Croatia Experiences Largest Population Decline in 20 Years

Total Croatia News

Negative demographic trends continue.

The Central Bureau of Statistics released the latest data on natural population movements in the period from October 2016 to October 2017. Data show that Croatia experienced the most substantial population decline in the last 20 years, reports on December 15, 2017.

During that period, there were 18,934 more deaths than births. In those 12 months, the number of people born in Croatia was 40,320, while the number of deaths was 59,254.

This has continued a long-term trend of negative population growth. The data shows that the last natural population increase in Croatia was recorded in 1997. Although shocking, these figures are not surprising, given the lack of demographic policies, prolonged economic crisis and the general atmosphere in the society.

At the same time, the number of people leaving Croatia is getting worse, although the accurate data are hard to find, at least if you ask Croatian institutions. The Central Bureau of Statistics receives data from the Interior Ministry, which counts only those who have officially registered as moving abroad, which means that many emigrants are actually not counted. has recently contacted countries which are popular as emigration destinations for Croats, and these are much more accurate figures. According to the data obtained, at least 180,000 people moved from Croatia to six countries (Germany, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and Norway) over the last couple of years.

These numbers are substantially higher than those the official institutions mention, and the data collected clearly shows that the number of people who are leaving Croatia is drastically increasing from year to year. For example, according to the official data, 29,651 persons moved abroad in 2015. According to more comprehensive data, that year as many as 57,000 Croats left for Germany alone. When taking into account other countries, it can be estimated that Croatia has lost about 200,000 inhabitants in the last couple of years.

Even the official data show that whole families are moving abroad. The number of pupils throughout Croatia decreased by about 22,500 from 2011 to 2016, from 340,000 to 317,600, or by 6.6 percent. The rate declined slightly in the last two years of this period. In the period from 2014 to 2016, the number of pupils dropped from 321,500 to 317,600, or by 1.2 percent.

It should be noted that the drop in the number of pupils is the highest in regions with weak economic prospects, particularly Slavonia. For example, the rankings are led by Brod-Posavina County, Vukovar-Srijem County and Požega-Slavonia County, which lost over 16% percent of pupils.

Translated from


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