Split-Dalmatia County Among Few in Croatia with High Migration Rate

Daniela Rogulj

August 29, 2019 – In addition to the counties of Istria and Dubrovnik-Neretva, Split-Dalmatia County last year had more immigrants than emigrants. At a time when there is a continuous increase in population going beyond the borders of the country, it is commendable to single out a county that offers something more to not only retain, but also bring in new residents.

Dalmacija Danas presents a list of measures and programs drawing people to the coast. 

Tourism, as the most promising branch, attracts many to the coastal county. Apart from the cities, many people are opting for a life on the islands, and for which the state has already adopted several measures to make life easier for families on the islands. In addition, through the EU’s rural development program, many on the islands and other rural areas of the County have used grants to invest in non-agricultural activities, most notably tourism and the construction of holiday homes, which bring them secure income.

In order to ensure balanced development, the County is working hard on measures to keep the population or bring them back to rural areas. Certainly, the ‘Your Home is Here’ measure is the most important in this regard, which, under favorable conditions, allows young families to build or renovate homes. It was launched this year, when 200 applications were received, and the contract was recently concluded with the first 33 families with 80 children. Another 60 new contracts are expected to be signed soon.

Last year, County prefect Blaženko Boban also introduced a series of measures for entrepreneurs. Thus, a small business start-up support program has been prepared for beginner entrepreneurs, for which a loan of HRK 20 to 50 thousand can be obtained. Entrepreneurs can also be granted loans for strengthening entrepreneurial competencies up to HRK 100,000, and economic zones are encouraged for equal entrepreneurial opportunities. With subsidized interest, it is only one percent for the end-user.

“I expect that young people will not only be left with the option to take their identification and go across the border, but that they will be interested in these measures and through them recognize the future of Split-Dalmatia County, and above all the rural part of the County,” said Boban last year.

That proved to be correct. Through lending to small and medium-sized enterprises, interest subsidy generated 1,925 loans worth HRK 2 billion. A total of 445 grants worth 7 million kuna were given to start small businesses.

Particularly significant is the measure for women entrepreneurs, who also received co-financing through applications for these competitions. According to this analysis, Split-Dalmatia County is the second among Croatian counties in terms of budget allocations for entrepreneurs and craftspeople in 2018.

ICT Counties is about to get a new headquarters, and the plan is to find a place for established businesses, as well as young people with start-ups. This profession precisely attracts a new population to the County.

“The IT industry is, in addition to demographic renewal and infrastructure projects, I will not say the third, but perhaps also the first pillar of the development of Split-Dalmatia County,” said Boban recently, explaining that the IT sector is a fine upgrade to demographics, transport and infrastructure efforts to keep young professionals, but that it also attract the best IT experts from around the world, given that there are no business headquarters restrictions.

The County also pays generous benefits for newborns. Based on the demographic analysis in each municipality and city, there are five groups within the counties, and depending on them, the amount of compensation varies. Thus, in the least developed cities and municipalities within groups 1 and 2, benefits are highest and are paid by the age of three. In the other groups in the first year, the amount is lower.

Split-Dalmatia County has allocated the highest number of all counties for kindergartens, and last year was ranked fourth. A large number of kindergartens are currently under construction, renovation, and upgrading. There is a lot of investment in education, and the most significant project in this area is the Center of Excellence. In the two years since the first Center of Excellence was established, the number of students has grown to nearly 400, who, along with their mentors, are refining their knowledge. Such an investment in gifted students has also brought in many national champions in various subjects. This year, Split-Dalmatia County is the second county with the most Oscars of knowledge. 

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