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Demogeographic Development of the Croatian Borderland 2001 – 2011

Ivan Zupanc orcid id ; Geografski odsjek, Prirodoslovno-matematički fakultet, Sveučilište u Zagrebu

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 5.576 Kb

str. 113-142

preuzimanja: 1.352



The paper deals with the population processes in the Croatian border area in the last period between the 2001 and 2011 censuses from a perspective of population geography. The emphasis is put on the two main processes – depopulation and population ageing. For this population geography analysis, borderland was defined on the basis of local self-government units (municipalities and towns). As a criterion, the immediate contact of each unit with the border was used. Based on such a criterion, 128 administrative units were extracted, with a total of 1877 settlements. Finally, the narrowest borderland was defined according to 599 settlements touching the outer state border.
The research was based on the results of the 2001 and 2011 censuses and on the data gathered from vital statistics (data on live births and deaths). In order to compare the data of the two censuses, the principle of the constancy of boundaries at the level of municipalities and towns was ensured, meaning that all boundary changes were harmonised. The main strategy was to use the same spatial coverage and constant boundaries between municipalities or towns (as units of local government) as well as between settlements. An estimate was made for two municipalities and twelve settlements.
The analysis was performed on three spatial levels: 1) the borderland as a whole, 2) 128 municipalities and cities, 3) 1877 settlements. In addition, the nearest part of the border area was defined by 599 settlements along the border. The Croatian border area extends to 15,538.8 square kilometres making up 27.5% of the Croatian land territory, and in 2011 it was occupied by 685,913 inhabitants (16.0% of the state).
The entire Croatian borderland was depopulated in the period observed with a loss of 7.1% of the inhabitants. Losses of population were higher than in the rest of Croatia (2.7%) and in Croatia as a whole (3.4%). The main component of population decline was net migration (in – out migration) which affected the depopulation with 62.2%, while the second component was natural decrease with 37.8%. In Croatia as a whole and in the part outside the borderland, both components impacted the population decline, but their ratio was different. The population of whole Croatia declined in the same period due to natural decrease with an impact of 62.3%; while in the part of Croatia outside the border area the same component had an impact of 75.0%.
Out of a total of 556 municipalities and towns of Croatia (according to the 2011 census), 128 units of local self-government (23.0%) are in the border zone. There are 39 municipalities/towns sharing a border with the Republic of Slovenia, 26 with Hungary, 12 with the Republic of Serbia, 54 with Bosnia and Herzegovina and 1 with Montenegro. Depopulation was a fundamental demographic process in most municipalities/towns. During the period considered, 108 municipalities and towns (84.4%) were affected. Component analysis suggests that natural decrease affected up to 110 units (18 units had a natural increase). At the same time, a negative net migration was achieved in 99 municipalities and towns (in 28 it was positive and in 1 it was zero). As with the borderland as a whole, the main cause of depopulation was emigration (negative net migration). Most of the municipalities/towns depopulated (86) shared a negative migration balance (a leading component in 49 units) and natural decrease (dominant in 37 units). In 12 units, total depopulation was caused exclusively by negative net migration (higher than natural increase), and in 10 units depopulation occurred as a result of natural decrease (the net migration was positive or zero). In municipalities and towns with population growth, the main generator was a positive net migration. Out of 6756 settlements of the Republic of Croatia in 2011, 1877 or 27.8% were in the border zone. As part of the legacy of the past, the settlement structure of the frontier is such that small settlements prevail. The category of settlements with up to 100 inhabitants covers as many as 50.2% of settlements (39.3% of such settlements in whole Croatia). Among them, the most numerous is the category with 1–49 persons (34.8% of all settlements), occupied by only 2.0% of borderland inhabitants. In the category including 50–100 inhabitants, there were 15.5% settlements while the one including 101–200 inhabitants there were 15.6%. As many as 72.3% of settlements (1357) witnessed a reduced number of residents in 2001–2011, and 26 “died out” in the same period. The number of inhabitants increased in 403 settlements, 11 were repopulated (since in 2001 there had been no inhabitants), and in 45 settlements the number of inhabitants stagnated. There were 35 settlements in the two censuses (the so-called “dead villages”), so with 26 new ones, their number grew from 46 to 61 (40.7% out of 150 non-resident settlements in the Republic of Croatia). In the example of the Croatian borderland, the rule has been confirmed that a settlement is less likely to become even smaller. In the five smallest categories, the index of change increased in line with the size of the category. Thus, while the smallest settlements (1–49) had a decrease of -14.6%, the decrease amounted to -12.6% in the category of 50–100 inhabitants, -11.9% in the one with 101–200 inhabitants, -9.4% in the category including 201–500 inhabitants and -6.0% in the category with 501–1000 inhabitants.
In direct vicinity of the Croatian border, there are 559 settlements; 256 at the border with the Republic of Slovenia, 54 at the border with Hungary, 28 at the border with the Republic of Serbia, 218 at the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and 7 at the border with Montenegro. Out of all units analysed, this area witnessed the most intense depopulation, amounting 8.6% (from 339.594 people in 2001 to 306.983 in 2011). Of the 559 settlements in this area just below the border, 431 were depopulated (77.1%), 3 remained without population, 102 recorded an increase (18.2%), 4 were repopulated, 10 stagnated and 9 were without a resident in the two consecutive censuses (the so-called “dead villages”). In addition to the Croatian–Hungarian, Croatian–Serbian and Croatian–Bosnian-and-Herzegovinian border, the longest continuous depopulation zone extends to 103 settlements. The number of inhabitants in that area decreased by 13.0%.
The ageing process was slower in the border area of Croatia, as the 2011 ageing index increased to 108.9 (by 20.3), while in the area outside the borderland it increased to 116.3 (by 25.1). At the same time, the index value for the whole Croatia increased by 24.3 (90.7 → 115.0). According to the second indicator (age coefficient), the share of elderly people in the total population increased in the border zone from 22.0% to 24.0% and in the rest of Croatia from 21.4% to 24.1%. At the same time, the share of young people decreased from 24.8% to 22.0%, and from 23.5% to 20.7%, respectively. The ageing of population in the borderland is primarily a result of the decrease in the number and share of the young population (0–19). Their total number in ten years was relatively reduced by 17.5%, while the number of elderly people increased by 1.5% at the same time. The process of young population decrease is slower in the rest of Croatia (-14.3%), but on the other hand, the number of the old population increases considerably faster than in the borderland (+ 9.3%).
What is also typical of the Croatian border area is a later feminisation of the old age. Here it begins from the 60–64 contingent, while in the rest of Croatia it is present in the age group of 40–44, and in Croatia as a whole from the age of 45–49.
At the beginning of the period analysed, according to the 2001 census, in 57 municipalities/towns the old population outnumbered the young, so that in only ten years their number increased to 87. Even in 115 municipalities and towns, the ageing index had increased by 2011, and in only 13 it had declined. The main cause of index increase at this level was also the depopulation of the young. Namely, in 76 municipalities/towns, the index increased due to the simultaneous depopulation of the young and the old, with the number of young people decreasing at a higher rate than the old, while in 20 municipalities/towns the rate of decrease of the young population is higher than the rate of increase of the old population. The depopulation of the young contingent occurred in as many as 122 units (95.3%), while the number of young people increased in only 6 municipalities/towns. At the same time, the age coefficient increased in 86 municipalities/towns, and decreased in 42 by reducing the age coefficient in all 13 units in which the ageing index decreased.
At the whole border area level, the share of single households increased by slightly less than a quarter (2011 = 23.3%, 2001 = 20.8%), and their share in the total number of households is smaller than in Croatia in general (24.6%) and in the part of Croatia which is not in the border zone (24.8%). As the total number of single-person households increased by 4295, it can be concluded that a growing number of persons live alone. According to the 2011 census, 53.826 inhabitants or 7.8% lived in a single-person household. The structure of single-person households by sex suggests that they predominantly consist of elderly women (60.5%). Although the share of single-person households in the border area is somewhat smaller than in the rest of the state, nearly two-thirds (65.4%) of single-person households comprise the older-age population (60 and more) which is much more than in the remaining part of Croatia outside the border area (58.9%) or than the state average (59.9%). If this contingent is broken down into five-year age groups, the most numerous are those aged 75–79 (22.5% of households aged 60+ and 14.7% of all single-person households), followed by 70–74 years (21.3% and 13.9%).
The research has confirmed that the Croatian borderland is one of the priority problem areas to be approached with special attention. Therefore, such analyses should contribute to the planning of spatial development, within which the long-term policy of population planning should include pronatalist and immigration measures and discouragement of emigration. Stabilisation of settlements and population of the Croatian borderland should be the goal and means of a more balanced development of Croatia.

Ključne riječi

borderland, Croatia, population geography, population, depopulation, ageing

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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