The central Balkans were part of the Roman and Byzantine Empires before ethnic Serbs migrated to the territories of modern Kosovo in the 7th century. During the medieval period, Kosovo became the center of a Serbian Empire and saw the construction of many important Serb religious sites, including many architecturally significant Serbian Orthodox monasteries. The defeat of Serbian forces at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 led to five centuries of Ottoman rule during which large numbers of Turks and Albanians moved to Kosovo. By the end of the 19th century, Albanians replaced Serbs as the dominant ethnic group in Kosovo. Serbia reacquired control over the region from the Ottoman Empire during the First Balkan War of 1912. After World War II, Kosovo's present-day boundaries were established when Kosovo became an autonomous province of Serbia in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (S.F.R.Y.). Despite legislative concessions, Albanian nationalism increased in the 1980s, which led to riots and calls for Kosovo's independence. The Serbs - many of whom viewed Kosovo as their cultural heartland - instituted a new constitution in 1989 revoking Kosovo's autonomous status. Kosovo's Albanian leaders responded in 1991 by organizing a referendum declaring Kosovo independent. Serbia undertook repressive measures against the Kosovar Albanians in the 1990s, provoking a Kosovar Albanian insurgency. Beginning in 1998, Serbia conducted a brutal counterinsurgency campaign that resulted in massacres and massive expulsions of ethnic Albanians (some 800,000 ethnic Albanians were forced from their homes in Kosovo). After international attempts to mediate the conflict failed, a three-month NATO military operation against Serbia beginning in March 1999 forced the Serbs to agree to withdraw their military and police forces from Kosovo. UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) placed Kosovo under a transitional administration, the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), pending a determination of Kosovo's future status. A UN-led process began in late 2005 to determine Kosovo's final status. The 2006-07 negotiations ended without agreement between Belgrade and Pristina, though the UN issued a comprehensive report on Kosovo's final status that endorsed independence. On 17 February 2008, the Kosovo Assembly declared Kosovo independent. Since then, over 100 countries have recognized Kosovo, and it has joined numerous international organizations. In October 2008, Serbia sought an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legality under international law of Kosovo's declaration of independence. The ICJ released the advisory opinion in July 2010 affirming that Kosovo's declaration of independence did not violate general principles of international law, UN Security Council Resolution 1244, or the Constitutive Framework. The opinion was closely tailored to Kosovo's unique history and circumstances. Demonstrating Kosovo’s development into a sovereign, multi-ethnic, democratic country the international community ended the period of Supervised Independence in 2012. Kosovo held its most recent national and municipal elections in 2017. Serbia continues to reject Kosovo's independence, but the two countries agreed in April 2013 to normalize their relations through EU-facilitated talks, which produced several subsequent agreements the parties are engaged in implementing, though they have not yet reached a comprehensive normalization of relations. Kosovo seeks full integration into the international community, and has pursued bilateral recognitions and memberships in international organizations. Kosovo signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU in 2015, and was named by a 2018 EU report as one of six Western Balkan countries that will be able to join the organization once it meets the criteria to accede. Kosovo also seeks memberships in the UN and in NATO.



42.35° N, 21. 0° E
Southeast Europe, between Serbia and Macedonia


10,887 sq km
10,887 sq km
0 sq km

land boundaries

714 km


0 km


influenced by continental air masses resulting in relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall and hot, dry summers and autumns; Mediterranean and alpine influences create regional variation; maximum rainfall between October and December


flat fluvial basin at an elevation of 400-700 m above sea level surrounded by several high mountain ranges with elevations of 2,000 to 2,500 m


450 m
lowest point
Drini i Bardhe/Beli Drim (located on the border with Albania)
297 m
highest point
2,656 m

natural resources

  • nickel
  • lead
  • zinc
  • magnesium
  • lignite
  • kaolin
  • chrome
  • bauxite

land use

arable land
27.4 %
permanent crops
1.9 %
permanent pasture
23.5 %
41.7 %
5.5 %

population distribution

population clusters exist throughout the country, the largest being in the east in and around the capital of Pristina



  • 1,932,774
  • 150
    global rank


  • Kosovar (Albanian)
  • Kosovo

ethnic groups

92.9 %
1.6 %
1.5 %
1.1 %
0.9 %
0.7 %
0.6 %
0.5 %
0.2 %


  • Albanian
  • Bosnian
  • Serbian
  • Turkish
  • other
    includes Romani
  • unspecified


95.6 %
Roman Catholic
2.2 %
1.5 %
0.1 %
0.1 %
0.6 %

birth rate

  • 15.4
    per 1,000 population
  • 117
    global rank

death rate

  • 7
    per 1,000 population
  • 126
    global rank

major urban areas

  • Pristina
    pop. 214,688

life expectancy

  • 72.7
    total population
  • 151
    global rank


country name


  • Republic of Kosovo
    long form
  • Kosovo
    short form


  • Republika e Kosoves (Republika Kosovo)
    long form
  • Kosove (Kosovo)
    short form

government type

parliamentary republic


Pristina (Prishtine, Prishtina)
42.40 N, 21.10 E


national holidays

  • Independence Day
    17 February

legal system

civil law system; note - the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) retained limited executive powers within the Kosovo judiciary for complex cases from 2008 to 2018

age of suffrage


flag description

centered on a dark blue field is a gold-colored silhouette of Kosovo surmounted by six white, five-pointed stars arrayed in a slight arc; each star represents one of the major ethnic groups of Kosovo: Albanians, Serbs, Turks, Gorani, Roma, and Bosniaks

national colors

  • blue
  • gold
  • white

national anthem




Kosovo's economy has shown progress in transitioning to a market-based system and maintaining macroeconomic stability, but it is still highly dependent on the international community and the diaspora for financial and technical assistance. Remittances from the diaspora - located mainly in Germany, Switzerland, and the Nordic countries - are estimated to account for about 17% of GDP and international donor assistance accounts for approximately 10% of GDP. With international assistance, Kosovo has been able to privatize a majority of its state-owned enterprises. Kosovo's citizens are the second poorest in Europe, after Moldova, with a per capita GDP (PPP) of $10,400 in 2017. An unemployment rate of 33%, and a youth unemployment rate near 60%, in a country where the average age is 26, encourages emigration and fuels a significant informal, unreported economy. Most of Kosovo's population lives in rural towns outside of the capital, Pristina. Inefficient, near-subsistence farming is common - the result of small plots, limited mechanization, and a lack of technical expertise. Kosovo enjoys lower labor costs than the rest of the region. However, high levels of corruption, little contract enforcement, and unreliable electricity supply have discouraged potential investors. The official currency of Kosovo is the euro, but the Serbian dinar is also used illegally in Serb majority communities. Kosovo's tie to the euro has helped keep core inflation low. Minerals and metals production - including lignite, lead, zinc, nickel, chrome, aluminum, magnesium, and a wide variety of construction materials - once the backbone of industry, has declined because of aging equipment and insufficient investment, problems exacerbated by competing and unresolved ownership claims of Kosovo’s largest mines. A limited and unreliable electricity supply is a major impediment to economic development. The US Government is cooperating with the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) and the World Bank to conclude a commercial tender for the construction of Kosovo C, a new lignite-fired power plant that would leverage Kosovo’s large lignite reserves. MED also has plans for the rehabilitation of an older bituminous-fired power plant, Kosovo B, and the development of a coal mine that could supply both plants. In June 2009, Kosovo joined the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, the Central Europe Free Trade Area (CEFTA) in 2006, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 2012, and the Council of Europe Development Bank in 2013. In 2016, Kosovo implemented the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) negotiations with the EU, focused on trade liberalization. In 2014, nearly 60% of customs duty-eligible imports into Kosovo were EU goods. In August 2015, as part of its EU-facilitated normalization process with Serbia, Kosovo signed agreements on telecommunications and energy distribution, but disagreements over who owns economic assets, such as the Trepca mining conglomerate, within Kosovo continue. Kosovo experienced its first federal budget deficit in 2012, when government expenditures climbed sharply. In May 2014, the government introduced a 25% salary increase for public sector employees and an equal increase in certain social benefits. Central revenues could not sustain these increases, and the government was forced to reduce its planned capital investments. The government, led by Prime Minister MUSTAFA - a trained economist - recently made several changes to its fiscal policy, expanding the list of duty-free imports, decreasing the Value Added Tax (VAT) for basic food items and public utilities, and increasing the VAT for all other goods. While Kosovo’s economy continued to make progress, unemployment has not been reduced, nor living standards raised, due to lack of economic reforms and investment.


19,600,000,000 USD

agriculture products

  • wheat
  • corn
  • berries
  • potatoes
  • peppers
  • fruit
  • dairy
  • livestock
  • fish

poverty level



  • 2,053,999,999.9,999,998
    revenue (USD)
  • 2,203,000,000
    expenditures (USD)



    fixed lines

  • 831,470
    total subscriptions
  • 81
    global rank

    mobile cellular

  • 562,000
    total subscriptions
  • 171
    global rank


.xk note: assigned as a temporary code under UN Security Council resolution 1244/99
country code


  • 1,706,150
  • 89.44
    % of population
  • 125
    global rank


electricity access



air transport


  • 6
  • 3


333 km
total length


2,012 km
total length



expenditures here