Croatia - Demographics


With its population of 4.29 million in 2011, Croatia ranks 125th by population in the world. Its population density stands at 75.9 inhabitants per square kilometre. The overall life expectancy in Croatia at birth is 75.7 years. The total fertility rate of 1.5 children per mother, is one of the lowest in the world. Since 1991, Croatia's death rate has continuously exceeded its birth rate. Since the late 1990s, there has been a positive net migration into Croatia, reaching a level of more than 7,000 net immigrants in 2006. The Croatian Bureau of Statistics forecast that the population may even shrink to 3.1 million by 2051, depending on actual birth rate and the level of net migration. The population of Croatia rose steadily from 2.1 million in 1857 until 1991, when it peaked at 4.7 million, with exception of censuses taken in 1921 and 1948, i.e. following two world wars. The natural growth rate of the population is currently negative with the demographic transition completed in the 1970s. In recent years, the Croatian government has been pressured each year to add 40% to work permit quotas for foreign workers. In accordance with its immigration policy, Croatia is trying to entice emigrants to return.

Religion in Croatia
religion percent
Roman Catholicism 87.8%
Atheism or Agnosticism 5.2%
Orthodoxy 4.4%
Islam 1.3%
Protestantism 0.3%
Others and unspecified 0.9%

The population decrease was also a result of the Croatian War of Independence. During the war, large sections of the population were displaced and emigration increased. In 1991, in predominantly Serb areas, more than 400,000 Croats and other non-Serbs were either removed from their homes by the Croatian Serb forces or fled the violence. During the final days of the war in 1995, more than 120,000 Serbs, and perhaps as many as 200,000, fled the country before arrival of Croatian forces during Operation Storm. Within a decade following the end of the war, only 117,000 Serb refugees returned out of 300,000 displaced during the entire war. Most of Croatia's remaining Serbs never lived in areas occupied in the Croatian War of Independence. Serbs have been only partially re-settled in the regions they previously inhabited while some of the settlements previously inhabited by Serbs were settled by Croat refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, mostly from Republika Srpska.

Croatia is inhabited mostly by Croats (89.6%), while minority groups include Serbs (4.5%), Bosniaks, Hungarians, Italians, Slovenes, Germans, Czechs, Romani people and others (5.9%). The main religions of Croatia are Roman Catholicism 88%, Orthodox Christianity 4.4%, other Christianity 0.4%, Islam 1.3%, other unspecified 0.9%, and none 5.2%.

Most populous cities of Croatia





Rank City County Urban population City-governed population
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1 Zagreb City of Zagreb 686,568 792,875
2 Split Split-Dalmatia 165,893 178,192
3 Rijeka Primorje-Gorski Kotar 127,498 128,735
4 Osijek Osijek-Baranja 83,496 107,784
5 Zadar Zadar 70,674 75,082
6 Pula Istria 57,191 57,765
7 Slavonski Brod Brod-Posavina 53,473 59,507
8 Karlovac Karlovac 46,827 55,981
9 Varaždin Varaždin 38,746 47,055
10 Šibenik Šibenik-Knin 34,242 46,372
11 Sisak Sisak-Moslavina 33,049 47,699
12 Vinkovci Vukovar-Syrmia 31,961 35,375
13 Velika Gorica Zagreb 31,341 63,511
14 Dubrovnik Dubrovnik-Neretva 28,113 42,461
15 Bjelovar Bjelovar-Bilogora 27,099 40,443
16 Vukovar Vukovar-Syrmia 26,716 28,016
17 Koprivnica Koprivnica-Križevci 23,896 30,872
18 Solin Split-Dalmatia 20,080 23,985
19 Zaprešić Zagreb 19,574 25,226
20 Požega Požega-Slavonia 19,565 26,403
Source: 2011 Census

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