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Population

Lithuania's population was 3.8 million in 1991, 69% of which lived in cities. The average amount of people per sq km is 58, which is slightly less than the European mean. This is mostly due to the fact that population growth was halted in the first half of the 20th century during the World Wars. From 1940 to 1958 Lithuania lost 1 million people through emigration, deportation or death; only in 1969 did the population once again reach pre-war levels. In 1958-59 267,000 people, mostly Russians or Russian speakers, immigrated into Lithuania. This influx accounted for 26% of those years' population growth.

Lithuanians constitute a majority of the country's inhabitants ( about 3 million in 1989). Most of them consider Lithuanian their first language. Modern day Lithuania is somewhat smaller than it had been historically. As a result, many ethnic Lithuanians now reside in neighboring countries including Poland, Byelorussia, and the Kaliningrad District. Russians make up Lithuania's second largest ethnic group. They number 344,500, 90% of whom live in urban areas. Poles are the third largest ethnic group numbering 258,000 most of whom reside in Vilnius and southeastern Lithuania. People of other ethnic backgrounds are few.

Lithuania's dominant religion is Roman Catholicism, although Evangelical Lutherans, Evangelical Reformists, Russian Orthodox believers and others are also quite active.



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Next: The First People of Lithuania Previous: Nature

"LITHUANIAN ROOTS", Edited by Rytis Ambrazevicius


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Copyright ©, 1996 Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre.