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Skopje, just like North Macedonia as a whole, is characterized by a large ethnic diversity. The city is located in a region where Macedonians and ethnic Albanians meet, and it welcomed Romani, Turks, Jews and Serbs throughout its history. Skopje was mainly a Muslim

Skopje concentrates a third of North Macedonia's population and other North Macedonian towns are much smaller. The second most populous municipality, Kumanovo, had 107,632 inhabitants in 2011,[135] and an urban unit of 76,272 inhabitants in 2002.[1]

Before the Austro-Turkish war and the 1698 Great Fire, Skopje was one of the biggest cities in the Balkans, with a population estimated between 30,000 and 60,000 inhabitants.[54] After the fire, it experienced a long period of decline and only had 10,000 inhabitants in 1836.[101] However, the population started to rise again after 1850 and reached 32,000 inhabitants in 1905.[55] In the 20th century, Skopje was one of the fastest growing cities in Yugoslavia and it had 448,200 inhabitants in 1971. Since then, the demographic growth has continued at a steady pace.[154]

Skopje, just like North Macedonia as a whole, is characterized by a large ethnic diversity. The city is located in a region where Macedonians and ethnic Albanians meet, and it welcomed Romani, Turks, Jews and Serbs throughout its history. Skopje was mainly a Muslim city until the 19th century, when large numbers of Christians started to settle there. According to the 2002 census, Macedonians were the largest ethnic group in Skopje, with 338,358 inhabitants, or 66.75% of the population. Then came Albanians with 103,891 inhabitants (20.49%), Roma people with 23,475 (4.63%), Serbs (14,298 inhabitants), Turks (8,595), Bosniaks (7,585) and Vlachs (2,557). 8,167 people did not belong to any of these groups.[1]

Ethnic Macedonians form an overwhelming majority of the population in the municipalities of Aerodrom, Centar, Gjorče Petrov, Karpoš and Kisela Voda, which are all located south of the Vardar.[156] They also form a majority in Butel[157] and Gazi Baba which are north of the river. Albanians form a majority in Čair which roughly corresponds to the Old Bazaar, and in Saraj.[158] They form a large minority in Butel[157] and Gazi Baba. Ethnic Macedonians form an overwhelming majority of the population in the municipalities of Aerodrom, Centar, Gjorče Petrov, Karpoš and Kisela Voda, which are all located south of the Vardar.[156] They also form a majority in Butel[157] and Gazi Baba which are north of the river. Albanians form a majority in Čair which roughly corresponds to the Old Bazaar, and in Saraj.[158] They form a large minority in Butel[157] and Gazi Baba. Šuto Orizari, located on the northern edge of the city, is predominantly Roma.[1] When an ethnic minority forms at least 20% of the population in a municipality, its language can become official on the local level. Thus, in Čair and Saraj schools and administration use Albanian, and Romani in Šuto Orizari.[159] The latter is the only municipality in the world where Romani is an official language.[49]

Relations between the two largest groups, Macedonians and Albanians, are sometimes difficult, as in the rest of the country. Each group tolerate the other but they tend to avoid each other and live in what can appear as two parallel worlds.[160] Both Macedonians and Albanians view themselves each as the original population of Skopje and the other as newcomers.[161][123][125] The Roma minority is on its side very deprived. Its exact size is not known because many Macedonian Roma declare themselves as belonging to other ethnic groups or simply avoid censuses. However, even if official figures are underestimated, Skopje is the city in the world with the largest Roma population.[49]

Religious affiliation is diverse: Macedonians, Serbs, and Vlachs are mainly Orthodox, with the majority affiliated to the Macedonian Orthodox Church; Turks are almost entirely Muslim; those of Albanian ethnicity are largely Muslim, although Skopje also has a sizeable Roman Catholic Albanian minority, into which Mother Teresa was born; the Roma (Gypsies) represent a mixture (in almost equal numbers) of Muslim and Orthodox religious heritage.[162]

According to the 2002 census, 68.5% of the population of Skopje belonged to the Eastern Orthodox Church, while 28.6% of it belonged to Islam. The city also had Catholic (0.5%) and Protestant (0.04%) minorities.[163] The Catholics are served by the Latin bishopric of Skopje, in which is also vested the Byzantine Catholic Apostolic Exarchate of Macedonia.

Until World War II, Skopje had a significant Jewish minority which mainly descended from Spanish Sephardis who had escaped the

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