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Basic characteristics of depopulation in Croatia in the period 1953—1981

Institute for social research in Zagreb
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  • Economics
  • Education


The author analyzes depopulation in Croatia in the period 1953—1981, giving a regional presentation and the more important implications of the process. It was shown that depopulation has spread to 5.476 settlements (82.4% of all the settlements, 44.4% n of the average of inhabitants and 79.9% of the area of Croatia). The number of inhabitants in the depopulated group of settlements decreased by 29.4% and in 1981 was 1,566,406. This means that only 34.0% of the total population lived in 82.4% of the settlements. Depopulation has spread to most of the settlements in all the macroregions, and the process is the most widespread and pronounced in Highland Croatia and the Northern Croatian Littoral. Population decrease characterises 88.5% of the rural settlements: depopulation is the ruling demographic trend in the rural settlements of all the communes. Pronounced exodus (50% and more) exists in as many as 1,140 settlements (17.1% of the total number), and there are most such settlements in Highland Croatia (35.4" (i of the total number of settlements). Settlements with pronounced depopulation are almost as a rule located in the outlying parts of communes. The conclusion is that depopulation is very strong in Croatia, both in spatially and in intensity. This corresponds to the fact that important accompanying processes of depopulation have also been found. There is a marked sexual unbalance in depopulated settlements is comparison to the general population, the age structure and educational level are more unfavourable. The external reflection of these complex demographic and socio-economic processes is the landscape of depopulation which shows signs that "hearths are dying out". Finally, the author concludes that depopulation in Croatia has all the essential features of a socially demaging process.

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