Croatia loses nearly 10% of people in past decade -census

A man wears a protective mask as he waits for a tram in downtown Zagreb, Croatia, March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Croatia has lost close to 400,000 people or nearly 10% of its population over the past decade due to emigration and a low fertility rate, according to preliminary results of the 2021 census published by the state news agency Hina.

Croatia's population totalled 3.9 million as of Aug. 31, 2021, down from 4.3 million in 2011, Hina quoted chief director of the statistics agency Lidija Brkovic as saying.

The greatest exodus of the population was recorded in eastern Croatia and the lowest in the capital Zagreb, the figures showed.

The agency did not say where those who had emigrated had gone but it would have become much easier for Croats to live and work in other European Union nations after their country joined the bloc in 2013.

Brkovic said the census was the first digital census in Croatia, in which 40% of the population took part, and has proven very effective due to restrictions of movement during the coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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