Croatia: census shows population in decline and aging

More atheists; Serb minority largest, then Bosniaks and Italians

17 December, 17:08

(ANSAmed) ZAGREB, DECEMBER 17 - Croatia now has 4.285 million inhabitants, 150,000 fewer than 10 years ago, according to the national census figures released today. The figures also showed that the population is aging, that there is a higher percentage of Croats than other ethnic groups and that there has been a significant increase in atheists. Of those surveyed as part of the 2011 census, 90.4% said they were of the Croat ethnic group, almost one per cent more than 10 years ago. The largest minority is traditionally the Serb one, with 186,633 people (4.36% of the population, 0.18% less than in 2001). In 1991, before war broke out and Yugoslavia was dissolved, Serbs in Croatia accounted for 12.2% of the total population, with almost 600,000 inhabitants. In third place were Bosniaks (0.73%), followed by Italians with 17,807 (0.42% of the entire population). The number of Catholics has dropped (from 3.9 to 3.7 million), as has the percentage of the total population: from 88% to 86.3%. The share of the total of almost all other religious groups remained unvaried (4.44% for Orthodox Serbs, 1.47% for Muslims), while the percentage of atheists, agnostics and non-religious individuals is on the rise. Ten years ago the latter numbered almost 100,000, while last year there were 196,000 (6% of the total). The media has focused on the fact that the Croatian population is aging and that the active population is in decline, of concern amid the economic crisis. While in 2001 the average age was 39.3, it is now 41.7. The most numerous age group is between 50 and 60 years of age (950,000), and the number of those over age 65 has for the first time ever surpassed that of children under age 14. The elderly now account for 17.7% of Croatia's inhabitants, and number 106,000 more than children (15.2%) The active population (between age 15 and 64) has dropped by almost 100,000 units, from 2.96 to 2.86 million. (ANSAmed).

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