Dynamics of ethnic structures in the Baltic countries in the 21st century

Peteris Zvidrins, University of Latvia
Atis Berzins, University of Latvia

The aim of this paper is to present changes in the three Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and to analyze the demographic developments of titular ethnicities and ethnic minorities. In all censuses carried out in the Baltics, including the 2000-2001 and 2011 censuses, respondents were asked to name their ethnic identity. This gave a basic information for study of ethnic composition and characteristics of ethnic Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians and other ethnic groups living in the Baltics. The paper reports from study of ethnic developments since the regained political independence in the beginning of the 1990s and more detaily in the last decade. A sudden reversal of the migration and natural reproduction processes changed the population proportion of titular ethnicities, Slavs and other minorities. In the 1990s and the beginning of this century the total number of population of ethnic Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians has decreased, however, the proportion of titular ethnicities has increased. The Baltic States have one of the highest population loss indicators in the world. The excess of deaths over births has been since 1991, and emigration is strongly prevailing in international migration processes, particularly among minorities. However even now minorities constitute one- fourth of the total in the Baltic population (in Latvia 38%, in capital city Riga 54%). The age structure of minorities is relatively older than the structure of titular ethnicities. The largest minorities by size are Russians, Poles (great majority of them reside in Lithuania), Belarussians and - the Ukrainians. Demographic characteristics (level of ageing, fertility, mortality, net migration, etc.) of main ethnic groups as well as results of projections of ethnic structures will be presented in the paper.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 2