Croatia No Longer ‘the Whitest Country in the World’

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Back in 2018 as Croatia reached the World Cup Final against France, an anti-racism group tweet suggested that Croatia was racist as all its players were white. A quite ridiculous suggestion, in the same way as Nigeria could be accused of the same thing for not fielding any white players (in fact Croatia has had black players and Nigeria a white player, according to research I did at the time). 

It did get me thinking though. Having lived in 10 countries including Rwanda, Somalia, Japan, Russia, the UK and Germany, it was quite a rare thing to see black or Asian people in Croatia. Curious, I contacted the Ministry of the Interior to get statistics on how many foreigners were living in Croatia in 2018. The answer – 29,156. You can see a breakdown in my 2018 article How Many Foreigners Live in Croatia, and Where are They From?

99.3% Croat and most of the foreigners also being white, it seemed that Croatia was the whitest country in the world, as I explored recently on my YouTube channel. 

Back in 2018 (and please note these are not my numbers, but ones from the Ministry of the Interior), these where the top 20 countries in terms of numbers of nationals with temporary or permanent residence in Croatia.


Of these, only five countries – BiH, Slovenia, Serbia, Germany and Italy had more than 1,000, see below.


So how have things changed since then?

I contacted the Ministry again, and they very kindly provided me with data for every country. I was very surprised by some things I saw – that there are more Uzbeks than Brits living in Croatia, for example. 

Here are the top 20 on December 31, 2022, according to MUP. 


Quite a difference. 

The trend of importing cheaper labour from Asia seems to be clearly visible.

In 2018, there were only 5 countries with more than 1000 nationals living here, according to official MUP statistics.

That has changed considerably, as you can see below.


The total number of foreigners with temporary or permanent residence as of December 31, 2022 stood at 172,199, a big leap from those 2018 numbers. 

And bear in mind also that the population has been slowly declining over that period, as young Croats emigrate in search of opportunities abroad. 

So it would appear that Croatia is no longer the whitest country in the world. I am not saying that is a good thing or a bad thing, just that it is a thing. An interesting discussion in the cafe, for sure. 

Many thanks for the efforts of the press department of the Ministry of the Interior for providing the information. Having worked closely with MUP during the pandemic with the award-winning Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community, I do sometimes wonder how Croatia might look if they ran other parts of the administration.

Read more… Croats Leaving, Foreigners Arriving, How to Preserve Hrvatska?


You can subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert YouTube channel here.

What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning – Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.









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