The first day at school. Photo: Robert Balen

Alongside the majority population of Slovenian ethnic origin, in the border areas there live Hungarian and Italian minority communities. Slovenia's constitution provides all rights for them. Various other ethnic groups, mainly from the Western Balkans, also have permanent or temporary residence in Slovenia.

Slovenians would describe themselves as hard-working, diligent and active people, individualists who speak foreign languages well. They are proud of their culture and language.

Slovenians are well educated and open to difference. Many Slovenians travel, but seldom change residence. Like other modern European societies, however, they face an ageing population and low birth rate.

According to the 2002 Census, Slovenia has a population of 1,964,036. This shows an increase of 2.6% since the 1991 Census, the result of immigration from abroad and legalisation on the residence of former Yugoslav citizens who were living in Slovenia during the 1991 Census.

Slovenes represent approximately 83% of population (2002 census); there are also national minority communities of Italians and Hungarians. They are considered indigenous minorities, and their rights are protected under the Constitution, each having a representative in the National Assembly. Other ethnic groups include Croats, Serbs, Bosnians, Macedonians, Montenegrins and Albanians that came to Slovenia after the World War II as economic immigrants. The status and special rights of Roma communities living in Slovenia (0.17%) are determined by statute.