Now I understand why it was so easy to find a beautiful and affordable apartment when I moved to Lithuania: The population of Lithuania is shrinking. It has fallen below 3 million, meaning that this cute little country has lost half a million people in 10 years.
That is a population loss of 14 % within a decade. In relative terms, more Lithuanians have left Lithuania than Iraqis or Afghans have fled their countries in the same time. And these two countries had war, civil war, the Taliban, terrorism, bombings, IEDs, drone strikes, suicide killings. Lithuania is a peaceful (and beautiful) country in the European Union.
Let’s hope that a country with such dire demographics will be very, very welcoming to newcomers like me!
Is it really that Lithuanians are leaving the country physically ? Or does the country suffers from the same problem as many other western societies, i.e. the drop of birth rate ? It would be important to understand how to interprete these numbers: Do all Lithuanians count, even if they work temporarily abroad ? Or do only those count who are currently resident in Lithuania ? I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lithuanian census office even refuses to count the ethnic Russians, who live there for several generations already.
My general criticism of premature conclusions from rising or falling numbers of the population (in particular if political decisions are drawn right away) is that this reflects merely quantity, rather than quality. A country might have a small population, but as long as it has an innovative potential, good education system, little beaurocracy, no corruption and a “healthy” demographic structure, it might be prepared for future challenges much better than a country with a high birth rate and the tendency to waste its human potential. Whats the sense of having on average 4 or 5 kids per family, if there is no good education system, no job opportunities other than becoming a suicide martyr. Such a country will always stay weak, even if it has a large territory and a big population.
What counts is quality, rather than quantity. Best examples are Swizerland, Luxemburg, Netherland, Skandinavia and Israel. I hope that Lithuania can also make points with the innovative potential of its people. At least in terms of higher education and research, their universities, research institutes and biotech companies (like Fermentas) have a good name.
Very good points, especially about the two underlying causes of emigration and lower birth than death rate being combined into one number. I conveniently glossed over that to make the article more dramatic.
In 2012, 78 % of the decline was caused by net emigration and 22 % by natural decline: http://www.stat.gov.lt/en/news/view?id=11320&PHPSESSID=99a4715e6b4fe47b6c4ee9f97a5a9cc2
Michael, most of them are in the UK. An interesting point is that Fake Lithuanian passports were very popular during the last decade amongst emmigrants from the former Soviet Space, so I guess the number of Lithuanians here was possibly inflated.
But would fake passports show up as citizens in the official statistic?
Any good recommendations for news sources internal to Lithuania? I’d be intrigued to learn a bit more about the economic picture that would be causing such large emigration.
The best Lithuanian news websites in English are probably http://www.lithuaniatribune.com/ and http://www.15min.lt/en.
And is it my fading eyesight or my mental fixation on matters military that i keep reading the title of this post as “Sinking Lusitania”? (And yes, I did just get my eyes checked! :p )
Thanks for the news sources, by the way. :)
It will be sinking, One day. If we won’t stop global warming.
Um … I wrote “sinking LUSITANIA” (the ship) not “LITHUANIA” (the country).
If you want, I know where we can get a “two for one” deal on reading glasses…… :p :D
Hahaha, I really overlooked that! I DO actually have glasses already. (I just usually remove them for the photos of myself.)
I don’t understand why a peaceful and beautiful looking country is losing its population. Are Lithuania’s neighbor states experiencing the same thing?
Very easy to explain. Lithuania has 40th HDI in the world and 47th GDP per capita. Not so bad. However, while Iraqis and what not have to cross borders illegally and risk their lives to emigrate, Lithuanians can do it very easily. And when you can easily go to countries where the welfare is even better than in Lithuania, many do. Latvia, Poland and other similar countries also have large emigration, but Lithuanians in general are adventurers and explorers, I think, which makes them the champions of emigration. Plus, they raise very high standards for themselves, and are always a little dissatisfied with how things are going in their country.
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Lithuania is on the same level as Portugal or Greece. Portuguese and Greeks are emigrating in large numbers as well. Many Greeks go to Germany and USA and Portuguese go to Brazil, Mozambique, Angola for job opportunities. Lithuanians go to Chicago, UK and all over Europe and the world. Every relatively poor country is losing their population. Ireland in the past lost millions of people. Did it sink? No, those people came back and improved life there. With global warming Northern Europe will become more attractive to live. Asian Tiger Mosquito alone is the reason to avoid very warm countries and move to those with moderate or mild climate of Central and Northern Europe. One day last month I saw CIA Factbook mark Lithuania’s GDP as $22100 and Portugal is $23000 and Greece $24000, but now it is mysteriously back to $20100. Still not bad as they consider a country of $20K+ a rich country. Of course, USA, Germany, Belgium etc. are almost twice as high in GDP, but so are their prices. One thing that people may find inconvenient is the remoteness of Lithuania (being in the centre of Europe) and it is hard to get there. You either have to fly, take a ferry or take your chances on narrow and dangerous roads in Poland. I prefer driving. Lusitania is part (or past) of Portugal. It did not sink. Portugal is a beautiful country with friendly people. Lithuania is not sinking, even if only 1 million remains, there will always be people living there, even if they all will be Congolese :-)
Herr Moser, how are they gonna stop the “global warming”? With unconstitutional chemtrails?
Chemtrails are international and thus above national constitutional law.
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