Serbia IDP Figures Analysis

IDMC estimates that there are around 97,000 IDPs in Serbia as of May 2015.


IDMC’s estimate is taken from a profiling assessment conducted in 2011 by the Serbian Commissioner for Refugees, the Statistical Office of Serbia and UNHCR with the support of the Joint IDP Profiling Service. The assessment concluded that around 97,000 IDPs still have needs related to their displacement (GoS/UNHCR/JIPs, 2011). IDPs fled Kosovo and Metohija in the wake of the 1999 NATO bombing campaign that led to the withdrawal of Serbian security forces.  

The government reports that there are around 204,000 IDPs from Kosovo and Metohija (GoS, June 2014). This figure is based on an IDP registration exercise undertaken in 2000, and includes IDPs who have returned or moved elsewhere, and does not take into account whether they still have needs related to their displacement. UNHCR reports a higher figure, 227,585 IDPs (UNHCR, 2013). This is a combination of a previous government figure and UNHCR’s figure for IDPs in Kosovo, 17,500.

The profiling assessment proceeded in two stages. First, urban and rural settlements with IDPs were randomly sampled. Second, households in those settlements who were registered in the Serbian Commission for Refugees’ IDP database were interviewed. The final sample included 8,335 individuals from 2,006 households in 220 settlements.

Data was collected on numerous variables including age, sex, ethnicity, location, medical conditions, education, school attendance, livelihoods, housing conditions, property status, financial position, documentation, receipt of social benefits and willingness to return. Criteria for IDPs in need were those living in inadequate housing or housing not owned by them, and earning less than 8,526 RSD (100 USD).

Around 80 per cent of IDPs live in urban areas, with the largest numbers concentrated in Sumadija and Western Serbia (GoS/UNHCR/JIPs, 2011). Over 77 per cent are ethnic Serb, while 12 per cent are Roma. The average age is 32 years and 24 per cent of IDPs suffer from chronic diseases. Their main needs relate to housing, property recovery and employment. Twenty per cent of IDPs are willing to return, and Roma the least of all.

IDMC uses only the most credible accurate information available. Notwithstanding the caveats and limitations of the source information described above, IDMC believes this to be the best data and is grateful to the partners for sharing it.