Hungary had a population of 9,604,000 at the start of the latest census on Oct. 1, the Central Statistical Office said on Thursday.
Presenting the preliminary results of the census, Marcell Kovács, the census’s project manager, told a press conference that there were 4,593,000 households in the country last October.
The census counted 4,613,000 men, 4,491,000 women and 1,407,000 children, he said. The economically active population aged between 15 and 64 was 6,201,000, while the elderly population comprising those aged over 65 was 1,995,000.
The natural population loss between the 2011 and 2022 censuses was 464,000, Kovács said. This was mitigated by an influx of 131,000 immigrants, mainly from nearby countries, bringing the total population decline over 11 years to 333,000, he added.
Hungary’s population has been shrinking since 1980 when it reached 10,907,000, Kovács said.
Both the number of births and deaths have been fluctuating over the last 11 years, he said, adding that the birth rate had been increasing up until 2021 after bottoming out in 2011. The fertility rate has risen to over 1.5 from 1.23 since 2011, he said.
The annual number of deaths was around 130,000 over the last 11 years, Kovács said, adding, however, that this number had risen to 141,000 in 2020 and 156,000 in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The elderly make up 21 percent of the population, while children account for 15 percent, he said. The elderly population increased by 318,000, or 19 percent, between the last two censuses, whereas the child population saw a minor and the economically active population a significant decline, he added.
In terms of a regional breakdown, only Pest and Győr-Moson-Sopron counties saw population increases, Kovács said. Pest County saw the biggest increase at 10 percent, while Békés County experienced the biggest population decline at 13 percent.
The changes are mainly down to the natural population decline, which was largest in Békés County and smallest in Szabolcs-Szatmar Bereg and Pest counties, Kovács said.
Budapest was found to be the most densely populated area in the country overall, with the most densely populated counties being Pest, Komarom-Esztergom and Győr-Moson-Sopron. The most sparsely populated county is Somogy County. Altogether 18 percent of the population lives in Budapest.
Meanwhile, Kovács said Hungary’s housing stock had increased by 4.6 percent since 2011, adding that it had increased everywhere with the exception of Békés County.
Kovács noted that the questionnaires were filled out online during the first 19 days of the census. Fully 7 million individual questionnaires were returned during this period, he said. A further 2.2 million questionnaires were returned after census officers visited the remaining households, while another 63,000 were filled out at mayors’ offices, bringing the total number of questionnaires collected to 9.2 million, he added.
KSH president Gabriella Vukovich noted that the 2022 census was the first one in Hungary to be carried out fully electronically.
Data for future censuses will be supplied from state databases, she said.