First results of 2021 census show Croatia’s population has tumbled almost by a whopping 10 per cent in a decade — a sharper fall then even the worst estimates had predicted.

Croatian Population Shrank by Almost 10 Per Cent in Decade

Central Zagreb. Photo: EPA-EFE/ANTONIO BAT

Sixty days after the completion of data collection, the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, DZS, said the first results of the 2021 census showed a drastic fall in the population.

According to the last 2011 census, there were 4,284,889 people living in Croatia. That number has dropped now to about 3.88 million. The last time Croatia had a population that size was in 1948, the news site Index reported.

DZS head Lidija Brkovic presented the results on Friday. According to the data, the overall population has dropped by 9.25 per cent and the number of households by 5.31 per cent. The number of housing units grew, by 4.61 per cent.

The population dropped in all counties, including the capital, Zagreb. The highest drop was in Vukovar-Srijem County (19.54 per cent) and Sisak-Moslavina County (18.49 per cent). The latter was hit by a devastating earthquake at the end of 2020.

The lowest drop was in Zagreb, where current data say 769,944 people live, 2.54 per cent less than in 2011. The next smallest fall was in Zagreb County, where the population dropped by 5.16 per cent.

Three cities in Croatia have more than 100,000 inhabitants – Zagreb, Split and Rijeka. Eight have more than 50,000 inhabitants.

Katarina Peovic, of the leftist Workers’ Front, RF, told N1 media outlet that “young people were driven out of the country”, adding that the new Labour Law will “reduce us to Uber drivers, to people who are never safe, people who cannot take out a loan, or buy an apartment.”

The 2021 census took place between September 13 and November 14. The first phase was implemented via the E-gradani (E-citizen) online platform through which citizens entered their data online. In the second phase, census-takers went into the field. Brkovic said that 40 per cent of the citizens decided to fill in the data themselves.

During that period, media reported an estimate by the Bureau of Statistics that Croatia had lost at least 250,000 inhabitants over the past decade. The real number proved even worse.

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