100 Facts & Statistics about Skopje & (North) Macedonia

Skopje, the capital and principal city of Macedonia, boasts a rich history and diverse culture.

Standing on the banks of the Vardar River, this bustling city has evolved from its humble beginnings as the Illyrian tribal center of Scupi, later serving as the capital of Roman Dardania and eventually becoming the capital of the newly independent Republic of Macedonia (now North Macedonia) in 1991.

Today, Skopje is home to over 550,000 inhabitants and encompasses an urban area that includes numerous rural settlements reaching up to 20 km (12 mi) away from the city center.

With a land area of 25,710 km², (North) Macedonia is a small, landlocked country situated on the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe.

Despite its size, Macedonia offers a myriad of statistical data and fascinating facts about its people, culture, and history.

This article delves into 100 intriguing statistics and compelling data points that provide a comprehensive understanding of Skopje and Macedonia as a whole, shedding light on the unique aspects that make this region so distinctive.

skopje macedonia

Geography and Climate

Physical Features

Skopje, the capital of (North) Macedonia, is a city situated on the banks of the Vardar River.

Geographically, it is located in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe.

The country of Macedonia covers a total land area of 25,710 km² (9,927 mi²), making it the 17th smallest country in Europe and ranked 150th in the world.

The landscape of this landlocked country is characterized by a combination of mountains, valleys, and slightly rolling hills.

It is important to note that Skopje is surrounded by several mountains that contribute to its physical features and influence its climate.

Weather Patterns

The climate in Skopje and Macedonia predominantly falls under the category of continental climate.

This means that the city experiences warm summers and cold winters.

As the capital, Skopje tends to have slightly warmer weather than the other parts of the country due to its geographic location and the presence of the urban heat island effect.

The weather patterns in this region tend to change and can be influenced by a variety of factors, including geographic location, topography, and global climate changes.

However, it is generally characterized by distinct seasons, with relatively hot summers and cold winters that witness occasional periods of snowfall.

In conclusion, Skopje and Macedonia’s geography and climate are influenced by the country’s location in the Balkan Peninsula and its complex topography.

The combination of mountains, valleys, and hills contributes to the diverse physical features and weather patterns, which typically include warm summers and cold winters.

It is essential to take these factors into consideration when understanding the country’s overall climate and how it shapes the lives of its inhabitants.

Population and Demographics

Population Growth

The population of Skopje, the capital of Macedonia (and the 2028 European City of Culture), has experienced a slight decline in recent years.

Unofficial estimates place the current population at around 550,700.

Meanwhile, the nation of Macedonia has a current population of approximately 2,086,021 people based on United Nations data projections.

The country’s population growth rate is at -0.27%, ranking it 219th in the world.

Ethnic Composition

Macedonia is a diverse country with various ethnic groups living together.

The largest ethnic group consists of Macedonians, making up over 66% of the total population.

Other significant groups include:

  • Albanians: 34.03%
  • Turks: 4.32%
  • Roma: 5.87%
  • Vlachs: 0.18%
  • Serbians: 0.59%
  • Bosniaks: 0.98%

These numbers are based on the ethnic affiliation of newborns in the country.

Language Distribution

Macedonia’s official language is Macedonian, which is primarily spoken by the majority Macedonian ethnic group.

However, the country’s Constitution recognizes and protects multiple minority languages.

Some of the most widely spoken languages among minorities include:

  • Albanian
  • Turkish
  • Romani
  • Serbian
  • Bosnian

Age Structure

The age structure in Macedonia is varied, with the most significant percentage of the population (7%) being in the 40 to 44 years age group.

The country also has a notable number of centenarians, with 51 people registered as being over the age of 100.

In terms of gender distribution, 50.4% of the population are women, while 49.6% are men.


Gross Domestic Product

Macedonia’s economy has shown resilience despite challenges from higher energy prices and various uncertainties.

The Skopje Region holds the largest share of the country’s GDP, accounting for 43.9% in 2021.

The economy is also strongly affected by developments in Europe due to its ties to banking and trade.

Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate in Macedonia has been an ongoing concern for the country.

While exact and specific data for Skopje is not available in the given sources, it is essential to remain aware of the broader economic landscape that can impact Skopje residents.

Inflation Rate

The inflation rate in Macedonia plays an essential role in shaping the country’s economic landscape.

However, specific information on Skopje’s inflation rate is not available within the provided resources.

Major Industries

Macedonia’s major industries include agriculture, textiles, automotive parts manufacturing, and construction.

The Economic Activity Pelagonija region, often referred to as the breadbasket of Macedonia, plays a significant role in the country’s agriculture.

Foreign Direct Investment

Macedonia’s economy depends on regional integration and progress toward EU membership for continued economic growth.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is a crucial component in supporting and fostering the country’s economic development.

Transportation and Infrastructure

Road Network

Macedonia has been investing in its road infrastructure in recent years to improve connectivity and access to markets.

In 2021, the World Bank approved an additional €37 million to help enhance the local road network, also benefiting Skopje as the capital city.

The country’s geography is a landlocked area covering 25,713 km² in the Balkan Peninsula, with Skopje being an important transportation center.

Public Transportation

Skopje’s public transportation system predominantly consists of buses providing connections within the city and its suburbs.

The system ensures adequate coverage and accessibility for its residents, connecting various points of interest and essential services.

Additional investment in public transportation infrastructure is crucial for providing better mobility, addressing congestion, and promoting more sustainable modes of transport in the region.


Skopje has a modern airport catering to both domestic and international flights.

The presence of the airport enhances the city’s connectivity with other major European cities, ensuring smooth travel for business and tourism purposes.

As Skopje continues to grow, the airport will play an essential role in driving economic development by enabling greater access to international markets, boosting investment in the area, and fostering cultural exchange.


Statistics about Skopje and Macedonia

Tourist Attractions

Skopje, the capital city of Macedonia, offers a variety of attractions for both local and international tourists.

Some of the most notable sites include the Old Bazaar, a historical marketplace that dates back to the Ottoman period, and the Skopje Fortress, which provides stunning views of the city.

The Mother Teresa Memorial House, located in the city center, is a tribute to the world-renowned humanitarian and her contributions.

Beyond Skopje, Macedonia also boasts several natural attractions.

Among them is the breathtaking Mavrovo National Park, which offers diverse outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and birdwatching.

Another popular destination is Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ancient churches, monasteries, and crystal-clear Lake Ohrid.

International Visitors

In recent years, Macedonia has been experiencing a steady increase in international tourism.

In 2019, the country received 1,184,963 tourist arrivals, out of which 757,593 were foreign visitors.

This growth trend indicates that Macedonia continues to gain recognition as a desirable destination for travelers worldwide.

Accommodation Options

Visitors to Skopje and other parts of Macedonia have numerous accommodation choices to suit various preferences and budgets.

These options range from luxurious hotels in the city centers to more budget-friendly hostels and guest houses.

Additionally, travelers looking for a more immersive experience can explore rural guesthouses and eco-villages, which provide an opportunity to experience authentic Macedonian culture and hospitality.

In May 2023, the State Statistical Office reported that the total number of tourists in Macedonia reached 100,977, with 29.4% being domestic tourists and the remaining 70.6% as foreign visitors.

The total number of nights spent by all tourists during this period amounted to 199,984, with domestic visitors accounting for 31.4% and international tourists making up the remaining 68.6%.

Education and Healthcare

Literacy Rate

In Macedonia, literacy rates have been a concern.

The census data illustrates that more than a quarter of the 1.8 million population, over 550,000 residents, have either not received any formal education or started but did not finish high school.

Efforts are needed to improve literacy and education access for the population.

Enrollment Rates

Macedonia has been investing in education with the aim of improving its human capital.

However, there is still room to invest more in the quality and equity of the education system to increase enrollment rates and achieve better outcomes.

Healthcare Facilities

Healthcare in Macedonia has seen improvements, but challenges still remain.

The efficient allocation of resources and the development of accessible healthcare facilities are essential for the country’s progress.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is closely working with the country to monitor and provide guidance on healthcare policies source.

Life Expectancy

In terms of health outcomes, Macedonia has made considerable strides.

For instance, 99 out of 100 children born in the country survive to age 5.

This statistic highlights the importance of continuing to focus on health and well-being for all citizens.

Culture and History

Historical Events

Skopje, the capital city of Macedonia, has a rich and diverse history, with numerous historical events shaping its identity.

The city has been inhabited since at least 4000 BCE and has been under various influences, including Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman rule.

In 1689, a significant event occurred when Skopje was heavily damaged by a fire set by the Habsburg army during the Great Turkish War.

In the 20th century, Skopje experienced another transformative moment with the 1963 earthquake, which destroyed about 80% of the city and resulted in a major international relief effort and rebuilding process.

Today, the city bears the marks of its history, with a unique mixture of architectural styles and cultural influences spanning across centuries.

Cultural Heritage Sites

Macedonia is home to several important cultural heritage sites.

Among these sites are the medieval monasteries located in the vicinity of Skopje.

One notable example is the Nerezi Monastery, built in 1164, which features exquisite 12th-century frescoes.

Another significant site in Skopje is the ancient fortress dominating the terraced riverbank, a testament to the city’s strategic importance throughout the ages.

In addition, Macedonia boasts a rich cultural heritage that is reflected in its vibrant arts, music, and dance scenes.

Traditional Macedonian folk music and dance are an integral part of the country’s identity and can often be experienced during various cultural events and celebrations.

The city’s museums, galleries, and historical sites serve as a reminder of its enduring cultural significance and resilience.

Environment and Sustainability

Air Quality

Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, has faced air quality issues in recent years.

According to UNESCO, Skopje is home to over 550,000 inhabitants, which contributes to vehicle emissions and urban pollution.

The local government has implemented several measures to improve air quality, including developing public transportation, promoting green spaces, and investing in cleaner technologies.

Waste Management

Macedonia has faced challenges in waste management.

As a country with a population of 2.08 million and a surface area of 25,713 km², proper waste management is crucial for the well-being of its citizens (Balkan Green Energy News).

The government has been working on implementing new waste management policies and infrastructure, aiming to increase recycling rates and reduce the negative impact of waste on the environment.

Some highlights regarding waste management in Macedonia include:

  • Introduction of modern landfill facilities.
  • Promotion of recycling initiatives.
  • Encouragement of waste reduction at the source.

Renewable Energy

As a signatory of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Macedonia is dedicated to increasing the use of renewable energy to combat climate change and protect the environment (UN North Macedonia).

The country is currently working on expanding its renewable energy portfolio and encouraging investment in green technologies.

To achieve this, Macedonia has been focusing on the following areas:

  • Developing hydropower projects
  • Investing in solar and wind energy production
  • Promoting energy efficiency measures

Through these efforts, Macedonia aims to create a more sustainable future, taking necessary steps to improve air quality, optimize waste management, and promote renewable energy production.

This guide was first published on August 12, 2023 and was last updated on March 15, 2024. For more information, please contact us at contact@skopjeguide.com.