Friday, 23 September 2022

Croatian 2021 Census: Less Inhabitants, Less Men, Less Catholics

September the 23rd, 2022 - The final Croatian 2021 Census results have finally been published by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), which shows that there are less inhabitants, less men, and less people who identify as Catholic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Central Bureau of Statistics has now published the final results of the Croatian 2021 Census on the total population by gender and age, as well as by ethnicity, religion, citizenship and mother tongue.

According to the Croatian 2021 Census, the Republic of Croatia currently has 3,871,833 inhabitants, of which 1,865,129 are men (48.17%) and 2,006,704 are women (51.83%). Compared to the 2011 Census, the number of inhabitants decreased by 413,056 persons or 9.64%.

The total number of inhabitants decreased across all of the country's counties, and the largest relative decrease in the number of inhabitants was rather unsurprisingly present in Central and Eastern Croatia, more precisely in Vukovar-Srijem County (20.28%), Sisak-Moslavina County (19.04%), Pozega-Slavonia County (17.88%). Brod-Posavina County (17.85%) and Virovitica-Podravina County (17.05%).

The share of the population aged 0 to 14 stands at just 14.27%, and the share of the population aged 65 and over is a considerably higher 22.45%.

Croatia's national population structure as of 2021

The results of the Croatian 2021 Census show that the share of Croats in the national structure of the population stands at 91.63%, the share of ethnic Serbs stands at 3.20%, Bosniaks 0.62%, Roma 0.46%, Italians 0.36% and Albanians 0.36%, while the share of other members of national minorities is individually less than 0.30%. The share of people who have declared regionally amounts to 0.33%, and the number of people who did not want to declare this at all amounts to 0.58%.

Religious affiliation

According to religious affiliation, 78.97% of people refer to themselved as Catholics, 3.32% refer to themselves as Orthodox, there are 1.32% Muslims, and non-believers and atheists amount to 4.71%, while 1.72% of people didn't want to state their religion or religious beliefs whatsoever.

According to data by religion from back in 2011, it can be seen that the number of Catholics fell by a not insignificant 7.3 percent. The number of atheists, agnostics and skeptics has also increased somewhat.

Data by religion from 2011

Catholics – 3,697,143 – 86.28%
Orthodox - 190 143 - 4.44 %
Non-believers and atheists – 163,375 – 3.81%
Those who didn't declare their religious beliefs - 93,018 - 2.17%

Mother tongue

When it comes to what Croatia's inhabitants in 2021 have as their mother tongue, 95.25% of people declared that their mother tongue was Croatian, and 1.16% of people declared that their mother tongue was Serbian. The share of people with another mother tongue is individually less than 1.00%.

There are 28,784 foreigners living in Croatia

Of the total number of inhabitants of the Republic of Croatia, 99.24% have Croatian citizenship, while foreign citizens make up 0.74% or 28,784 of the population, according to HRT.

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

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

Demographic Crisis: Hundreds of Croatian Settlements Close to Being Empty

July the 12th, 2022 - The demographic crisis which still has its grip firmly around Croatia's neck is far from something new. These issues have been plaguing the country for years, and now hundreds of Croatian settlements are close to being left totally empty as the population continues to decline.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, at least 541 Croatian settlements across the country are on the verge of extinction because they have a maximum of just ten inhabitants, and in another 192 Croatian settlements, there are no living souls left. This devastating data has been highlighted by the first results of the population census by settlements published by the State Bureau of Statistics (CBS), writes Vecernji list.

The worst situation with this terrible trend of dying Croatian settlements and those where there are no more inhabitants left at all is in Karlovac and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, more precisely in the hilly and mountainous parts of those counties.

Karlovac County is the record holder with 129 settlements that have just from one to ten inhabitants and 30 settlements with no inhabitants, while in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, mainly in Gorski Kotar, as many as 104 settlements have from one to ten inhabitants, and another 55 of them have no inhabitants at all. Around 11 percent of all Croatian settlements, or 733 of them, have either been left without a living soul to speak of, or on the verge of complete extinction today.

It's worth noting that today, the Republic of Croatia has only 3.88 million inhabitants left, and that in the past decade alone it has lost almost 10 percent of its population.

Although from the census taken back in 2011 to last year (2021), the largest population loss was recorded in the Eastern Croatian county of Vukovar-Srijem, which lost a fifth of its inhabitants and today has around 144 thousand, followed by Sisak-Moslavina County, which lost 18.49 percent, and Brod-Posavina County, which was left without 17.53 percent of its inhabitants, it's interesting to note based on this information that Vukovar-Srijem County only actually has two settlements that have no inhabitants left.

In the very neglected Eastern Croatian (Slavonian) counties, where intensive emigration has occurred over the past decade, it's mostly formerly large settlements which haven't completely been abandoned and been left without a living soul. Pozega-Slavonia County has the most settlements with one to ten inhabitants living there, 42 of them, and another 17 settlements where there are no inhabitants at all. On the other hand, as expected, there are no settlements with up to ten inhabitants in the City of Zagreb, nor are there any in Medjimurje County.

Demographer Stjepan Sterc's data on the increase of almost 200 Croatian settlements in one single decade which are on the verge of complete extinction or of being left totally without inhabitants, is unfortunately far from surprising.

"For hilly and mountainous areas, the area of ​​Karlovac County, Gorski Kotar... this is unfortunately, an expected process. The settlementsin hilly and mountainous areas are disappearing rapidly, which is also shown by the increase in the number of Croatian settlements over the past decade in which just one to ten inhabitants live. The elderly population lives in those places, there are no families with children, and these settlements will disappear by time we conduct the next census'' stated Sterc.

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

Monday, 14 March 2022

Šuica: With Present Trends, EU Will Represent Only 4% of World Population

14 March 2022 - If the present demographic trend continues, the share of Europeans in the world will fall from the present six per cent to four per cent, European Commission Vice-President for Demography Dubravka Šuica told Hina in Strasbourg where she attended a conference on the future of Europe in the European Parliament this weekend.

"If the present trend of our births and deaths continues, Europe will represent only four per cent of the world population, which is worrying," Šuica said, noting that specific measures for demographic renewal fall within the competence of member states.

Although she mostly deals with young people, and 2022 has been declared the European Year of Youth, Šuica said that the focus should be not only on young people, given that life expectancy is increasing.

"We need the knowledge of older people, their expertise and wisdom, and we should foster intergenerational solidarity," she said.

By 2070, average life expectancy at birth will be 90 years for women, up from the present 83.7 years, and 86 years for men, compared with the present 78.2 years, Šuica said in a report on the basis of which the Green Paper on Ageing was drawn up.

In 2070, 30 per cent of the European population will be older than 65 years, compared to 20 per cent in 2019, and 13 per cent will be older than 80, up from the present six per cent.

Šuica said that 80 per cent of European territory was covered by rural areas, where only a third of the European population live, which is similar to the situation in Croatia. She said that the smart use of regional funds and cohesion policy could improve Europeans' quality of life.

Šuica said that rural areas provide huge potential for children and young people, but unfortunately they often lack adequate services, health care, kindergartens and infrastructure. "Above all, there is no broadband internet, which has become a precondition for job creation. It is no longer a question of where you live, but are you well connected," she concluded.

Monday, 17 January 2022

Plenković: No One Can Be Happy with Decrease in Population

ZAGREB, 17 Jan 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday that no one can be pleased with the population decrease but it was not unexpected, stressing that the government will do everything to mitigate the negative trends and improve the positive ones and noting that demographic issues go beyond the framework of one government.

After presenting the bill to adopt the euro as legal tender in Croatia, the prime minister was asked by the press to comment on the 2021 population census, which shows that Croatia has 396,000 fewer residents than ten years ago.

"Naturally, these results are not good, no one can be pleased with them, but at the same time when observing broader trends, they were not unexpected and can be explained quite easily," said Plenković.

He first warned of the structure of the 396,000 fewer people, saying that the difference between births and deaths is 165,000 while the remaining 230,000 refers to 110,000 registered and 120,000 unregistered emigrants.

Referring to the negative natural increase, Plenković noted that this process has been ongoing for 70 years, recalling that in 1948, 95,000 children were born annually, while their number declined by 60,000 to 35,000 in 2021.

In reference to the number of emigrants, he recalled the fact that this has resulted from Croatia's accession to the EU as one of the fundamental freedoms in the EU is the free movement of workers.

"Prior to 2013 you could emigrate to an EU country only if you met one of two criteria - obtaining a work permit or being part of some sort of quota," Plenković recalled.

"Now in 2022, in the ninth year of EU membership and ahead of entering the Schengen area and euro area, we are lifting our economy in terms of the average level of development within the EU and in terms of economic growth. We have the best credit rating ever, wages are increasing and by investing and using EU membership we are taking Croatia forward," he added.

The prime minister recalled that, unlike Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland, which started ten years earlier, it was only in 2000 that Croatia started using EU funds and "catching up" will still take this entire decade, in which Croatia has €25 billion at its disposal.

He noted several government measures directed at improving the framework to help young families have more children but warned that is not "just an economic, financial or political issue," but also a matter of culture.

"That relates to the way of life we have today and it is not the same as in the 1950s or in the third decade of this century. Simply, the culture of life is different," he claimed.

The government will do all it can to relieve the negative trends and improve the positive ones. "However, that is an issue that is much broader than the framework of one government or one policy," he assessed.

Unfortunately, the data are as they are but many countries in Western Europe have negative natural increases and are compensating them with immigration, he added.

"We still are not in a situation where Croatia would need to compensate these trends with immigration. When you look at the largest number of people being born in many Western countries, when you observe children's origin, then you will see that many of them are the children of immigrants. These are all the facts that need to be put on the cards before any justification is made," the prime minister said.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Statistical Office Says 40% of Total Population Has Self-Enumerated

ZAGREB, 28 Sept, 2021 - A total of 1.637 million Croatian citizens have self-enumerated during the first phase of the 2021 census of the population, households and dwellings, which is more than 40% of the total population, the national statistical office (DZS) said on Tuesday.

Most of the citizens who have self-enumerated are from the City of Zagreb, 489,138 or 60% of the city's total population, and from Split-Dalmatia County, where 165,678 citizens or 37% of the county's total population have self-enumerated.

Split-Dalmatia County is followed by Zagreb County, with 137,313 self-enumerated citizens (44%), and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, with 135,878 self-enumerated citizens (48%).

Citizens used the option of online self-enumeration the least in Lika-Senj County (10,400 or 23% of the county population), Virovitica-Podravina County (17,627 or 24% of the county population), and Požega-Slavonia County (17,724 or 27%).

In the second phase of the census, which starts on Tuesday, census-takers will be taking census data on the ground by visiting households and registering citizens, households and dwellings and taking from citizens who have self-enumerated control codes proving that they have successfully self-enumerated, the DZS said.

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Thursday, 12 August 2021

Croatian Census Coming, Refusal to Participate Could Result in Fine

August the 12th, 2021 - The Croatian census is set to begin in the surprisingly short time of just three weeks. With no campaign to get people's attention to speak of, there are questions as to how it will go being posed.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, former Central Bureau of Statistics' director Marko Kristof spoke for N1 about the upcoming Croatian census, the largest project of the Central Bureau of Statistics that is conducted every ten years.

"This is the most demanding statistical survey and the largest activity of any statistical office. Its a huge job and a great methodological and communication challenge,'' warned Kristof, adding that this year's Croatian census is even more demanding because the data from different sources will all be combined. Namely, in addition to contacting residents in the field, residents will be able to fill in the censues themselves through the popular e-Citizens (e-Gradjani) system.

“Filling in the Croatian census through the e-citizens system is a transition to the complete abolition of the census. Modern countries no longer conduct the census by going door to door,'' Kristof stated, adding that he believes this will be a very good step forward.

There are three weeks left until the Croatian census starts being carried out, and Kristof points out that not much information about it is even known yet - no campaign has been conducted to explain to residents what the census is for and that the key thing is to enumerate people in their usual places of residence. He hopes, he says, that things in this regard will be done in a proper and timely manner.

As for the date itself, he says it's good that the reference date has been moved from the traditional March the 31st, when the epidemic was much stronger than it is now. "The second thing is that if the census had been conducted then, it would have been too politicised,'' he explained.

He stated that the biggest challenge in any census is to determine the permanent population: ''When you have several different choices, it's an additional challenge. There's a list of households and dwellings, not just a list of people. The key thing is whether the person was staying in the place where he/she was listed at the reference moment.

"There's a consensus among demographers that there will be less than four million of us"

Kristof says it is necessary to enumerate the entire population and if a person refuses to participate, there is a possibility of punishment. but he isn't at all sure how that could ever be implemented.

He expects the number of Croatian residents to be smaller. "There's a consensus among demographers that there will be less than four million residents of Croatia. The population will be the biggest challenge. We'll find out how many people are listed, but when it comes to the exact number of residents, we'll need to wait a while. European regulations say the official results should come two years after the census is carried out. We could get the final results at the end of 2022,'' he said.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 18 June 2021

1 HRK for a House in Legrad If You Can Meet the Criteria!

June 21, 2021 - Last year, the municipality of Legrad in Northern Croatia started to market abandoned houses and construction sites in their town at 1HRK to attract new residents and has sold 17 properties since then. This year, the Legrad Municipality came up with a better marketing strategy to resolve the town's depopulation problem -  an additional 25,000HRK to 35,000HRK allowance for refurbishments, but at what cost?

Legrad is a rural municipality located just north of Koprivnica, Croatia. With its close proximity to the border of Hungary and the lack of transportation accessibility, the town has suffered continuous rural depopulation over the years as its inhabitants migrate to nearby urban cities. Currently, Legrad has 2,250 inhabitants - half the number it had 70 years ago. 

The repopulation attempt of Legrad Municipality started last year when they first marketed 19 properties in their town for 1HRK under the following criteria: the buyer should be under the age of 40, financially solvent, a university degree holder and a resident of the municipality or willing to register residence in Legrad within 3 years. 17 properties have been sold since the first attempt. These criteria still left the municipality vulnerable - there was no guarantee that the newcomers will permanently reside in the town.

So for this year, the municipality of Legrad upped their game by adding a better offer but with a bigger condition as well. According to the town's mayor, they will provide the new buyers an additional allowance of 25,000HRK for home refurbishments and 20% assistance or up to 35,000HRK for those who wish to buy a private estate in their town - in exchange for their commitment to live in the town permanently for at least 15 years, Reuters reported.


 Photo credit: Damir Spehar / PIXSELL

The town's mayor, Ivan Sabolic, said that the offer has piqued a lot of interest from distant places abroad with inquiries coming from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and South American countries like Argentina and Colombia.  But since Croatia has a complex immigration system, the municipality prefers to keep it local for now. 

Last year, a young family of 4 from northern Croatia took up the offer and bought a one-kuna house and has since been living, working and raising two kids in Legrad. According to Danijel Harmnicar, the father of the family, the 15-year residency is not a problem because it is much nicer to own a property than to rent one. They are satisfied and have no plans to move in the near future.

 What to expect in the town of Legrad?


Photo credit: Damir Spehar / Pixsell

For people who are interested in moving to Legrad, Croatia, the employment opportunities offered in the town are various jobs under food production, wood processing and metal processing.

The offer is also perfect for those who dream a peaceful countryside life. The beautiful rivers of Mura and Drava meet in this town, therefore, making it an ideal habitat for rare plant and animal species. Veliki Pažut, found at the mouth of the two rivers is a ornithological reserve and is often visited by nature lovers. The rich and long history of the town is also untouched such as the Church of the Holy Trinity and a town square, both preserved from the Baroque era. Also found in this town is Novi Zrin, a fortification against Turks that was built by the historic noble family of Zrinski. 

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Saturday, 12 June 2021

One in Three Cities, Municipalities Have Too Few Residents - Večernji List

ZAGREB, 12 June, 2021 - As many as 72% of cities and 76% of municipalities in Croatia have fewer residents than is optimal considering their economic potential and volume of services, the Večernji List daily issue of Saturday says.

This conclusion is the result of a study made by Croatian National Bank (HNB) researchers Antonija Biljan, Milan Deskar Škrbić and HNB deputy governor Sandra Švaljek, focusing on the optimal size of local government units, which is a rare research topic in Croatia.

Zagreb was not included in the analysis due to a number of particularities, and the analysis shows that cities should not have fewer than 15,000 residents (15,139) while the optimal number of residents for a municipality is 3,744. Only one in four cities or municipalities meet that criterion.

The study was published after the recent local election and its authors put forward several recommendations for politicians, suggesting voluntary merging of the smallest local government units or interest-based cooperation between neighbouring municipalities.

There are 556 local government units in Croatia, of which 127 are cities and 428 municipalities. The City of Zagreb has a special status of city and county.

Only 35 cities have more residents than the optimal number, as do 102 municipalities. The budgets of all local government units amount to around HRK 28 billion.

The country's existing territorial organisation is not based on a historical administrative division but is a result of discretionary decisions by policy makers in the early 1990s, the authors of the study say.

Considering the size of territory, population, fiscal capacity, system of financing and functions of local government units, many domestic experts warn that the current territorial structure is inefficient and calls for their merger.

The HNB study focused on population density, demographic structure of local residents, socioeconomic factors such as the amount of taxable income and unemployment rate, as well as transfers from the central government, the daily says.

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