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Anali Zavoda za povijesne znanosti Hrvatske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti u Dubrovniku, No.47 Lipanj 2009.

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The Beginning of Demographic Transition in Croatia

Nenad Vekarić
Božena Vranješ-Šoljan

Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (442 KB) str. 9-62 preuzimanja: 1.874* citiraj
Vekarić, N., Vranješ-Šoljan, B. (2009). Početak demografske tranzicije u Hrvatskoj. Anali Zavoda za povijesne znanosti Hrvatske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti u Dubrovniku, (47), 9-62. Preuzeto s

The process of demographic transition was most directly affected by the socio-economic development. As a consequence, mortality decline set in. Considering the host of factors which determined this evolution, the process of transition was neither linear nor uniform. On both the macro- and microlevel, the transition appeared in different periods, was affected by various factors, and manifested in most diverse forms. Demographic transition spread in a capillary manner, its network featuring a wealth of micro-forms. Transitional process began in western Europe in the late eighteenth century, diffusing gradually throughout the rest of Europe. It reached Croatia rather late, first manifesting in the most developed region, that of Dubrovnik (end of eighteenth—first half of the nineteenth century), spreading further towards the north of Dalmatia and Istria (around 1870), and subsequently northern Croatia (after 1880). While in western Europe demographic transition tended to intertwine with the process of modernisation, in Croatia, however, the transition preceded it, thus causing deviations (inability to absorb a sudden surplus of population which resulted in out-migration), or specific phenomena (for instance, a decline in mortality of the elderly population contingents preceded that of infant mortality)—a process reversed to that observed in western Europe. Diffusion of the process rested on numerous variables, narrowing down to two basic ones: transition dynamics and absorption dynamics of the ‘new’. In the main, transition dynamics depended on the accomplished living standard, economic environment and geographical position, whilst absorption dynamics rested on stability and the (archaic) level of the traditional customs. Thus the capillary level testified to a diversified development characterised by a variety of phenomena, depending at times on coincidence or individual actions (e.g. wisdom of the village head to send for doctor). Demographic landscape of the twelve Croatian parishes in the eight decade of the nineteenth century reveals that on the less remote Dubrovnik islands demographic transition had advanced to the natality transition (Lopud), while in Slavonia (Donji Miholjac, Drenovci) it had not even begun. Other parishes, however, were experiencing the first signs of transition, in some of which the natural population growth indicated a well-developed central stage of the process (Buzet, Desne, Blato, Pupnat, Babino Polje). The transition first affected the islands and then the mainland (Dalmatia, Dubrovnik). The transition diffused along the south-north island axis (Lopud → Mljet → Korčula → Murter). It first affected the central places rather than remote (Babino Polje → Maranovići; Blato → Pupnat). The impact of migrations on the demographic picture was most discernible in Slavonia (Drenovci), with a moderate impact in the Dinaric rural regions (Bisko, Lisac). The variance of the process reflected on life expectancy (on the island of Lopud every third person died over the age of 70, in Slavonia every seventeenth), on marriage age (Slavonians tended to marry ten years younger than the Dalmatian islanders), and on the number of (new) marriages (every third Slavonian remarried, every ninth elsewhere).


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