According to the 2002 census, the ethnic composition of the population was 64.2 percent Macedonian, 25.2 percent Albanian, 3.9 percent Turkish, 2.7 percent Romani, 1.8 percent Serbian, 0.8 percent Bosniak, and 0.5 percent Vlach.
Relations between the ethnic Macedonian and Albanian communities often were strained. Ethnic Albanians continued to complain of unequal representation
in government ministries. Ethnic Macedonians claimed that employers targeted them for reverse discrimination in downsizing, regardless of performance. Some ethnic Albanians claimed that discrimination in citizenship decisions by the Ministry of Interior, which has authority to grant, revoke, interrupt, or confirm a person's citizenship, effectively disenfranchised them.
The law provides for protection of minority rights and integration of all sectors of society. The government has a secretariat to hold accountable those state institutions that do not comply with the strategy for equitable minority representation, but the organization lacked enforcement and sanctioning mechanisms. According to the secretariat, there were 2,500 new public administration jobs advertised and 560 new jobs offered to ethnic minorities during the year. Data from July showed that ethnic minorities accounted for approximately 24 percent of the employees of state institutions.
Minorities remained underrepresented in the military, despite improved and continued efforts to recruit qualified minority candidates. Ethnic Albanians represented 18 percent of the army, and minorities as a whole accounted for 25 percent.
The law provides for primary and secondary education in the Macedonian, Albanian, Romani, Turkish, and Serbian languages. The number of minority
students who received secondary education in their native languages continued to increase, especially after secondary education became mandatory.
Ethnic Turks complained of discrimination. Their main concerns were slow progress in achieving equitable representation in government institutions, the absence of ethnic Turkish-majority municipalities, and the inadequacy of Turkish-language education and media.
Roma complained of widespread societal discrimination. NGOs and international experts reported that employers often denied Roma job opportunities, and some Roma complained of lack of access to public welfare funds. Roma NGOs also reported that proprietors occasionally denied Roma entrance to
their establishments. Many Roma lacked identity cards, which are necessary to obtain government services such as education, welfare, and health care.
The government funded implementation of the national strategy for the Roma Decade, including assistance with education, housing, employment, and
infrastructure development. The government also continued to fund Roma information centers that directed Roma to educational, health care, and social welfare resources. Increased NGO and government funding to eliminate barriers to education for Romani students resulted in a continued increase in school attendance rates. For the 2010-11 school year, there were 2 percent fewer Romani students enrolled in primary education and 13 percent fewer in secondary education than during the previous school year.