Conducting the censuses in our country has the long-lasting tradition that can be monitored since 1834, when, in the modern sense of this word, the first census was completed on the territory of Serbia. Since that “census of people”, up to World War I, the censuses were carried out in five – year periodicity. It demonstrates that the mentioned historical period was very dynamic and it provoked frequent recording of changes in territorial distribution and composition of population, also including the economic properties, particularly in released parts of the country. Therefore, the data from the early censuses have enormous historical importance even nowadays.
In the period between two World Wars, there were only two censuses of population in Yugoslavia, in 1921 and 1931. The census planned for 1941 was not conducted due to beginning of World War II. After the War, because of the urgent need to collect data in the shortest possible period, especially regarding damages and casualties of the War, in order to submit requests to international forums for compensation on account of the ravages of the War, based on objective statistical documentation, the so- called “shortened census” was conducted in 1948 and afterwards, in 1953, the first complete census of total post-war population was carried out. Starting from 1961 census, according to UN recommendations, the ten-year periodicity of conducting the population censuses was established again, so that in the following period, the censuses were conducted in 1961. 1971. 1981 and 1991.
Respecting international recommendations on periodicity of census conducting, it was planed to conduct the first census in 21st century in April 2001. However, the state authorities of Montenegro and later also authorities of Serbia agreed to postpone the census for the following year. Shortly before the new dates of the census conducting, in March 2002, Republic of Montenegro suggested new postponement of the census, while in the Republic of Serbia it was decided to conduct the census, but only including the territories of Central Serbia and AP Vojvodina. Regarding the territory of AP Kosovo and Metohia, the census was not conducted due to lack of conditions to perform it.