Croatian census shows population shrinking by nearly 10% in 10 years

Last year’s census of EU countries showed a drop of nearly 10 percent over the past decade, Croatian authorities said

ZAGREB, Croatia — A census conducted in Croatia last year showed that the population living in the European Union country has fallen by nearly 10 percent compared with a decade ago, according to preliminary results released on Friday.

Lidija Brkovic of the Office for National Statistics said the census listed 3.8 million citizens, compared with 4.2 million in the 2011 census.

“Over the past 10 years, the number of residents has decreased by 396,000 (persons),” Burkovic said.

The drop reflects depopulation in Croatia and the rest of the Balkans, a combination of low birth rates and migration to the more prosperous countries of the West.

The Croatian government lists the issue as a major challenge to the authorities and the country’s future.

“Unfortunately, the poor prognosis has become a reality,” state broadcaster HRT said on Friday. The report added that the drop was equivalent to a reduction in the overall population of the Adriatic towns of Split and Rijeka.

Despite joining the European Union in 2013, Croatia has struggled to revive an economy devastated by the 1992-95 war, following the country’s independence from the former Yugoslavia.