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Croatia records positive net migration for first time in 15 years 

Croatia records positive migration balance for first time since 2008

Croatia records positive migration balance for first time since 2008

According to the latest data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, Croatia recorded a positive migration balance last year for the first time since 2008, daily Jutarnji list reported. 

Specifically, in 2022, there were 11,685 more immigrants than emigrants from the country. Namely, 46,287 people left Croatia last year, while 57,972 individuals arrived or returned, with a significant number being workers from other countries.

“These are actually expected trends considering the number of foreign workers in Croatia. We don’t have exact data yet, but I believe that more than half of the 46,000 people who left Croatia last year were foreign workers returning to their home countries or moving elsewhere. Two years ago, data showed that among emigrants, 35-40 percent were foreigners, meaning that not all those who left Croatia were Croatian citizens. This indicates a decrease in their migration trend,”demographer Prof. Dr. Ivan Čipin told Jutarnji list. 

Čipin adds that in these “work-related” migrations, people come to Croatia for a year or more, depending on the employer, and often leave afterward.

“For now, we mostly do not have a permanent migration of foreign workers; they come without their families because it’s an economic migration,” emphasises Čipin.

The peak of departures from Croatia was recorded in 2017 when as many as 47,352 citizens left, resulting in a negative difference of 31,799 between emigrants and immigrants. Since then, the situation has gradually improved, and the negative ratio has been decreasing, but it was only in the previous year that the positive balance was achieved.

Admittedly, demographic trends in Croatia remain poor, as only 33,883 children were born last year, while 56,975 citizens died, resulting in 23,096 more deaths than births. It is true that this imbalance is slightly smaller than the previous year when the coronavirus took a heavy toll on lives, with a record-breaking 62,712 deaths. 

Regarding newborns, the situation is not much better even in the first five months of this year, with only 13,028 children born, compared to 13,839 in the same period last year. The last time the figure of 40,000 births in a year was exceeded was back in 2012.

All of this is expected since the number of marriages in Croatia is not increasing and hardly exceeds 20,000 annually. Last year, 18,074 marriages were contracted, while 4,808 marriages ended in divorce. 

Only 15,000 citizens decided to enter into a marital union, and every third marriage ended in divorce compared to the number of marriages contracted. The data confirming that we are ageing is the fact that over 1.5 million Croatian citizens are over 55 years old, so it is not surprising that the United Nations predicts that Croatia will have fewer than 3.3 million citizens by 2050.

“It is a fact that we are ageing, but there is no need to dramatise; instead, it is necessary to seek policies that will best adapt to this fact,” concludes Čipin.

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