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Ethnicity, Language, & Religion of Romania


The majority of Romanians are ethnic Romanian, but there are significant minority populations of Magyars (Hungarians) and Roma (gypsies). Despite the name and their language, the Romanians, as an ethnic group, are somewhat unique in Europe. Their closest ethnic relatives are not the Romans, but instead are minor groups found throughout the Balkan Peninsula. The Moldovans are genetically identical to the Romanians and hence are their closest relation if they are considered two different groups. The Roma are most closely related to the people of India.


Romanian is the official language of Romania and, as its name would suggest, it is a Romance language very closely related to Latin. More distantly, the other Romance languages, such as Italian, Spanish, French, and Portuguese are also related.

There are a substantial number of Hungarian speakers in the northern part of the country near Hungary, these speakers are generally ethnic Magyars (or Hungarians). Most of these people learn Romanian and use that language to communicate with the Romanian speakers. English and other popular international languages are being taught in greater numbers with each passing year, but fluency is still uncommon although a growing number of people have a working understanding of English.


Most ethnic Romanians are Romanian Orthodox, while the Magyars tend to be Catholic or adhere to Protestant branches of Christianity. In various parts of the country however, the Romanian Orthodox church is less popular than other branches of Christianity, primarily Eastern Orthodoxy or Protestantism.

Orthodoxy is a Christian religion that claims to be the most loyal to the Christian faith and religion as it was described by Jesus and the Gospels in the New Testament. Christianity, including Orthodoxy, was founded after the death of Jesus in about 30-33 AD; various branches of Orthodoxy were officially recognized by governments long before Catholicism was recognized in the Roman Empire.

Orthodoxy and Catholicism have many of the same beliefs; both believe that there is a single God who created everything and a savior, the son of God, Jesus Christ who is the forgiver of sins. However, Orthodoxy is very decentralized so each bishop oversees their local country or region, giving each orthodox country a different leader. In this way, no bishop has more power than any other, meaning the tenants and interpretations of the faith remain relatively unchanged. These beliefs are based on the teachings of the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, in particular the life and teachings of Jesus, which is found in the gospels (in the New Testament).

This page was last updated: May, 2014