Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Croatia's Exodus: What Some Cities in Croatia are Offering Young Families to Stay

January 25, 2022 - When the results of the 2021 Census were revealed on 14 January 2022, reactions were swift and varied. For the first time in over 70 years, Croatia’s population dipped below 4 million to hover around 3.88 million inhabitants (DZS). Since gaining independence in 1991, Croatia has been an exodus of almost 19% of its population, or 895,736 residents.

A closer look at the data reflects the greatest outflow of inhabitants are between the ages of 20-59, drawn to other European countries with richer labor markets and higher wages. This decline is exacerbated by lower birth rates and an aging population. Croatian women now have fewer children, with a birth rate of 1.44 children per woman, well below the 2.1 needed to grow the country’s population. Simultaneously, Croatia has also experienced a 13.6% increase in inhabitants aged 60 and up over the last decade.

To counter these effects, cities across Croatia have implemented a range of social and economic measures to entice citizens, particularly the younger generation, to stay and thrive. We take a look at a handful of cities across Croatia and the benefits they offer.


Over a quarter of Croatians live and work in Zagreb. Since 2009, the City of Zagreb has introduced a series of measures to make the city more attractive for its inhabitants. According to their model (“zagrebački model pronatalitetne politike”), parents receive financial support for newborns amounting to 3,500 kuna for every child. From the third child onwards, an additional monthly bonus is paid until the child turns 6 years old, amounting to a total of 54,000 kuna.

After-school care is subsidized and scholarships are awarded for gifted students and those of lower socio-economic backgrounds. All students up to a secondary school level are also provided free transportation and textbooks. The city is also looking to further extend these measures to include tax breaks for teachers and scholarships holders. Together, they cost the city approximately 1.072 billion kuna annually.


According to recent headlines, the City of Rijeka is increasing efforts to boost its population. Karla Mušković, the head of the city Department of Health and Social Welfare, said the City is doubling financial support to new parents by awarding them 3,000 kuna for the first child, 4,000 kuna for the second and, for the third child onwards, 6,000 kuna.

An additional 2,000 kuna in vouchers will be awarded to low-income families, single parents, as well as parents suffering from disabilities from the Homeland War. Students and children of veterans missing, detained or perished will also receive a one-off payment of 1,000 kunas in financial aid. The city has also set aside 12 million kunas in this year’s budget to subsidize rising electricity costs for the vulnerable. The total cost for these extended measures is 22 million kuna.

While generous, how do these measures stack up with smaller cities across Croatia?


Surprisingly, Vis offers one of the most generous policies in Croatia. As of 2016, Vis provides a bonus of 10,000 kuna for the first 2 children. From the third child onwards, parents are given a hefty 146,000 kuna. This is broken down to an upfront sum of 20,000 kuna, with a monthly annuity of 1,200 kuna until the child reaches 10 years old.

Novi Vinodolski

First-time parents are given a sum of 10,000 kuna per child. Additionally, the city also plans for additional subsidies to young families for repayment of housing loans, given the inflation of housing prices due to tourism.


For Crikvenica, parents with 3 or more children receive 30,000 kuna per child. Mayor Damir Rukavina’s government also enacted a series of measures to combat rising housing costs. In 2007 and 2019, building restrictions were passed to limit construction zones and building plot sizes within the city.


The City of Vukovar rewards 1,000 kuna for the first child, 2,000 kuna for the second child, and 5,000 kuna for the third and each subsequent child. On top of this, Vukovar also co-finances housing costs for families with three or more children, subsidizing bills for water, electricity, heating and waste collection.


In 2019, the City of Imotski increased the financial aid for newborns ten-fold. As of 2019, parents will now receive 10,000 kuna for the first child, 20,000 kuna for the second, and 50,000 kuna for the third and subsequent child. These measures make up almost 1.25 million kuna in the annual budget.

While government measures are certainly helpful to alleviate this situation, private businesses can also play a significant role. For example, DM has rolled out significant incentives to ensure their employees thrive in the workplace. In 2019, they increased the bonus given to new parents from 3,000 kuna per child, to 10,000 kuna, while new parents are encouraged to make use of their flexible shift system to ensure proper work-life balance.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 16 January 2022

The Blame Game: Reactions to Croatian 2021 Census Varied

January the 16th, 2022 - There have been a varied range of reactions to the recently revealed official Croatian 2021 Census results, from shock and references to ''catastrophe'' to those who most absolutely expected such an underwhelming result.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, after the Central Bureau of Statistics published the first official data from the Croatian 2021 Census, according to which 3,888,529 people live in the Republic of Croatia, the first reactions have arrived.

"We expected the population to be less than 3.8 million," said Croatian demographer Stjepan Sterc, who was a recent guest on N1's live studio. He added that little was said about Croatia losing almost 400,000 inhabitants.

"This is an incredible catastrophe for Croatia, to lose 400,000 inhabitants and that there is no reaction to it or awareness of it," added demographer Sterc.

Member of Parliament Katarina Peovic also commented on the results of the Croatian 2021 Census as a guest in N1's studio.

"It must be said openly that people have been expelled from the country. The birth rate is low everywhere, but in Croatia there are measures that force young people to leave the country. For the first time, we have a situation where young people have worse living conditions than their parents did. Young people are creating a surplus of the population, they're deemed unnecessary and this country does not intend to use them. We have a million unemployed people, no country can prosper if there are so many people who are deemed to be unnecessary to it,'' said Peovic.

"The devastating results of the Croatian 2021 Census are a defeat to all those who led this country first and foremost, for the last ten years! But what's even more of a concern is their deep misunderstanding of the problem they're trying to solve with the measure Choose Croatia - which would pay people to return here,'' said the head of Nova ljevica (New Left), Ivana Kekin, on Twitter.

The prefect of Vukovar-Srijem County, Damir Dekanic, commented on the Croatian 2021 Census results and the fact that his county has almost 20 percent fewer people than it did before 2011. "I have to admit that this result is, unfortunately, expected," said Dekanic, adding that a large number of people from the county he's in charge of left with Croatia's entry into the European Union (EU).

"HDZ is not in power in the Czech Republic, so the results of the population in the Czech Republic are because people have moved out of the country when it joined the European Union," he said in response to people criticising HDZ as the results came in.

"The general climate of return should be created first, just as the general climate of departure was created in the media," Dekanic added.

Rajko Ostojic considers the results of the Croatian 2021 Census utterly catastrophic. "Corruption, crime and clientelism are the main reasons why people are leaving Croatia," said Ostojic as a guest on the N1 live studio.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Sunday, 16 January 2022

Economic Analyst Andrej Grubisic Discusses Croatian Public Sector

January the 16th, 2022 - Economic analyst Andrej Grubisic has spoken among a series of others to state his feelings about the recently released official Croatian 2021 Census data, noting an uncomfortable truth about just how many people are employed in the country's public sector.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, economic analyst Andrej Grubisic was a recent guest of N1 on which he commented on the repercussions of a smaller number of residents of the country on the sustainability of the pension system. He says fewer people in the country means that they will see the greatest repercussions of pressure on the pension system from a long-term perspective.

"In my opinion, these are the biggest challenges. We undertook an analysis that showed that about 100 and something thousand people experienced a negative natural increase. What the data shows is that for one million and 240 thousand pension beneficiaries, when you have 2.5 million able-bodied residents, we have about 50 percent of pension beneficiaries for every single able-bodied resident,'' explained Andrej Grubisic.

The pension system, he says, is sustainable, but it will not be able to produce higher pensions in real terms. "The question is what reasonable adjustments would be made, given the facts we're dealing with. A solution is likely to be sought by force in a few things. One is the opening of the borders, I think that Croatia will have to liberalise the import of labour,'' said Amdrej Grubisic.

He also spoke about what he considers to be one of the sources of that desired labour.

"I think that one of the sources that is not often talked about in public space is that there are a significant number of quite frankly redundant people working in the public sector. In the Croatian public sector, in the broadest sense of the word, with four hundred thousand people who are tied to the central budget, local budgets and public companies... If you start from the fact that 10 percent of that workforce is redundant, that’s equal to 40,000 people.

That's an extremely significant pool of people. If they ended up in the labour market, some of them would be forced to take up jobs in the private sector. We have relatively young retirees, who are retired but are still very much able to work. The work of pensioners needs to be liberalised. All barriers need to be broken down in order for people to work if they want to. There can be no progress if there aren't enough of us, with a special emphasis on job productivity,'' Andrej Grubisic concluded.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Croatian Enumerators Out and About Wearing 2021 Census Shirts, Masks

September the 29th, 2021 - The deadline for filling in the very first Croatian e-Census online via the e-Citizens (e-Gradjani) portal had ended and Croatian enumerators are now out and about knocking on doors. Even if you've filled in the 2021 census online, you'll still need to either answer the door or provide the enumerator with your unique control code (kontrolna sifra) obtained after successfully completing the census online.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, due to the great level of interest of residents in filling in the census independently online, on Sunday evening, the last day of the first phase of the 2021 census, the system became overloaded and the was difficult to access. As a result of that, the ability to fill in the e-Citizens portal was made possible on September the 27th until 23:59.

On Tuesday, September the 28th, 2021, the second phase of the census began and Croatian enumerators went out in the ''old'' way from door to door. Enumerators will come to the addresses of households and enumerate individuals, households and dwellings, and from those who enumerated themselves independently, they'll simply take their unique control code as proof of successful self-enumeration.

What will the Croatian enumerators look like?

Enumerators will be wearing T-shirts with the features of the 2021 Census clearly written on them, they'll be wearing masks and have laptops and EU digital covid certificates on their person, so people will be able to easily recognise them. In addition to masks and T-shirts, Croatian enumerators will also have ID cards with them.

''Let's create a picture of Croatia together/Stvorimo zajedno sliku Hrvatske" will be written on the masks that the enumerators will wea and they will either be white or blue in colour.

What if no one is home when the enumerator comes knocking?

If the enumerator doesn't find anyone at home when they come, they will leave a written notice and arrange a date for the enumeration to take place which better suits you. If the household has registered itself and will be absent most of the time, then their unique control code can be written down on a piece of paper and pasted on the door so that the enumerator can pick it up. You can also ask a neighbour who is expecting the enumerator to come to hand over your self-enumeration control code, too.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 27 September 2021

Self-Enumeration Extended Until Midnight

ZAGREB, 27 Sept 2021 - Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS) director Lidija Brković said on Monday that self-enumeration, which was supposed to end at midnight on Sunday, was extended until midnight today because yesterday the system was slow "due to extremely high interest."

She told the press that over 100,000 citizens had self-enumerated since 3 pm on Sunday and dismissed journalists' claims that the system crashed yesterday.

Due to the prolongation, the second stage of the population census will begin on Tuesday, instead of today, with 8,000 census-takers visiting households across the country. Despite the prolongation, the census is expected to end on 17 October as planned.

Since 13 September, over 1.42 million citizens have completed census questionnaires online on their own, which Brković said surpassed expectations. The City of Zagreb accounts for over 50% of them.

She said 4,000 census-takers did not have a COVID certificate and that free testing would be ensured for them three times a week.

Brković added that citizens were free to ask census-takers to show them their certificates as well as DZS accreditation.

For more about the 2021 self-enumeration, be sure to check the official website HERE.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Door to Enumerator Must be Opened Even if You've Completed Croatian Census Online

September the 25th, 2021 - You still need to answer the door when an enumerator comes knocking, even if you've signed the 2021 Croatian census online. We've entered the 21st century, but don't worry, we're still not quite there yet...

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Lidija Brkovic, the director general of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) told HTV that people still need to answer the enumerator's knock at their door, as they'll come anyway.

''An enumerator will receive between 200 and 250 addresses, which he is obliged to visit,'' said Lidija Brkovic, adding that the code you received after you were completed the Croatian census online is used by the Central Bureau of Statistics as a coverage control list, so they still need to be presented with it.

"For example, if a building has several floors, the enumerator can't know which apartments are listed, which has yet to be listed or which apartment is empty," she said, explaining why the code people are given after completing the Croatian census online is very important. The enumerator will knock on your door, she said, also because maybe not everyone in the same apartment has been enumerated and maybe some aspects weren't clear, so questions can be asked for the sake of clarity.

Enumerators are expected to have COVID certificates, meaning they have either contracted COVID and since recovered, they've been fully vaccinated - or they have returned a recent negative test. In addition, they're obliged to respect all of the current epidemiological measures, so they'll maintain social distancing and they'll wear masks. It is recommended that enumerators do their work outside of people's apartments, which is why the Central Bureau of Statistics hopes for good weather, Brkovic added.

You can completed the 2021 Croatian census online until Sunday, September 26th, 2021. After Sunday, a little less than eight thousand enumerators are set to go out into the field.

"Given that fake enumerators appeared and some citizens had unfortunately experienced unpleasant situations, I'd like to warn people once again that the authorised enumerators of the Central Bureau of Statistics will go to the field only on Monday," said Brkovic.

Almost a million people have already registered themselves through the e-Citizens (e-Gradjani) system so far, most of them being in Zagreb.

Bernard Grsic, State Secretary of the Central State Office for the Development of Digital Society, called on people to enumerate themselves online in the next few days in order to make things easier for enumerators. Getting a credential to access the e-Citizens platform, he says, isn't complicated. 

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

8000 Croatian Enumerators Active as of Monday as Part of 2021 Census

September the 23rd, 2021 - The Croatian census of 2021 is well and truly underway. With the possibility to fill in the census online through e-Citizens (e-Gradjani) due to expire on the 26th of this month, 8000 Croatian enumerators are set to take to the field for everyone else as of Monday.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as of Monday at 15:00, more than a quarter of the population of the City of Zagreb had successully self-registered on the 2021 census online. That is equal to (on the aforementioned date) 208,148 (25.72 percent of the capital's population, which is twice as many self-registered residents as in most Croatian counties. However, this was also expected given that the capital also has a larger share of younger, more educated and IT-literate population.

The demographically devastated counties of Vukovar-Srijem (8.92 percent), Lika-Senj (9.09 percent), Brod-Posavina (9.43 percent) and Virovitica-Podravina (9.61 percent) have the least self-registered inhabitants so far. After Zagreb, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County leads in those who have completed their self-census, in which more than a fifth of the population was registered through the e-Citizens system, 57,514 (20.46 percent), followed by Zagreb County, with 17.41% percent and then Istria County, with 15.23 percent of the local population having completed the process online.

Croatia's second largest county, Split-Dalmatia, with 447 thousand inhabitants, hasn't yet bumped up its numbers in terms of the census, because only 13.76 percent of the population self-registered in one week. However, it is better than Dubrovnik-Neretva, where 13.23 percent of the population had completed the process online. In Zadar, a mere 11.40 percent of local citizens enumerated themselves, and in Sibenik-Knin, just 11.93 percent of inhabitants did the same.

The share of enumerated residents in coastal counties is worthy of special emphasis, considering the fact that in these counties, people showed the least interest in responding to the public call and as such Croatian enumerators are still being sought, so it would be good to enumerate more people online in these counties.

In the largest Slavonian county, Osijek-Baranja, with 269.5 thousand inhabitants, 13.21 percent of residents had successfully registered themselves by Monday, which is the highest of all of the Slavonian counties.

More than 8000 Croatian enumerators are set to take to the field

Residents can, as previously stated, enumerate themselves until September the 26th, and they can also enumerate their elderly parents and/or grandparents who live in another household. This is followed by the second phase of the census from September the 27th to October the 17th, when almost 8,000 Croatian enumerators have to go out into the field to enumerate people who failed to enumerate themselves, as well as to perform controls and correct mistakes made during self-enumeration.

The census will be able to be conducted until October the 29th at the latest if needed.

A fine of 2,000 to 5,000 kuna can be imposed on people who refuse to provide their data for the census and those who provide inaccurate and incomplete data during the census. More than 1000 controllers supervise the work of Croatian enumerators, and they control the accuracy and coverage of all of the collected data.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Croatian 2021 e-Census Sees Thousands More e-Citizens Accounts Used

September the 17th, 2021 - The Croatian 2021 e-Census, the very first of its kind, is going well so far. The powers that be have stated that there has been a fantastic response and that the system has been functioning very well.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the very first Croatian 2021 e-Census started being filled in and completed by Croatia's residents on Monday, it will continue that way until September the 26th. Most of those to have filled it in online reside in the City of Zagreb, and the least so far live in in Lika-Senj County. Slightly more than 320,000 residents of the country had self-registered through e-citizens by yesterday morning.

''We're more than satisfied, approximately 100,000 new people are being registered online daily. Zagreb boasts the largest pool of those people and most people there have registered themselves, but other counties are also present to a satisfactory extent,'' said Lidija Brković, CBS Director General, as a guest on the HRT show "Good Morning, Croatia/Dobro jutro, Hrvatska''.

Brkovic said that there was no system failure to speak of so far, but there were problems on Monday at around 13:00.

''New people could register themselves, but those who had already started filling it in online had problems for about 15 minutes in completing the questionnaire. We're more than satisfied with things so far, we've had a lot of positive comments and it's all very simple,'' said Brkovic, adding that it takes 15 to 20 minutes to list a family of four.

It is enough that only one family member in the household has an e-Citizens credential and that they'rethe reference person. People can also list grandparents, but if they live in another household they must also have an e-Citizens credential.

The questionnaire has about 60 questions. If you don’t answer a question that is mandatory, you can’t go any further. When you've finished the Croatian 2021 e-Census, you will receive a verification code that you need to keep hold of until the second stage of the census when you hand it over to the enumerator to show that you have completed the census.

In the last three days, there have been about 8500 more people using the e-Citizens platform, which is also excellent.

''People shouldn't worry about this data being connected to some other databases or registers, this is merely statistical data and it is all kept separate,'' explained Bernard Grsic, State Secretary of the Central State Office for the Digital Development of Society.

Enumerators are set to go out into the field on September the 26th. The second phase of the census lasts until October the 27th with the possibility of an extension.

''If you aren't home, they'll leave a message for you to contact them and arrange a time when they can come. They'll probably be able to come at any time during day. Everyone will get their census circles. The assumption is that people who work in the morning won't be at home. Not all family members have to be at home, but a person who is in must have their OIBs because they can't list them without it,'' said Brkovic.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

100,000+ Croatian Residents Successfully Complete Croatian E-Census

September the 14th, 2021 - The Croatian 2021 census is now officially underway, and for the first time ever, the ability to complete it online via the e-Citizens (e-Gradjani) system has been made available to the population. Over 100,000 Croatian residents have now successfully completed their Croatian e-Census.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the very first phase of the Census of Population, Households and Dwellings, which will last until September the 26th, started yesterday through the E-citizens system. More than 100,000 citizens were successfully registered by 20:00 yesterday, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported.

The first phase is followed by the second phase of the census from September the 27th to October the 17th, when almost 8,000 enumerators are set to go out into the field to enumerate those who didn't enumerate themselves online, and to control and correct mistakes made by citizens' self-enumeration. But just how will the accuracy of the data that people provide by filling in the Croatian e-Census or during the field phase of the 2021 census be controlled?

The reference point of the census is the 31st of August 2021, and according to the concept of people's usual place of residence, the census will include all citizens who lived in their place of residence for a year or came to live in a place of residence with the intention of staying for at least one year.

The census questionnaire consists of three parts - persons, households and dwellings - and contains 38 questions. One household member can list all members of their household through the e-Citizens system as part of the Croatian e-Census.

There's a penalty for inaccurate and incomplete results...

After completing the self-enumeration, people will receive a control code which they will then photograph or print out and give to the enumerator when he knocks on their doors. They don't have to admit the enumerator into their homes after filling in the Croatian e-Census, it is enough to give them the aforementioned control code. 

A fine of 2,000 to 5,000 kuna will be imposed on people who refuse to provide data during the Croatian 2021 census, either via the Croatian e-Census or in person, as well as to those who provided inaccurate and/or incomplete data during the carrying out of the census.

It's very easy to sit and talk about fines, but just how will the CBS control whether people have provided accurate and complete data, given that the census is based on statements and that the enumerator has absolutely no right to request any personal documents or doubt the accuracy of the data?

Although more than 1000 controllers monitor the work of the field enumerators, they control the accuracy and coverage of the collected data, how they will control the accuracy of all data during the data processing procedure? On top that, what will happen to the list of empty apartments, houses and cottages and are they even entered into the records?

"The State Bureau has repeatedly stated that the data provided by persons should be complete and accurate. Enumerators will familiarise household members with this. The enumerator can't check the accuracy of the data during the enumeration process because the census is based on a statement. However, during data processing, the Office will pair data with data from administrative databases and control the accuracy and reliability of the data. People living outside Croatia aren't listed. Persons who have a household in Croatia can enumerate members of their household in Croatia independently via e-Citizens or during the second phase of enumeration by giving that data to the enumerator. Housing units that are empty will be listed as empty apartments,'' the CBS told Vecernji list.

Croatian demographer Marin Strmota says that this census will not be comparable to any taken in the past in any case.

"I don't know what the mechanisms will be for checking the accuracy of the data collected by the census and with which databases in the Central Bureau of Statistics are networked. It's also unclear how it will be controlled when it comes to the listing of fictitious residents, for example, are the IP addresses from which citizens filled in the census questionnaire visible? If the control mechanisms aren't good, manipulations are possible,'' stated Strmota.

After the Census of Population, Households and Dwellings, we'll finally be able find out if Croatia has less than four million inhabitants. The first results of the census will be published sixty days after the end of the census carried out in the field, writes Vecernji list.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 3 September 2021

Croatian Census in Two Weeks, Fines for Those Who Refuse to Partake

September the 3rd, 2021 - The Croatian census is due to be carried out in two weeks, and every single resident of Croatia needs to partake. If you refuse to do so, a fine of between 2,000 and 5,000 kuna could be issued to you.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, every inhabitant single legal resident of the Republic of Croatia is subject to the Croatian Census Act, according to which every person who refuses to be enumerated faces a fine of two to five thousand kuna.

Lidija Brkovic, the director of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), spoke for local portal Glas Slavonije about the Croatian census, which is set to begin in two weeks following a coronavirus-induced delay earlier on in the year.

"The Croatian census is based on an individual statement, and the enumerator has no right to ask for documents or check the answers that a person gives. Every resident of Croatia is subject to is the Act on the Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic of Croatia in 2021, which provides for the issuing of fines from 2,000 to 5,000 kuna for a misdemeanor of a natural person if they refuse to provide their data for the census. People can have full confidence in the Central Bureau of Statistics because all the data collected by the Bureau remains an official secret,'' assured Brkovic.

Two phases of the 2021 Croatian census - online and offline

The Croatian census will be conducted in two phases - the first will be a ''self-census'' of residents online through the e-Citizens (e-Gradjani) system, followed by a field census of those who didn't register online. The fieldwork begins on September the 27th and will run through until October the 17th, 2021.

“The first phase of self-enumeration through the e-Citizens system will last from September the 13th to the 26th, and just one person in the household who uses the system is enough and will be able to enumerate all members of their household. If more than one household member uses the e-Citizens system, it still must only be one person listing all of the household members,'' said Brkovic.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.