2011 Census results in Croatia, and historical retrospective

During the 2011, Croatian government organized regular census of population which is made once every 10 years. And this last census brought some interesting and some even amusing figures:

  • Disturbing fact is that this census evidenced the decrease of population in Croatia during last 10 years by approximately 152.000 (152 thousand!) people (reference). For some of the big nations this wouldn’t be a big matter. But that number is close to 3% of the previous census (2001.) population. There are multiple reasons for that, but having in mind we had kind of financially prospoerous years between 2001. and 2008., main reason for this decrease is more likely everlasting low natality issue and not emigration. Although, since 2011. and in the following years, emigration is also to become major reason for national depopulation. But that’s the subject for some other blog post.
  • There are actually 6 Jews in Croatia which have declared themselves also Serbian minority (reference). I would like to meet them and buy them beer, since I’m quite convinced they have basically trolled the census workers. ;)

Historical aspect

Now, to compare historical aspects of the census in Croatia, there are couple of facts you have to keep in mind.

For those who don’t know, between 1945. and 1991. Croatia was a part of Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was formed as an socialist federation of semi-autonomous 6 republics and  2 provinces, so the censuses which were organized in Yugoslavia are also keeping records of the population and various statistical data on the level of republics. That is why I can write here about census limited in the aspect of Croatia even during the Yugoslavian era.

There are couple of important historical censuses which were organized on the territory of today’s modern Croatian state (meaning that between 1945. and 1991. they have covered Socialist Republic of Croatia as a part of Yugoslavia and kept separate records):

  • 1971. census, which is basically first proper peace time census in Yugoslavia. By the 1971., we can say Yugoslavia was finally rebuilt after the World War 2, connected with newly built roads and that every village even in the most rural parts of Yugoslavia was properly covered with census. Therefore, it’s the first census which provides decent insight into the population of post-WW2 Yugoslavia.
  • 1991. census, which is the last census which covers population in Yugoslavia (including Croatia) before the migrational and statistical effects of the Homeland war (war which we fought to get independence from Yugoslavia).
  • 2001. census, as the first post-Homeland war census, which reflects the effects of the war on the population.
  • 2011 census, as the first census which covered complete 10 years of peace in modern Croatian state.

Historical comparisons

General population in numbers

Compared to the following years, decrease in the Croatian population was (reference):

  • Compared to 1971: decrease of 141.332 people,
  • Compared to 1991: decrease of 499.376 people,
  • Compared to 2001: decrease of 152.571 people.

Although at first shocking, the figure compared to 1991. which shows decrease of almost half million people is not the best reference. 1991. census was, as I already wrote, the last peace-time census in Yugoslavia.

Effects of war on the general population and major conflicting population groups

Let’s try to take a peek of effects of the Homeland war to the population (note: keep in mind this doesn’t cover the complete effect of the war. Complete effects and conclusions of the effect on the war on the population can’t be summed up without introspective into census details on the level of the cities and without having in mind the facts which surround the subject of the war itself).

What we know already is that general population before the Croatian Homeland war compared to the population after it was almost full half of a million people.

If we split it by the national affilitation of Croats and Serbs (as two main generally conflicted sides in the military conflict during the war in Croatia), numbers look like this (reference):

  • between 1991. and 2001., number of Serbs decreased by ()380,032 people, while number of Croats increased by (+)240,815 people.
  • between 1971. and 1991. (post-reconstruction period of Yugoslavian peace), number of Serbs decreased by ()45,126 people, while number of Croats increased by (+)222,709 people.
  • between 2001. and 2011. (period of the increased effort to assure return of the Serbian population migrated to the Serbia and 3rd countries during the war), number of Serbs decreased by ()14,998 people, and the number of Croats also decreased by ()102,850 people.
    Noteworthy fact is that decrease of Serbian population in Croatia viewed as percentage of the total Serbian population in Croatia at given time is around the same percentage between 1971. and 1991. compared to between 2001. and 2011. In pure numbers, given decrease in the second period (2001.-2011.) is about 3 times less than in the first (1971.-1991.). Feel free to draw your own conclusions here.

Religious views of Croatian residents

In general (reference):

  • People who declare themselves as one of the religious groups members (Croatian census groups them as: “Roman Catholics“, “Orthodox Christians“, “Christian Protestants“, “Other Christians“, “Muslims“, “Jews“, “Eastern religions” and “Other religions, movements and beliefs“) were represented 94.22% of general population in 2001., while by 2011. census 92.96% of general population declares themselves as members of one of the mentioned religious groups. That makes ()1.26% less people from the general population declaring themselves religious.
  • People who declare themselves as non-religious (Croatian census groups them as “Agnostics and Sceptics” and “Not religious and atheists“) were represented 2.25% of general population in 2001., while by 2011. census 4.57% of general population declared themselves as non-religious. That makes (+)2.32% more people from the general population declaring themselves non-religious.
  • People who didn’t want to specify their religions views or for any reason their religion views are left unknown (Croatian census groups them as “Not declaring religious views” and “Unknown“) were respresented by 3.53% of general population in 2001., while by 2011. census 2.46% of general population didn’t know their religious views. :-) That makes ()1.07% less people from the general population declaring themselves religiously undeclared.

Generally, Croatia still consists of Roman Catholics majority (87.97% in 2001. vs 86.28% in 2011., decrease of ()1.69%), while all other religions were represented by 6.25% of general population in 2001. which turned into 6.68% of general population in 2011 (increase of (+)0.43%).

While jewish community stagnates in percentage of general population (stuck to marginal 0.1%), 41 person more declared themselves jewish in 2011. than in 2001., totalling in 536 jews in Croatia. Still not enough to make at least 0.2% of the total population. Shalom, brothers.

Most significant rise of the religious groups is noticed among members of Muslim community. Followers of Prophet Mohammed have increased by 6.200 living souls, which in percentage of total general population get us to 1.47% muslims in Croatia (compared to 1.28% of muslims in 2001. (increase of (+)0.19%)).

If we count ahteists, non-believers and people who can’t decide what they are in religious terms, those groups together form 7.03% of general population (compared to 5.78% of general population in 2001. (increase of (+)1.25%)). That fact makes non-believers second most numerous group in general population in Croatia based on religious (non) views, and the group with the, by far, highest rise within the period 10 years.

Roman Catholics are also the only religious group whose both absolute number of religious followers (drop of 206.408 Roman Christians) and the percentage of general population dropped. The most interesting group is Orthodox Christians. Number of Orthodox Christians also fell (by 5.286 people), but their percentage among the general population rose by (+)0.02%.

Those are pretty much the highlights of our 2011. census.

Author: Vedran Krivokuca

A developer living and working in Germany. Wannabe opensource contributor. Feeling strong of some social issues.

Leave a Reply