people shouting, taking a photo, and cheering while raising flag

The Croatian people, commonly known as Hrvati in their native language, form a distinct South Slavic ethnic community. While a majority reside in Croatia, there are significant numbers in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in other neighboring nations as well. Inside the borders of Croatia, approximately 4 million individuals identify as Croatian. Additionally, there are as many as 4.5 million people of Croatian descent dispersed globally. Various socio-political and economic factors have led to a large-scale migration of Croatians, contributing to a substantial Croatian diaspora worldwide.

Demographics and Geographical Distribution

Table 1: Geographical Distribution of Croatians
Croatia4 million91%
Bosnia and Herzegovina~755,00015.4%
United States~400,0000.1%
Other countries~1 millionVaries

Within Croatia, the ethnic Croatians make up about 91% of the population. Besides Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina hosts a significant number of Croatians, constituting about 15.4% of the population. Other countries with a notable Croatian population include Germany and the United States.

Historical Migration and Diaspora

Various push and pull factors have contributed to the migration of Croatians throughout history. The phenomenon of Croatian diaspora has its roots in different historical epochs, impacted by political, social, and economic changes. For instance, during the Austro-Hungarian rule and subsequent Yugoslav period, there was a shift in population due to governance and economic circumstances. Furthermore, the 1990s Croatian War of Independence led to a mass exodus, forcing many to seek refuge in other countries. As a result, Croatian communities have been established in various corners of the world, ranging from Europe to North America and Australia.

Table 2: Factors Leading to Croatian Migration
Historical EraFactorsOutcome
Austro-Hungarian RuleGovernance, Economic DisparitiesRegional Migration
Yugoslav PeriodPolitical Instability, Economic FactorsInternational Migration
1990s War of IndependenceWar, Political TurmoilMass Exodus, Refugee Status

Language and Culture

The official language is Croatian, which is a South Slavic language written in the Latin script. The Croatian culture is a blend of Mediterranean, Central European, and Balkan influences, enriched by its long and complex history. Folk music, dance, and art are integral aspects of Croatian cultural identity. Additionally, Croatians have made significant contributions to literature, science, and the arts.

Table 3: Aspects of Croatian Culture
ElementDescriptionNotable Examples
MusicFolk and modernTamburitza, Klapa
DanceVarious regional formsLinđo, Moreška
LiteratureRich and variedMarko Marulić, Ivan Gundulić
ScienceContributions in various fieldsNikola Tesla (ethnic Serb born in Croatia), Lavoslav Ružička
ArtsDiverse formsNaïve Art, Edo Murtić

Economic Contribution

Croatia has a diverse economy that encompasses sectors like tourism, shipbuilding, and agriculture. As a member of the European Union, it maintains strong economic ties with other member states. Croatians in the diaspora also significantly contribute to the country's economy through remittances.

Table 4: Economic Sectors in Croatia
TourismHighMajor source of income
AgricultureModerateSignificant for local consumption

In summary, Croatians form a unique South Slavic ethnic group predominantly settled in Croatia, but with a notable presence globally. Historical events shaped by various factors have led to the formation of a significant Croatian diaspora. The community is culturally rich, economically diverse, and linguistically unified through the Croatian language. With roots deeply embedded in a blend of Mediterranean, Central European, and Balkan influences, Croatians maintain a distinct identity in the global landscape.

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