During the 1960s and 1970s, many Serbs fled from the Yugoslav Socialist Federal Republic, seeking political and economic freedom. The breakup of the Yugoslav SFR in the early 1990s and the ethnic hostilities that came in its aftermath resulted in enormous migrations to and from its various former republics. During the first half of 1999, the situation of refugees and internally displaced people deteriorated even further. As of 30 June 1999, UNHCR reported 508,000 refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia; 770,000 returnees to Kosovo, as well as 500,000 affected remainees; 220,000 Serb, Montenegrin, and Roma internally displaced persons from Kosovo in the rest of former Yugoslavia; 7,700 mostly ethnic Albanian internally displaced persons from Kosovo in Montenegro (down from a peak figure of 69,700); and 30 mandate refugees from countries outside the former Yugoslavia.
In 2000 the net migration rate was -1.9 migrants per 1,000 population, down from 3.9 migrants per 1,000 in 1990. The total number of migrants in 2000 was 626,000. The government views the migration levels as too high.