Croatia, like many Mediterranean countries, has an ageing population. With many members of the working age population leaving en masse to other European countries, taking advantage of the borders opening and the scrapping of work permits ever since Croatia joined the EU back in July 2013, this situation has only grown worse.
Traditionally, the Dalmatian coast has always fared better economically than more or less everywhere else in the country with the exception of Zagreb. With tourism providing for as much as 20 percent of Croatia’s GDP, the summer months are employment-rich (in as much as is possible in the Croatian sense) and all about earning enough money to survive the winter before doing it all over again in Croatia’s seasonal employment trap in which it has been stuck for years.
Continental Croatia, and particularly Eastern Croatia, have never had the God-given luxury of the Adriatic sea at their doorstep and as such have never been able to rest easily on their laurels in the same way Dubrovnik and Split do on an annual basis. The former bread basket of not only Croatia but the region, Slavonia and Baranja, have been experiencing a brain drain for very many years, with many other locations in Eastern and Central Croatia experiencing the same.
Sisak-Moslavina County, which was the victim of a devastating earthquake back at the very end of December last year, is among the most concerning of all. Now with more retired people than employed people, it’s difficult to see how the future might look for this county.
As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Northern Croatia is a convincing national champion in terms of the ratio of total employees and pensioners, according to data from the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute.
According to this recently released data, Medjimurje County (1.66) and Varazdin County (1.54) have the highest ratio in favour of workers. By far the worst is the aforementioned Sisak-Moslavina County, which has more retirees than it does employees (the ratio is a troubling 0.95), followed by Sibenik and Karlovac (1.03) and Pozega County (1.04).
Among those cities which are also municipal county heads, Northern Croatia is again in the lead: in the top five in terms of the ratio of workers and pensioners there are three Northern Croatian cities, Varazdin (2.62), Cakovec (2.46) and Koprivnica (1.92). This data refets to figures recorded back the end of March this year, writes Danica.hr.
The average for the Republic of Croatia is 1.25 (just over one employee per pensioner), which is a long-term unsustainable situation for every sort of economy. Croatia as a whole currently has about 1.55 million employees and about 1.24 million retirees.
For more on Croatian demographics, follow our lifestyle section.