One of Croatia’s leading demographers and academics believes the nations politicians need to act urgently to stop Croatia dying out, after alarming results were revealed when Croatia’s census results were published this week.
Alica Wertheimer Baletic predicted more than 50 years ago that Croatian villages and towns would rapidly die out and that deaths would exceed births by a large number, and the 2011 census results have backed her theory up.
“Have a look please at the Lika-Senj county, the average age today is 45 years old!,” said Baletic, adding that even the Split-Dalmatia county, which always would have positive natural growth, had more deaths than births.
This week’s results revealed that the average age in Croatia was 41, and a lot worse in some counties. Baletic says it is about time the government opened their eyes to the problem, otherwise in 100 years time entire villages and even counties will be wiped out.
“France had this problem more than 150 years ago and they sorted it out in those 150 years, regardless of the government. Same as Sweden and Finland. What is happening in Croatia today can not be sorted in a year or four, how long a government’s mandate is,” said Baletic, before continuing.
“This is a strategic issue of our economic development, but, unfortunately, not one political option has taken these issues into careful consideration. From the 1971 census you could see where Croatia was heading. Today, housing and a decent job needs to be secured for the young to prevent them emigrating. And then they can start a family, because who will plan to have a lot of children if they do not have bread and shelter?,” Baletic told Slobodna Dalmacija, adding that a lot of villages in the Dalmatian hinterland are already slowly dying out.