An expert from the field of demographics and statistics Hasan Zolic told N1 that the number of Croats in Bosnia is even smaller than what Bosnia’s Presidency member Dragan Covic said, adding that UN experts’ predictions are that the number of Bosnian residents will decrease drastically by the end of this century.
“One of the reasons is that the Croat population in Bosnia is significantly older, the second reason is that the Croat population is leaving Bosnia to live in Croatia and other countries, and the third reason is that Croatia became an EU member state and all those with dual citizenship (Croatian and Bosnian) gained the opportunity and all the privileges of EU citizens,” Zolic said. “It used to be that only one family member would leave, but now whole families are moving abroad."
Zolic added that it is good to talk about this issue and that meetings are being held increasingly. Foreign and domestic experts should be asked to engage in this issue and they should monitor the number of people in general in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
According to the 2013 census of population, there were 100,000 Bosnian Croats living in Bosnia, but Zolic said the number is probably even smaller because of the negative ration in the number of newborns and the deceased. Also, it is not only the Croats that are leaving the country but other peoples are leaving as well.
According to some UN predictions, the number of people living in Bosnia will reach 1.8 million by 2100. Currently, some 3.8 million live in Bosnia.
Ivo Tomasevic, secretary of the Bishops' Conference said everyone is aware of the difficulties arising from people leaving Bosnia. The trend has been visible for years.
“These difficulties were visible right after the war when people started leaving the country. The Mostar conference ('Croats of Bosnia – demographic reality,' held Monday) should have been held 20 years ago in Posavina, in Banjaluka, northern Bosnia, when we should have helped those people,” Tomasevic told N1.
Speaking at the “Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina – demographic reality” conference in Mostar on Monday, Croat member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency Dragan Covic said that Croats make 15.4 percent of the population of Bosnia.
Bosnia and Herzegovina held a population census in 2013, the first one after declaring its independence in 1992. Official results published in 2016 said that Bosnia had nearly 3.8 million citizens, about 1.8 million Bosniaks, more than one million Serbs and 544,780 Croats. Compared to the 1991 population census results, the number of each of the three ethnic groups significantly decreased, mostly during the 1992-95 armed conflict but also in the years to come, due to the bad economic situation.