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The Immigrant Population

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The Immigrant Population

Pascal Goeke

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The immigrant population of Croatia is made up most importantly of Croatians (the majority from Bosnia-Herzegovina) and Serbs (the majority of whom had been at first displaced from Croatia but later returned). Numbers of other immigrants are of no significance, as all statistics on the topic substantiate. The census data shows, for example, that the share of Croatians climbed from 75% in 1971 to 90.42% in 2011. However, it is to be noted, that the indicated division of the population into ethnic groups practiced in Croatia only indirectly represents immigration flows. There are 22 recognized national minorities besides the group of Croatians. A person classified for example as belonging to a German minority must in no way have immigrated from Germany (this becomes clearer still with the national minorities of Ruthenians and Jews, for whom there is no clear country of origin). Yet, immigration movements are not completely absent in Interner Link: Table 4. They are for example reflected in the category Bosniaks which includes immigrants from Bosnia-Herzegovina or in the category Albanians which encompasses immigrants e.g. from Kosovo.

Table 5: Population of Croatia by citizenship (2011)

1)Including persons with dual citizenship
2)States with less than 200 citizens in Croatia
Country of citizenshipTotalPercentage of the total population of Croatia
Total population of Croatia4,284,889-
Serbia 2,8880,07
Slovenia 1,9990,05
Macedonia 1,0340,02
China 4370,01
Austria 3800,01
USA 3780,01
Russia 3520,01
United Kingdom3340,01
Hungary 3250,01
Czech Republic 2500,01
Albania 2370,01
Poland 2160,01
The Ukraine 2120,005
Slovakia 2110,005
Other countries2) 2,1290,05
Stateless, unknown3,0810,07

Source: Croatian Bureau of Statistics (2012), p. 108

The trend of ethno-national homogenization can be gathered from the data on citizenship of the population living in Croatia: 99.41% of the Croatian population in 2011 was in possession of Croatian citizenship. In addition, taking into account that the acquisition of citizenship for those people who cannot provide proof of any particular form of belonging to Croatia was relatively costly for a long time and only first simplified or more fairly constructed in recent years, it becomes clear just how unimportant the non-Croatian immigration is on the whole.

The ethnic-national homogeneity is likewise expressed with the answer to the question about the native language: over 97% of those questioned in the 2011 census indicate speaking Croatian, Croatian-Serbian, Montenegrin, Bosnian, Serbian or Serbo-Croatian as their native language. Although they emphasize the smallest differences through the designation of the language, they have a language at their disposal in which they can make themselves completely understood without a problem, assuming a mutual will to understand the other.

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Dr. Pascal Goeke is research assistant at the Department of Geography of the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Email: E-Mail Link: