A cluster analysis of Croatian counties as the base for an active demographic policy
This paper deals with Croatian counties cluster analysis as the base for develop-ping a proactive demographic policy. Unfortunately, Croatia has no national demographic strategy and no national population policy is carried out. Some local governments are taking isolated policy measures but due to an unsystematic and distressed network at the national level it has to date given no significant effects. The Croatian nation is currently experiencing the initial process of demographic extinction. This process began even before the great emigration wave that started about a year and half ago. Since there are no financial resources for the simultaneous and complete implementation of an active demographic policy across the entire Croatian territory, this paper proposes a new approach. Namely, the main demographic indicators have been calculated and analyzed for each Croatian county. After that, using a multivariate methodology, fifteen demographic indicators that significantly differ from county to county were selected as criteria for clustering Croatian counties by k-means method. Clustering output defines several clusters consisting of a smaller number of counties with similar demographic characteristics. These clusters form a spatial county unit in which appropriate measures of an active demographic policy should be urgently implemented. In this way the process of active demographic policy can start with less financial resources and can be limited maybe only to spaces with poorest demographic characteristics. Moreover, the results of this study might very well stimulate "richer” government units to carry out the appropriate active demographic policy measures in their areas without waiting for the adoption of laws and regulations at the national state level.
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