Changes of ethnic composition in the Baltic states

Peteris Zvidrins, 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 censuses, respondents were asked to name their ethnic indentity.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 political independence. 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 proportion of titular ethnicities has increased, however, the population of ethnic Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians has decreased.The Baltic States have one of the highest population loss indicators.The excess of deaths over births has been since 1991, and emigration is prevailing in migration processes, particularly among minorities.However even now minorities constitute 26% of the total in the Baltic population. The age structure of minorities is relatively older than the structure of titular ethnicities. The largest minority by size is Russians, the second largest – Poles (great majory of them reside in Lithuania), the third – Belarussians (in Latvia they are even second largest minority, the fourth – 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. The baseline demographic scenario indicates population decline for almost all ethnicities in each of the three Baltic States by 2025.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 2