Quality of life
As stated by the Mercer international surveys for quality of life in cities around the world, Bucharest occupied the 94th place in 2001 and slipped lower, to the 108th place in 2009 and the 107th place in 2010. Compared to it, Vienna occupied No. 1 worldwide in 2011 and 2009. Budapest ranked 73rd (2010) and Sofia 114th (2010). Mercer Human Resource Consulting issues yearly a global ranking of the world’s most livable cities based on 39 key quality-of-life issues. Among them: political stability, currency-exchange regulations, political and media censorship, school quality, housing, the environment, public safety. Mercer collects data worldwide, in 215 cities. The difficult situation of the quality of life in Bucharest is confirmed also by a vast urbanism study, done by the Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism.
The city’s population, according to the 2002 census, was 1,926,334 inhabitants, or 8.9% of the total population of Romania. A significant number of people commute to the city every day, mostly from the surrounding Ilfov county, however official statistics regarding their numbers do not exist.
Bucharest’s population experienced two phases of rapid growth, the first beginning in the late 19th century when the city was consolidated as the national capital and lasting until the Second World War, and the second during the Ceaușescu years (1965–1989), when a massive urbanization campaign was launched and many people migrated from rural areas to the capital. At this time, due to Ceaușescu’s decision to ban abortion and contraception, natural increase was also significant.
Approximately 96.6% of the population of Bucharest are Romanians. Other significant ethnic groups are Roma Gypsies, Hungarians, Jews, Turks, Chinese and Germans. A relatively small number of Bucharesters are of Greek, North American, French, Armenian, Lippovan and Italian descent. One of the predominantly Greek neighborhoods was Vitan – where a Jewish population also lived; the latter was more present in Văcărești and areas around Unirii Square.
In terms of religious affiliation, 96.1% of the population are Romanian Orthodox, 1.2% are Roman Catholic, 0.5% are Muslim and 0.4% are Romanian Greek Catholic. Despite this, only 18% of the population, of any religion, attend a place of worship once a week or more. The life expectancy of residents of Bucharest in 2003–2005 was 74.14 years, around 2 years higher than the Romanian average. Female life expectancy was 77.41 years, in comparison to 70.57 years for males.