The country’s resident population at the beginning of 2021 was almost 19.2 million. The decline in 2020 was particularly large, with 143 thousand inhabitants. Compared to the resident population of the country, the indicator had the highest level of the 9 member countries of the European Union in which the population was in decline (Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Hungary and Romania). The real escalation of the decline occurred through the resurgence of the natural decline of the population (120 thousand inhabitants), following the massive rise in the number of deaths, and secondarily through negative net external migration (only 23 thousand people). External migration to European countries has marked a drastic decline in the restrictive measures taken by European governments (and elsewhere) in the movement of people. The data of the National Institute of Statistics on the natural movement of the population in January-September of this year indicate a consistent natural decline higher than that of the same period last year – 91 thousand inhabitants compared to 66 thousand. The increase comes only from the rise in the number of deaths, the number of live births not declining. If the natural decline in this last quarter of the year will be at the level of last year, the entire natural decline in population in 2021 could reach 140 thousand inhabitants. Huge for a population of 19 million! To this will be added the negative contribution of external migration this year, increasing the size of the population decline.

An x-ray at the level of localities, counties and regions of economic development reveals the magnitude of the demographic crisis in the country. The landscape is that of a disaster in which the small and the weak disappear inexorably, feeding on the little that is left of the biggest and strongest. But this little can not save the latter in the long run, themselves bearing the brunt of a chronic disease, birth control.

Out of the 3122 localities in only 244 there was a natural increase of the population and the level of this increase was less than 7 thousand inhabitants (table 1). In 92 percent of the country’s localities, the number of deaths exceeded that of births, the natural decline reaching almost 126 thousand inhabitants. The figures are catastrophic for a population of 19 million.

Table 1. Distribution of the number of localities after increase

or the natural decline of the population in 2020 (Data source: INS)

Environment lower naturally growth naturally Zero growth All localities
Number of localities
Urban + Rural 2871 244 7 3122
Urban 268 19 0 287
Rural 2603 225 7 2835
In percentages
Urban + Rural 92 8 0 100
Urban 93 7 0 100
Rural 92 8 0 100
Decrease / increase in the number of population – inhabitants
Urban +Rural -125546 +6810 0 -118736

To complete the depth of the demographic disaster I will add that the number of deaths was 2 times higher than the number of births in 1240 localities, 3 times higher in 574, 4 times in 232, 5 times in 112, 6 times in 69 and 7 times and more in 98 localities. What future can the population of these over 2300 localities have?

In all counties and in the Capital the population was in natural decline with values ​​between less than 1000 people in Ilfov, Covasna, Sălaj and Bistrița-Năsăud counties and over 4000 thousand people in the Capital and Prahova, Dolj, Bacău, Teleorman counties , Argeș, Hunedoara, Olt, Buzău and Neamț.

In addition to the natural component, the migration of the population also intervenes in the territorial dynamics of the resident population. These are internal migration with a change of address and external migration. The latter component is unusually small in 2020, it has already been specified, and is not taken into account at the territorial level, as data are not yet available. However, internal migration is important in size and its inclusion in the dynamics of the resident population by counties and especially by regions of economic development is necessary and significant. The changes of domicile between localities, between counties and between the sectors of the Capital are included. The terms used by the INS are Departure and Arrival. A number of 368 thousand people changed their domicile in 2020, with women holding a proportion of 52 percent. Of the 368,000 people who changed their homes, 59 percent lived in urban areas and 41 percent in rural areas. Migratory flows between environments maintain in 2020 the great change that occurred in the first half of the 1990s, in the context of triggering major political, economic and social changes, reversing the size of migratory flows between environments, rural to urban accounting for 21 percent and urban in rural areas dominating the migration between environments by 32 percent (rural-rural = 20 percent; urban-urban = 27 percent

Due to internal migration with change of address, 33 counties lost population. The 8 in which the migration was positive are Ilfov, Cluj, Timiș, Brașov, Iași, Sibiu, Arad and Bihor. The Municipality of Bucharest is added with a positive net migration of 5624 people. The positive migration exceeded the size of the natural decrease in only 5 counties and the population increased: Brașov, Cluj-Napoca, Iași, Ilfov and Timiș. In other words, the positive migration did not exceed the natural decrease in the counties of Arad, Sibiu and in the Capital, the number of the resident population being in decline.

Domestic migration with a change of address undoubtedly has an economic motivation, higher or lower, but it is not the only one, especially in the case of movement between localities in the same county and even between neighboring counties in the same economic region. Family problems, marriage in the first place, play a role in motivating migration, as data for relatively recent years have shown. It is not excluded that children’s education issues have a role, if we take into account that 26 percent of those who left are up to 20 years old in urban areas and 34 percent in rural areas. Only selective socio-demographic research could provide answers.

A look at the destination of those who left one county reveals in most cases a seemingly surprising situation: departures in other counties do not predominate. More than half of the departures with change of address take place in the same county. The exceptions are the counties of Ilfov, Giurgiu, Călărași, Vaslui, Brăila, Ialomița, Teleorman, Botoșani and Galați, to which is added the Capital, where the proportion of those who left in the same county (in sectors of the Capital) is less than 50 percent. On the other hand, there are counties in which migration in the county represents 70-80 percent: Sibiu, Arad, Satu Mare, Timiș, Cluj, Bihor. In the counties of the first category, located in the less developed economic regions North-East, South-East and South Muntenia, the degree of economic development of the cities (municipalities) and its expansion does not constitute an incentive for intra-county migration. In the counties of the second category, located in the more developed and expanding economic regions West, North-West and Center, the cities (municipalities) offer more economic opportunities and the intra-county migration is favored. Particularities of real estate expansion at the county level can be added as influencing factors, as well as other territorial peculiarities, difficult to identify from the INS data. Data on migration at county level by environment, sex and age could promote knowledge, decisions on moving to another locality having behind a real conglomeration of economic, professional, educational, cultural, family, psychological factors.

The lower values ​​of the proportion of those who left Ilfov County to Ilfov County and from one sector to another of the Capital are related to the economic, demographic, real estate and other complexity of the Bucharest Metropolitan Area. The two proportions are relatively small because almost half of those who left Ilfov County were destined for the Capital and almost 30 percent of those who left the Capital went to Ilfov County. The creation, economic expansion, development of infrastructure and demography of metropolitan areas will have an increasing impact on the geography of internal migration.

The economic determination of internal migration can be identified at the level of intra- and inter-county migration to a certain extent only, various other factors influencing the phenomenon at this geographical level. The aggregate data used in the study on changes of domicile (Leave / Arrive) at county level, without differentiation by environment, sex, age, marital status and level of education, provide an overview of internal migration in Romania, with relatively few possibilities deepening and finding the factors and mechanisms that differentiate the phenomenon at territorial level.

However, the economic determination of migration is visibly present in the modeling of migration at the level of the 8 regions of economic development, an expression of the economic and social development gaps. The characteristics of the natural decrease of the population and of the external migration also intervene. Significant demographic and economic indicators at the regional level are presented in several maps. Read more on

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