Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A brief note on Lithuania's depopulation

Thanks have to go to Edward Hugh, via his Facebook presence, for sharing the news that the Lithuanian population has fallen catastrophically, to a much greater extent than earlier predictions had suggested. I'm honestly quite surprised by the scope of the decline.

The Lithuania prime minister bemoaned his shrinking population Monday, as the results of a census revealed it has fallen 10 percent in the past decade.

"Unfortunately, we must admit that Lithuania is not only an emigrating nation but also a nation that is dying out," Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said.

Lithuania's statistics agency said the population is now 3.05 million, down from over 3.4 million in 2001. Twenty years ago, when the country split from the Soviet Union, the country had 3.7 million people.

Results of the census - conducted from March to May - confirmed that rapid emigration and a falling birth rate continue to erode the country's demographics despite membership in the European Union and improvements to the quality of life over the past 10 years.

Large communities of Lithuanians have sprouted in places such as Ireland and England during this time.

"We have lost 700,000 (people) in 20 years - this is a lot for such a small nation," said Romas Lazutka, a sociology professor at Vilnius University.

"The main driving force behind emigration is outdated economic and social policies. Those who do not have a job or cannot make ends meet, even while working, leave this country," he said.

Agence France-Presse went into more detail, describing the economic consequences.

The slump is a concern for the country's centre-right government, which is at the helm of a tough austerity drive brought in after Lithuania plunged into one of the deepest recessions in the European Union in 2009.

The economy has gradually emerged from the doldrums after the sharp crisis.

"It is very important that those people who left Lithuania in large numbers keep ties with Lithuania and see opportunities to come back," Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius told reporters on Monday. Analysts warn that the population decline may impede the economic recovery.

"The population decrease has been very rapid due to negative demographic trends, but emigration is probably even more important," Rimantas Rudzkis, chief analyst at the bank DnB Nord in Lithuania, told AFP.

"Such a decline will have negative consequences. Lithuania will be lacking workforce and that may deter investment," he added. The emigration trend started after EU entry in 2004.

[. . .]

Few have returned, despite the host countries' own economic slumps. Statistics showed that 83,500 people left Lithuania in 2010, mostly to Britain and Ireland.

Officials have said that may include people who left earlier but made the move official to avoid the Lithuanian government's new drive to collect taxes from undeclared emigrants.

Economic convergence between poor and rich countries--within the European Union, without--isn't inevitable. The sort of mass emigration that not only sharply reduces the size of the workforce but worsens problems of population aging can certainly harm a country's prospects.


Anonymous said...

EU membership seems to be catastrophic for the Baltic states. I'd be interested to see what the demographic situation has been in other newly independent, post soviet countries which didn't join the EU. What's the situation in Montenegro, Macedonia, Ukraine etc?

Has the fact that the movement of people within the EU been more detremental than beneficial?


Randy said...

Catastrophic? Without European Union membership--something that was supported across the board by nearly all political factions in the Baltic States, part of the post-Soviet normalization of these countries--things could easily be worse. The same incentives for mass emigration would exist, only in this situation the migrants would have much less protection and their home countries would have significantly fewer financial resources supporting domestic consumption.

Anonymous said...

Randy - I don't mean this as an attack on the EU but has the free movement of people made it so easy to move that they have. Had moving been a little less free would they have stayed home?


jemand said...


Looks like Belarus' population only fell 6% in 16 years and as for the Ukraine, http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=wb-wdi&met=sp_pop_totl&idim=country:BLR&dl=en&hl=en&q=belarus+population

They dropped 12 percent since 1993.

According to the world bank numbers on Lithuanian population shows it ALSO dropped about 11 percent since the peak in the early nineties.

So maybe membership or lack of it in the EU really doesn't make much of a difference.

George Wells George Wells said...

I like this website. This website helped me with prayer learning. Good job. Thank you. and welcome to my home true religion jeans ~!

jemand said...

congrats Randy! you helped SOMEONE with their prayer learning!!

Bet you never expected THAT outcome of your blog lol.

Sometimes spam is amusing...

Randy said...

cymro: I'd be inclined to say that the numbers would be less, yes. I'm also inclined to say that large numbers would still try to leave without EU membership--maybe even more without the stabilizing effect of said. Lithuania would likely still have its economic bubble, only be without as ready aid. This might encourage more Lithuanians to leave.

The Lithuanians who did leave would find themselves in a precarious situation, open to exploitation without EU-guaranteed access to labour markets. This would worsen the situation for Lithuanians, not only Lithuanians working abroad but Lithuanians at home--fewer remittances won't aid things.

Making it more difficult for Lithuanians to leave, in order words, wouldn't improve things. It would just increase the number of unemployed at home, while diminishing the funds available to Lithuanian households specifically and Lithuania generally, and making the situation of Lithuanians working abroad still more difficult. It isn't about numbers: it's also about how numbers are used.

Jemand: I do my best!

evelinea945 Evelina said...

In Lithuania is so much workforce, people want to work, but not enough work for all. So I think that investment in Lithuania is good choice.

Buna Treks & Expedition Pvt. Ltd. said...

Why Trekking in Nepal Nepal?, a land of high hills, mountains, raging rivers and verdant deep jungles of Terai & its rich lifestyle makes one of the most sought locations inside the map of the world. a destination for all season as it's miles one of the most numerous and varied international locations on this planet a unique us of a nestled inside the excellent snow capped variety is some other advent of the mom earth and it embraces worlds' 8 highest peaks from mt.everest, mt.kanchenjonga, mt.lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu to Annapurna massive. nepal is likewise the beginning location of Buddha (light of Asia). The Buna Treks is Local Base Under Nepal Government Trekking Agency in Nepal. blessed with wealthy nature, the brilliant Himalayan in Nepal range stretches from the far north-west to the way east where the worlds highest 8th eight-thousanders are in Nepal. nepal gives a enthralling adventure with enough time to wonder the encompassing beautiful landscapes and immerse with its warm human beings, imparting you full of range and enchantment from the low lands of Gangetic plains and its verdant dense jungle where the endangered species of Royal Bengal tigers and the one-horned rhinoceros roam, to the mythical yak and yeti trail to Everest.as the adventure and leisure tourism was hooked up in view that late 1960 and 70’s quality travel & trekking enterprise have mushroomed by using a tourism professionals Nepalese, and were leading countless of adventure trips in the course of Himalaya consisting of rafting, mountain climbing also organize adventure trekking, and entertainment trips which includes tailor-made itineraries for own family, college companies and company executives. Many of Trekking Company in Nepal are not perfect trip dealing, they have not enough Experienced. Trekking in Nepal, Nepal is domestic to community of trails also known as the amazing Himalaya trails, an extensive trail gadget that covers Nepal from humble and Darchula within the west to Kanchenjunga in the east. the range of Trekking in Nepal cannot be located in any other location of the world. in fact, the lowest factor in Nepal is fifty-nine m above sea-level inside the terai location even as the very best point is Everest, eight,848 m above sea-level, the two factors are, in a direct line, most effective two hundred kilometers aside. the majority of visitors to Nepal are available through the Tribhuvan international airport in Kathmandu. it's far in Kathmandu that trekkers want to accumulate their permits and other documentation, both from a trekking agent or from the best places of work. those files will be checked along the hiking route. for people with little time to spend in Nepal, there are half of-day hikes from Kathmandu to witness breathtaking Himalayan Trekking in Nepal perspectives in any other case trek for weeks over stunning tough mountain passes. as much as the mid-1960s just a few trekkers had generally visited Nepal and lower back then as part of corporations of excursion fans. the various huge expeditions of the day recommended trekkers to join up in an try to help balance the investment.