present in Boka Kotorska, where there is a significant presence of ethnic Croats.

History[edit]

Montenegro has historically been at the crossroads of different cultural regions, and this has shaped its unique form of co-existence between Muslim and Christian populations. For much of the second half of the 20th century, Montenegro was part of Yugoslavia, which established a nominally secular state (although at times it displayed favoritism toward the Serbian Orthodox Church), and did not engage in anti-religious campaigns to the extent of other countries in the Eastern Bloc.

Despite tensions between religious groups during the Bosnian War, Montenegro remained fairly stable, mainly due its population having a historic perspective on religious tolerance and faith diversity. Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1992, Montenegro was at first part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, later renamed Serbia and Montenegro. It was at this point that the Montenegrin Orthodox Church began to be established, splitting from the Serbian Orthodox Church, a process which would be completed in 2000. The Serbian Church considered the establishment of the Montenegrin Church to be «non-canonical» and «political» and refused to recognize it. Since Montenegro’s independence from Serbia in 2006, both churches have been supported by sections of Montenegrin society and the government, although the Serbian Church also receives support from Serbia. Disputes between the churches are ongoing, as both churches lay claim to 750 religious sites in Montenegro. According to a book published by an academic at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, this conflict is an attempt by the Serbian Orthodox Church to suppress recognition of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church in order to further Serbian national interests.

In 2012 a protocol passed that recognizes Islam as an official religion in Montenegro, ensures that halal foods will be served at military facilities, hospitals, dormitories and all social facilities; and that Muslim women will be permitted to wear headscarves in schools and at public institutions, as well as ensuring that Muslims have the right to take Fridays off work for the Jumu’ah (Friday)-prayer.

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Religion in Montenegro

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Religion map of the Republic of Montenegro according to the 2003 census.

Church in Cetinje, Montenegro

Montenegro is a multireligious country. Although Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion, there are also numerous adherents of Islam and Catholic Christianity. The dominant Church is the Serbian Orthodox Church — although traces of a forming Montenegrin Orthodox Church are present.

census

According to 2003 census, major religious groups in Montenegro were

  • Orthodox Christians — 460,383 (74.24%)
  • Sunni Muslims — 110,034 (17.74%)
  • Roman Catholic Christians — 21,972 (3.54%)

No other religious group in Montenegro, including Protestant Christians and Jews, reaches 1%.

Orthodox Christianity

Main article: Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral

Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion in Montenegro. Adherents of Orthodox Christianity in Montenegro are predominantly Montenegrins and Serbs. While the Serbs are adherents of the Serbian Orthodox Church and its diocese in Montenegro, the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, Montenegrins are divided between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Montenegrin Orthodox Church (which is still in its phase of conceivement and is non-canonical and unrecognized).

The identity of Montenegrins and Serbs in Montenegro is largely based on Orthodox Christianity.

Islam

File:Montenegro Mosque.gif A Mosque in Montenegro

Main article: Islam in Montenegro

Muslims form the largest minority religion in the country. Montenegro’s 110,000 Muslims make up 17.74% of the total population. They are divided into these main groups: Slavic Muslims split among Bosnian-speaking Bosniaks, Slavic Muslims, Montenegrin-speaking Montenegrins, and ethnic Albanians. Islam is the dominant religion in the northern municipalities, which are part of the Sandžak geographical region, and in municipalities where Albanians form a majority. Islam is the majority religion in Plav, Rožaje and Ulcinj, and is the dominant religion among Albanians, Bosniaks and Muslims by nationality.

Roman Catholic and Eastern Rite Catholic communities

Main article: Catholic Church in Montenegro

Catholic Christianity is mostly present in the region of Boka Kotorska, where there is a significant presence of ethnic Croats. Also, a number of ethnic Albanians are adherents of Catholic Christianity.

mk:Религија во Црна Гора

Central Region

This region consists of four municipalities. It is the most populous of the regions, and contains the capital of Podgorica, historical capital of Cetinje, and the industrial center of Nikšić. Most of Montenegrin economic, cultural, educational and administration base is located within the region.

MunicipalityAreaPopulationEthnic MajorityPredominant languagePredominant religion
Km²RankTotalRank
Cetinje899316,7574MontenegrinMontenegrinEastern Orthodox
Danilovgrad501417,6783MontenegrinSerbianEastern Orthodox
Nikšić2,065172,8242MontenegrinSerbianEastern Orthodox
Podgorica1,3992187,0851MontenegrinMontenegrinEastern Orthodox
Tuzi236512,0965AlbanianAlbanianRoman Catholicism

Montenegro population 2020

During 2020 Montenegro population is projected to increase by 774 people and reach 630,166 in the beginning of 2021. The natural increase is expected to be positive, as the number of births will exceed the number of deaths by 1,259. If external migration will remain on the previous year level,
the population will be declined by 485 due to the migration reasons.
It means that the number of people who leave Montenegro to settle permanently in another country (emigrants)
will prevail over the number of people who move into the country (to which they are not native) in order to settle there as permanent residents (immigrants).

Population change rates in 2020

According to our estimations, daily change rates of Montenegro population in 2020 will be the following:

  • 20 live births average per day (0.85 in an hour)
  • 17 deaths average per day (0.71 in an hour)
  • -1 emigrants average per day (-0.06 in an hour)

Islam

Husein-paša’s Mosque in Pljevlja

Muslims form the largest minority religion in the country. Montenegro’s 118,477 Muslims make up 19.11% of the total population.

Muslims in Montenegro are divided into two main groups, and further subgroups:

  • Slavic Muslims

    • Bosnian-speaking ethnic Bosniak Muslims
    • Montenegrin-speaking ethnic Montenegrin Muslims
    • Other Slavic Muslims (Muslims by nationality), including Gorani, and other Slavs of the Muslim faith who identify by religion rather than by ethnicity.
  • Albanian

    Albanian-speaking ethnic Albanian Muslims

    Muslims

Islam is the dominant religion in the northeastern municipalities, which are part of the Sandžak geographical region, and in municipalities where Albanians form a majority. Islam is the majority religion in Rožaje, Plav, Gusinje, Ulcinj and Petnjica.

Christianity[]

Eastern Orthodoxy

Ostrog Monastery

Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion in Montenegro. Adherents of Eastern Orthodoxy in Montenegro are predominantly ethnic Montenegrins and Serbs. Ethnic Serbs of Montenegro are adherents of the Serbian Orthodox Church and its dioceses in Montenegro: Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, Eparchy of Budimlja and Nikšić, parts of Eparchy of Mileševa, and parts of Eparchy of Zahumlje and Herzegovina. Ethnic Montenegrins are divided between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the independent Montenegrin Orthodox Church (which is consider by the Serbian Orthodox Church and the other autocephalous Orthodox Churches as for this moment, a non-canonical ‘schismatic’ Orthodox church).

Catholic Church

St. Tryphon’s Cathedral in Kotor

Most Catholics are ethnic Albanians and Croats as well as some Montenegrins. In some municipalities where Albanians form a majority, like Tuzi, are adherents of Catholic Christianity. Catholicism is also present in Boka Kotorska, where there is a significant presence of ethnic Croats.

Demographics[edit]

According to the 2011 census, approximately 72 percent of the population is Orthodox, belonging either to the Serbian Orthodox Church or the Montenegrin Orthodox Church. Local media estimate that the Serbian church accounts for 70 percent of the Orthodox population, while the Montenegrin church makes up the remaining 30 percent. The census reports 19.1 percent of the population is Muslim, 3.4 percent Roman Catholic, and 1.2 percent atheist. Additionally, 2.6 percent of respondents did not provide a response, and several other groups, including Seventh-day Adventists (registered locally as the Christian Adventist Church), Buddhists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, other Christians, and agnostics together account for less than 1 percent of the population. According to press estimates, the Jewish community numbers approximately 350.

There is a strong correlation between ethnicity and religion: ethnic Montenegrins and ethnic Serbs are generally associated with the Montenegrin and Serbian Orthodox churches respectively, ethnic Albanians with Islam or Catholicism, and ethnic Croats with the Catholic Church. Ethnic Bosniaks and remaining ethnic Muslims (Muslimani) are also adherents of Islam, and they live mainly along the eastern and northern borders with Albania, Kosovo, and Serbia.

Societal attitudes

A survey published in March 2017 and carried out by the Council of Europe and the Office of the Ombudsperson, as part of the council’s “Support to the National Institutions in Preventing Discrimination in Montenegro” project, found increases in perceptions of religious discrimination since the previous study (2015) across all five areas surveyed (employment, education, health care, public services, and culture). Perceptions of discrimination based on religion were highest in relation to employment, where 45.7 percent of respondents reported experiencing religious discrimination, up from 38 percent in 2015. According to the survey, perception of discrimination were highest by a significant margin among Serbian Orthodox Church members, followed by Catholics, those with no religious affiliation, and Muslims.

Islam

File:Montenegro Mosque.gif A Mosque in Montenegro

Main article: Islam in Montenegro

Muslims form the largest minority religion in the country. Montenegro’s 110,000 Muslims make up 17.74% of the total population. They are divided into these main groups: Slavic Muslims split among Bosnian-speaking Bosniaks, Slavic Muslims, Montenegrin-speaking Montenegrins, and ethnic Albanians. Islam is the dominant religion in the northern municipalities, which are part of the Sandžak geographical region, and in municipalities where Albanians form a majority. Islam is the majority religion in Plav, Rožaje and Ulcinj, and is the dominant religion among Albanians, Bosniaks and Muslims by nationality.

Relief

The terrain of Montenegro ranges from high mountains along its borders with Kosovo and Albania, through a segment of the Karst region of the western Balkan Peninsula, to a narrow coastal plain that is only 1 to 4 miles (2 to 6 km) wide. The coastal plain disappears completely in the north, where Mount Lovćen and other peaks rise abruptly from the inlet of the Gulf of Kotor. The coastal region is noted for seismic activity.


DurmitorDurmitor massif (background), Montenegro. sima/Shutterstock.com

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Montenegro’s section of the Karst lies generally at an elevation of 3,000 feet (900 metres) above sea level—although some areas rise to 6,000 feet (1,800 metres). The lowest segment is in the valley of the Zeta River, which is at about 1,500 feet (450 metres). The river occupies the centre of Nikšić Polje, a flat-floored, elongated depression typical of karstic regions, as is the predominantly limestone underlying rock, which dissolves to form sinkholes and underground caves.


Karstic terrain near Cetinje, the historic capital of Montenegro.The J. Allan Cash Photolibrary, London

The high mountains of Montenegro include some of the most rugged terrain in Europe and average more than 7,000 feet (2,000 metres) in elevation. Notable is Bobotov Peak in the Durmitor Mountains, which reaches 8,274 feet (2,522 metres) and is the country’s highest point. The Montenegrin mountains were the most ice-eroded section of the Balkan Peninsula during the last glacial period.

Christianity[edit]

Eastern Orthodoxyedit

Ostrog Monastery

Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion in Montenegro. Adherents of Eastern Orthodoxy in Montenegro are predominantly ethnic Montenegrins and Serbs. Ethnic Serbs of Montenegro are adherents of the Serbian Orthodox Church and its dioceses in Montenegro: Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, Eparchy of Budimlja and Nikšić, parts of Eparchy of Mileševa, and parts of Eparchy of Zahumlje and Herzegovina. Ethnic Montenegrins are divided between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the independent Montenegrin Orthodox Church (which is consider by the Serbian Orthodox Church and the other autocephalous Orthodox Churches as for this moment, a non-canonical ‘schismatic’ Orthodox church).

Catholic Churchedit

St. Tryphon’s Cathedral in Kotor

Most Catholics are ethnic Albanians and Croats as well as some Montenegrins. In some municipalities where Albanians form a majority, like Tuzi, are adherents of Catholic Christianity. Catholicism is also present in Boka Kotorska, where there is a significant presence of ethnic Croats.

Christianity

Eastern Orthodoxy

Ostrog Monastery

Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion in Montenegro. Adherents of Eastern Orthodoxy in Montenegro are predominantly ethnic Montenegrins and Serbs. Ethnic Serbs of Montenegro are adherents of the Serbian Orthodox Church and its dioceses in Montenegro: Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, Eparchy of Budimlja and Nikšić, parts of Eparchy of Mileševa, and parts of Eparchy of Zahumlje and Herzegovina. Ethnic Montenegrins are divided between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the independent Montenegrin Orthodox Church (which is consider by the Serbian Orthodox Church and the other autocephalous Orthodox Churches as for this moment, a non-canonical ‘schismatic’ Orthodox church).

Catholic Church

St. Tryphon’s Cathedral in Kotor

Most Catholics are ethnic Albanians and Croats as well as some Montenegrins. In some municipalities where Albanians form a majority, like Tuzi, are adherents of Catholic Christianity. Catholicism is also present in Boka Kotorska, where there is a significant presence of ethnic Croats.

Atheism

The majority of Montenegro’s population, 98.69%, declares to belong to a religion, though observance of their declared religion may vary widely.

On the census from 2011, atheists, those who declared no religion, comprised about 1.24% of the whole population, and agnostics 0.07%.

Religiosity is lowest in the Bay of Kotor region and the capital city of Podgorica.

Municipalities with highest share of atheists are Herceg Novi (2.43%), Kotor (2.03%), Podgorica (1.99%) and Tivat (1.7%). In contrast, Rožaje has the fewest atheists, who make up only 0.01% of its population.

In some municipalities more than half of population are undeclared, however.

Government practices

The Ministry of Human and Minority Rights provides funding to some religious groups, which they can use to maintain religious shrines, for education or cultural projects, or to pay for social and medical insurance for clergy. Both registered and unregistered religious communities are eligible to apply for this funding. For the first nine months of 2017, the Montenegrin Orthodox Church received 49,015 euros, the Islamic Community of Montenegro 52,888 euros, the Serbian Orthodox Church 30,183 euros, the Jewish community 10,000 euros, and the Catholic Church 4,000 euros. Recognized religious communities also continued to receive in-kind assistance, such as property on which to build houses of worship, from other government ministries and from local governments.

As of 2017, government has not provided restitution of religious properties expropriated by the former government of Yugoslavia. Government officials have said that a draft law on religious communities would address restitution issues.

According to a 2008 study, Montenegro engages in a very small amount of discrimination against its Muslim minority and breakaway Orthodox groups present in the country. This level of discrimination was consistent with a previous analysis from 1990.

Conflict between the Serbian and Montenegrin Orthodox Churches

There are ongoing disputes between the Serbian and Montenegrin Orthodox Churches over control of the 750 Orthodox religious sites in the country. Both groups claim to be the «true» Orthodox Church of Montenegro, and hold religious ceremonies separately. Police forces have provided security for such events. This dispute dates back to the original establishment of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church as a separate entity, a process which began in 1993 and which was completed in 2000. Since 2011, members of both churches have been barred from celebrating the transfiguration of Christ at the Church of Christ the Transfiguration at Ivanova Korita near the historical capital of Cetinje.

Demographics

According to the 2011 census, approximately 72 percent of the population is Orthodox, belonging either to the Serbian Orthodox Church or the Montenegrin Orthodox Church. Local media estimate that the Serbian church accounts for 70 percent of the Orthodox population, while the Montenegrin church makes up the remaining 30 percent. The census reports 19.1 percent of the population is Muslim, 3.4 percent Roman Catholic, and 1.2 percent atheist. Additionally, 2.6 percent of respondents did not provide a response, and several other groups, including Seventh-day Adventists (registered locally as the Christian Adventist Church), Buddhists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, other Christians, and agnostics together account for less than 1 percent of the population. According to press estimates, the Jewish community numbers approximately 350.

There is a strong correlation between ethnicity and religion: ethnic Montenegrins and ethnic Serbs are generally associated with the Montenegrin and Serbian Orthodox churches respectively, ethnic Albanians with Islam or Catholicism, and ethnic Croats with the Catholic Church. Ethnic Bosniaks and remaining ethnic Muslims (Muslimani) are also adherents of Islam, and they live mainly along the eastern and northern borders with Albania, Kosovo, and Serbia.

Distribution[]

The results of the Montenegrin census of 2011 by ethnic groups, the latest census in which the indication of identification (whether by confession or as irreligious) in the question for confession was obligatory, are as follows:

Ethnic groupsby confessionTotal Montenegrins Serbs Bosniaks Albanians Roma Croats
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%
Eastern Orthodox446,85872.1248,52388.7177,09198.3110.0370.15168.2901.5
Islam118,47719.112,9314.6790.074,34399.722,26773.15,03480.530.0
Catholic21,2993.45,6672.01160.630.07,95426.1130.25,52791.8
Protestantism1,6010.49210.32620.1360.120.020.0
Atheism/Agnosticism9,0053.36,3932.36970.41080.1350.110.02243.7

Montenegro age structure

As of the beginning of 2020 according to our estimates Montenegro had the following population age distribution:

15.57113.5
— percentage of population under 15
— percentage of population between 15 and 64 years old
— percentage of population 65+

In absolute figures (estimate):

  • 97,845 young people under 15 years old (
    47,607 males / 50,238 females)
  • 446,673 persons between 15 and 64 years old (
    232,101 males / 214,572 females)
  • 84,874 persons above 64 years old (
    33,811 males / 51,069 females)

We prepared a simplified model of the population distribution pyramid which is broken down into 3 main age groups.
The groups are the same as we used above: population under 15, between 15 and 64 and population which is over 65 year old.

65+
15-64
0-14
malefemale

Note: The pyramid provided is not corresponding to data given above because the age groups have different number of years.

As we can see the Montenegro population pyramid has a contracting type. This type of pyramid is more common for highly developed countries with low birth and death rates.
Usually countries with such kind of population age distribution model have long life expectancy, high level of education and good health care.

Atheism[edit]

The majority of Montenegro’s population, 98.69%, declares to belong to a religion, though observance of their declared religion may vary widely.

On the census from 2011, atheists, those who declared no religion, comprised about 1.24% of the whole population, and agnostics 0.07%.

Religiosity is lowest in the Bay of Kotor region and the capital city of Podgorica.

Municipalities with highest share of atheists are Herceg Novi (2.43%), Kotor (2.03%), Podgorica (1.99%) and Tivat (1.7%). In contrast, Rožaje has the fewest atheists, who make up only 0.01% of its population.

In some municipalities more than half of population are undeclared, however.

Montenegro population history

1951397,807N/A %
1952405,6941.98 %
1953416,1232.57 %
1954427,4352.72 %
1955438,4662.58 %
1956448,5592.30 %
1957457,5672.01 %
1958465,7991.80 %
1959473,9281.75 %
1960482,7431.86 %
1961492,7722.08 %
1962503,9182.26 %
1963515,2112.24 %
1964524,9451.89 %
1965531,4961.25 %
1966533,8620.45 %
1967532,072-0.34 %
1968527,539-0.85 %
1969522,744-0.91 %
1970520,171-0.49 %
1971521,2400.21 %
1972525,9960.91 %
1973533,4871.42 %
1974542,1671.63 %
1975550,4161.52 %
1976557,3431.26 %
1977562,9671.01 %
1978567,7860.86 %
1979572,5080.83 %
1980577,8540.93 %
1981584,2221.10 %
1982591,5211.25 %
1983599,1591.29 %
1984606,1991.17 %
1985611,7220.91 %
1986615,1840.57 %
1987616,5770.23 %
1988616,426-0.02 %
1989615,628-0.13 %
1990615,100-0.09 %
1991615,3710.04 %
1992616,4590.18 %
1993618,0130.25 %
1994619,4700.24 %
1995620,2520.13 %
1996620,056-0.03 %
1997618,944-0.18 %
1998617,250-0.27 %
1999615,466-0.29 %
2000614,090-0.22 %
2001613,398-0.11 %
2002613,391-0.00 %
2003613,9330.09 %
2004614,8270.15 %
2005615,8610.17 %
2006616,9260.17 %
2007618,0270.18 %
2008619,1660.18 %
2009620,3050.18 %
2010621,4110.18 %
2011622,4550.17 %
2012623,4110.15 %
2013624,2560.14 %
2014624,9700.11 %
2015625,5370.09 %
2016626,3060.12 %
2017627,0760.12 %
2018627,8470.12 %
2019628,6190.12 %
2020629,3920.12 %

Islam[edit]

Husein-paša’s Mosque in Pljevlja

Muslims form the largest minority religion in the country. Montenegro’s 118,477 Muslims make up 19.11% of the total population.

Muslims in Montenegro are divided into two main groups, and further subgroups:

  • Slavic Muslims

    • Bosnian-speaking ethnic Bosniak Muslims
    • Montenegrin-speaking ethnic Montenegrin Muslims
    • Other Slavic Muslims (Muslims by nationality), including Gorani, and other Slavs of the Muslim faith who identify by religion rather than by ethnicity.
  • Albanian

    Albanian-speaking ethnic Albanian Muslims

    Muslims

Islam is the dominant religion in the northeastern municipalities, which are part of the Sandžak geographical region, and in municipalities where Albanians form a majority. Islam is the majority religion in Rožaje, Plav, Gusinje, Ulcinj and Petnjica.

Coastal Region

This southernmost region consists of municipalities with access to the Adriatic Sea. This region is mainly oriented towards tourism, and has a population of 146,784 (2003). Following municipalities make up the region:

MunicipalityAreaPopulationEthnic MajorityPredominant languagePredominant religion
Km²RankTotalRank
Bar598142,3681MontenegrinMontenegrinEastern Orthodox
Budva122519,1705MontenegrinSerbianEastern Orthodox
Herceg Novi235430,9922SerbSerbianEastern Orthodox
Kotor335222,7993MontenegrinSerbianEastern Orthodox
Tivat46614,1116MontenegrinSerbianEastern Orthodox
Ulcinj255320,2654AlbanianAlbanianSunni Islam

Christianity

Eastern Orthodoxy

Ostrog Monastery

Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion in Montenegro. Adherents of Eastern Orthodoxy in Montenegro are predominantly ethnic Montenegrins and Serbs. Ethnic Serbs of Montenegro are adherents of the Serbian Orthodox Church and its dioceses in Montenegro: Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, Eparchy of Budimlja and Nikšić, parts of Eparchy of Mileševa, and parts of Eparchy of Zahumlje and Herzegovina. Ethnic Montenegrins are divided between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the independent Montenegrin Orthodox Church (which is consider by the Serbian Orthodox Church and the other autocephalous Orthodox Churches as for this moment, a non-canonical ‘schismatic’ Orthodox church).

Catholic Church

St. Tryphon’s Cathedral in Kotor

Most Catholics are ethnic Albanians and Croats as well as some Montenegrins. In some municipalities where Albanians form a majority, like Tuzi, are adherents of Catholic Christianity. Catholicism is also present in Boka Kotorska, where there is a significant presence of ethnic Croats.

Orthodox Christianity

Main article: Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral

Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion in Montenegro. Adherents of Orthodox Christianity in Montenegro are predominantly Montenegrins and Serbs. While the Serbs are adherents of the Serbian Orthodox Church and its diocese in Montenegro, the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, Montenegrins are divided between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Montenegrin Orthodox Church (which is still in its phase of conceivement and is non-canonical and unrecognized).

The identity of Montenegrins and Serbs in Montenegro is largely based on Orthodox Christianity.

Atheism[edit]

The majority of Montenegro’s population, 98.69%, declares to belong to a religion, though observance of their declared religion may vary widely.

On the census from 2011, atheists, those who declared no religion, comprised about 1.24% of the whole population, and agnostics 0.07%.

Religiosity is lowest in the Bay of Kotor region and the capital city of Podgorica.

Municipalities with highest share of atheists are Herceg Novi (2.43%), Kotor (2.03%), Podgorica (1.99%) and Tivat (1.7%). In contrast, Rožaje has the fewest atheists, who make up only 0.01% of its population.

In some municipalities more than half of population are undeclared, however.

Distribution[edit]

The results of the Montenegrin census of 2011 by ethnic groups, the latest census in which the indication of identification (whether by confession or as irreligious) in the question for confession was obligatory, are as follows:

Ethnic groupsby confessionTotal Montenegrins Serbs Bosniaks Albanians Roma Croats
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%
Eastern Orthodox446,85872.1248,52388.7177,09198.3110.0370.15168.2901.5
Islam118,47719.112,9314.6790.074,34399.722,26773.15,03480.530.0
Catholic21,2993.45,6672.01160.630.07,95426.1130.25,52791.8
Protestantism1,6010.49210.32620.1360.120.020.0
Atheism/Agnosticism9,0053.36,3932.36970.41080.1350.110.02243.7

Plant and animal life

One-third of Montenegro, principally in the high mountains, remains covered with broad-leaved forest. However, bare rock characterizes most of the southern Karst zone, where soils generally are absent. This area remained forested through Classical times, with oaks and cypresses predominating, but removal of forests for domestic fuel and construction led to widespread soil erosion and, ultimately, to replacement of the woodlands by the Mediterranean scrub assemblage known as maquis.

Sparsely populated Montenegro is noted as a habitat for numerous mammals, including bears, deer, martens, and wild pigs (Sus scrofa). It has many predatory wild animals, including wolves, foxes, and wildcats. The country also has a rich variety of birds, reptiles, and fish.

Atheism

The majority of Montenegro’s population, 98.69%, declares to belong to a religion, though observance of their declared religion may vary widely.

On the census from 2011, atheists, those who declared no religion, comprised about 1.24% of the whole population, and agnostics 0.07%.

Religiosity is lowest in the Bay of Kotor region and the capital city of Podgorica.

Municipalities with highest share of atheists are Herceg Novi (2.43%), Kotor (2.03%), Podgorica (1.99%) and Tivat (1.7%). In contrast, Rožaje has the fewest atheists, who make up only 0.01% of its population.

In some municipalities more than half of population are undeclared, however.

Islam[]

Husein-paša’s Mosque in Pljevlja

Muslims form the largest minority religion in the country. Montenegro’s 118,477 Muslims make up 19.11% of the total population.

Muslims in Montenegro are divided into two main groups, and further subgroups:

  • Slavic Muslims

    • Bosnian-speaking ethnic Bosniak Muslims
    • Montenegrin-speaking ethnic Montenegrin Muslims
    • Other Slavic Muslims (Muslims by nationality), including Gorani, and other Slavs of the Muslim faith who identify by religion rather than by ethnicity.
  • Albanian

    Albanian-speaking ethnic Albanian Muslims

    Muslims

Islam is the dominant religion in the northeastern municipalities, which are part of the Sandžak geographical region, and in municipalities where Albanians form a majority. Islam is the majority religion in Rožaje, Plav, Gusinje, Ulcinj and Petnjica.

Northern Region

Northern region comprises eleven municipalities and is the largest by area. It encompasses the sparsely populated mountainous part of Montenegro. With the decline of the heavy industries in the 1990s, the region has seen perpetual economic hardship and migration of the population to the two southern regions.

MunicipalityAreaPopulationEthnic MajorityPredominant languagePredominant religion
Km²RankTotalRank
Andrijevica283125,11710SerbSerbianEastern Orthodox
Berane544628,3053SerbSerbianEastern Orthodox
Bijelo Polje924246,6761SerbSerbianEastern Orthodox
Gusinje486813,1086BosniakBosnianSunni Islam
Kolašin89738,4208MontenegrinSerbianEastern Orthodox
Mojkovac367118,6697MontenegrinSerbianEastern Orthodox
Petnjica173136,6869BosniakBosnianSunni Islam
Plav486713,5495BosniakBosnianSunni Islam
Plužine85443,28612SerbSerbianEastern Orthodox
Pljevlja1,346131,0602SerbSerbianEastern Orthodox
Rožaje4321023,3124BosniakBosnianSunni Islam
Šavnik55352,07713MontenegrinSerbianEastern Orthodox
Žabljak44593,59911MontenegrinSerbianEastern Orthodox

Demographics of Montenegro 2019

As of 1 January 2020, the population of Montenegro
was estimated to be 629,392 people.
This is an increase of 0.12 % (773 people) compared to population of 628,619 the year before.
In 2019 the natural increase was positive, as the number of births exceeded the number of deaths by 1,257. Due to external migration, the population declined by 484. The sex ratio of the total population was
0.960 (960 males per 1 000 females) which is lower than global sex ratio.
The global sex ratio in the world was approximately 1 016 males to 1 000 females as of 2019.

Below are the key figures for Montenegro population in 2019:

Distribution

The results of the Montenegrin census of 2011 by ethnic groups, the latest census in which the indication of identification (whether by confession or as irreligious) in the question for confession was obligatory, are as follows:

Ethnic groupsby confessionTotal Montenegrins Serbs Bosniaks Albanians Roma Croats
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%
Eastern Orthodox446,85872.1248,52388.7177,09198.3110.0370.15168.2901.5
Islam118,47719.112,9314.6790.074,34399.722,26773.15,03480.530.0
Catholic21,2993.45,6672.01160.630.07,95426.1130.25,52791.8
Protestantism1,6010.49210.32620.1360.120.020.0
Atheism/Agnosticism9,0053.36,3932.36970.41080.1350.110.02243.7
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