The residents of Macedonia descend for the most part from the Slavic populations who have occupied the territory since the century. YOU; however, a component of autochthones has not been touched by this Slavization, so much so that their followers between the sec. XIX and XX, after the “invention” of nationalities in the modern sense of the term, they defined themselves Albanians. The current ethnic framework of the country is made even more complex by the presence of Turks, a remnant of the centuries-old Ottoman domination, in addition to that of Serbs, Bosnians and Roma, according to the self-recognition of the residents that occurs during the censuses. However, until the century. Late in the twentieth century, the ethnonational configuration of Macedonia was characterized by its own fluidity; in fact, its belonging to the kingdom under Serbian hegemony with Belgrade as its capital, had led to the Serbization of the Slav population. Only in 1945, after the inclusion of Macedonia in a federal system of Republics, did the majority of the population speak the local Slavic language which is characterized by certain affinities with Bulgarian, was able to obtain the recognition of belonging to the homonymous nation by the Yugoslav state and Macedonian as national language. After Macedonia became independent, the ethnic and cultural heterogeneity that has always characterized it has taken on a new and more complex meaning, in the light of the claims made by minorities and the tensions that have exploded with neighboring states. Particularly dense of implications was the question of Albanophones, mainly based along the border with Albania, starting from the upper Vardar valley to Lake Ohrid. In these territories they constitute the absolute majority of the population, but at the national level their importance is reduced: the 442,914 Albanians registered in the 1994 census, held under the supervision of EU observers, they represented 23% of the total population. This was a very distant percentage from the estimates made by the Albanians themselves, attested to values close to 40%, on the basis of which they claimed the right to be considered a constitutive nationality of the new state and not a minority. Since January 1992, through self-convened referendum, the Albanians pronounced themselves in favor of a strong administrative autonomy and in the following April they proclaimed an Autonomous Republic of Illyria, asking, at the same time, the subdivision of Macedonia into federated cantons.
The Albanian claims had not only been relevant internally, but were linked to a wider autonomist movement that also included the Kosovo Albanians.and which recognized itself in the common design of Greater Albania. The Albanian claims were resolved with the Ohrid Agreements in 2001, on the basis of which amendments to the Constitution were established for the enlargement of rights in favor of this minority and Albanian was also recognized as the second official language of the State. At the proclamation of independence, equally rich in implications was the presence of the Serbs, who represent only 1.8% of the population, concentrated in the north-eastern region of the country. More numerous than the Serbian one, even if less active and lacking in territorial compactness, is the Turkish minority, present in the territories located along the left bank of the Vardar and near Tetovo, Bitola, Veles and Stip. According to iamhigher, it represents 3.9% of the total population. The number of Roma has also decreased.
On the other hand, the number of Aromuni has been substantially stable in recent years, which represent a minimal percentage, while in the first post-war period there were at least 100,000, mostly allocated around Bitola. Beyond the tensions connected with the presence on the state territory of numerous populations, the stability of Macedonia is also undermined due to the hostility that Greece has openly shown towards it, accusing it of having adopted the name of Macedonia in order to extend the own sovereignty over the entire territory of historic Macedonia, and therefore over part of the Greek territory, where a Slav minority lives, ethnically completely similar to the Macedonians. In 2003, despite the fertility rate of 1.8 children per woman, the demographic balance continues to remain slightly in surplus due to the aging of the population that lives longer than in the past due to the improvement of the sanitary situation. However, the country has a density of only 80 residents / km². In addition, there are fewer effective residents than official figures show, since over 100,000 emigrants abroad between the 1990s and the early 2000s were registered as temporary absentees. The settlement network is headed by Skopje which, the only Macedonian city of primary importance, contains approx. 24% (480,000 inhab., 2007) of the total population and approx. the 2/5 of the urbanized one. Tetovo, Kumanovo and Veles are secondary centers gravitating to the capital. The largest southern city is Bitola, which due to the distance from Skopje decentralized to the N, exercises the functions of the regional pole of the SW, to which Ohrid and Prilep belong; in fact it has the second university in the country.