Sarajevo Population 2018

Sarajevo is located in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is the capital city and it is also the largest by population. According to recent numbers, the population is just over 275,000 within the city limits. However, when taking the full metropolitan area into consideration, this number exceeds 555,000.

Sarajevo Demographics

When breaking down the population by ethnicity, the primary group that resides in the city of Sarajevo are Bosniaks. They make up over 80% of the population. There are also populations of Serbs, Croats, and other minority ethnic groups living within the capital city.

The city has a population density of about 5,630 people per square mile. The Novo Sarajevo region is the most densely population, with over 19,000 residents per square mile.

Sarajevo History

Sarajevo has a history that dates back to the Neolithic Butmir culture. During its earliest days, the area which now makes up Sarajevo was also inhabited by the Illyrians. The city of Sarajevo was not founded until the 1450s, and it was founded by the Ottoman Empire. At the time, Sarajevo was the site of multiple villages, which were transformed. The city was turned into a capital and with it came changes including the construction of a hostel, marketplace, mosque, and castle. This is when the city became the largest in the area.

Sarajevo began to grow at a very fast rate. It was considered the most important city in the Balkans, and the population hit 80,000 around the mid 1600s.

Over the next few hundred years, Sarajevo became the site for multiple wars, including the Great Turkish War and battles held during the Bosnian uprising in the 1800s. By the mid-1800s, the city was considered an important administrative center.

In the late 1800s, the city was occupied by Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the early 1900s, the city was annexed. The city was a center for industrialization and became a testing site for many inventions.

During the Austro-Hungarian period, the city saw massive growth and redevelopment, including the construction of a City Hall and the Cathedral of Sacred Heart. The city also became the first in the area to have its own tramway.

In 1914, many of the people of Sarajevo rioted against the Serbs following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. During the riots and the war, most of Sarajevo was left intact. After the war, the city went under the rule of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

After the war, the city also changed in other ways. It was no longer the capital city and it was not as influential as it had once been. The city was involved in the second World War, with the Kingdom of Yugoslavia being overtaken by the Italians and the Germans. The city was captured in the 1940s and was included as part of the Independent State of Croatia by Axis powers.

When the war ended, the city was designated as the capital of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The government, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, invested money to transform the city, including the development of new residential dwellings. The city grew immensely during this time period.

During the 1990s, the Bosnian War sought independence for its people. The city declared independence from Yugoslavia and as a result was sieged by the Serbian army. The city was blockaded and many people lost their lives, including thousands of children. Today, Sarajevo is a modern city. It is home to the tallest skyscraper in the Balkans, and it has seen steady population growth, as well as a thriving tourism industry.

Sarajevo Population Growth

What’s interesting about the population of Sarajevo is that the last official population of Yugoslav was taken in 1991. A census for Sarajevo after becoming independent was not performed until 2013, so there isn’t a record of recent trends and population changes. However, data that is known shows that the city has seen several years of increasing population since declaring its independence. As the city continues to expand and modernize, it can only be expected that the population will continue to grow.

Sarajevo Population in 2018Source: By BiHVolim (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Sarajevo Population Data (Urban Area)

Year Population Growth Rate (%) Growth
Sarajevo Population Growth

Sarajevo's 2018 population is now estimated at 313,000. In 1950, the population of Sarajevo was 124,000. Sarajevo has grown by -5,000 since 2015, which represents a -0.53% annual change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. These estimates represent the Urban agglomeration of Sarajevo, which typically includes Sarajevo's population in addition to adjacent suburban areas.

Data Sources
  1. World Urbanization Prospects - United Nations population estimates and projections of major Urban Agglomerations