Demographics of LithuaniaThe earliest evidence of inhabitants in present-day Lithuania dates back to 10,000 BC. Between 3,000-2,000 BC, the cord-ware culture people spread over a vast region of eastern Europe, between the Baltic Sea and the Vistula River in the west and the Moscow-Kursk line in the east. Merging with the indigenous population, they gave rise to the Balts, a distinct Indo-European ethnic group whose descendants are the present-day Lithuanian and Latvian nations and the now extinct Prussians. The name "Lietuva", or Lithuania, might be derived from the word "lietava," for a small river, or "lietus," meaning rain (or land of rain).
Lithuanians are neither Slavic nor Germanic, although the union with Poland and Germanic and Russian colonization and settlement left cultural and religious influences. This highly literate society places strong emphasis upon education, which is free and compulsory until age 16. Most Lithuanians and ethnic Poles belong to the Roman Catholic Church; Orthodoxy is the largest non-Catholic denomination.
Enduring several border changes, Soviet deportations, a massacre of its Jewish population, and German and Polish repatriations during and after World War II, Lithuania has maintained a fairly stable percentage of ethnic Lithuanians (from 79.3% in 1959 to 83.5% in 2002). Lithuania's citizenship law and constitution meet international and OSCE standards, guaranteeing universal human and civil rights.
The Lithuanian language still retains the original sound system and morphological peculiarities of the prototypal Indo-European tongue and therefore is fascinating for linguistic study. Between 400-600 AD, the Lithuanian and Latvian languages split from the Eastern Baltic (Prussian) language group, which subsequently became extinct. The first known written Lithuanian text dates from a hymnal translation in 1545. Written with the Latin alphabet, Lithuanian has been the official language of Lithuania again since 1989. The Soviet era had imposed the official use of Russian, so most Lithuanians speak Russian as a second language while the resident Slavic populace generally speaks Russian or Polish as a first language.
Population: 3,620,756 (July 2000 est.)
0-14 years: 19% (male 357,712; female 342,796)
15-64 years: 67% (male 1,177,732; female 1,259,682)
65 years and over: 14% (male 163,470; female 319,364) (2000 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.29% (2000 est.)
Birth rate: 9.77 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Death rate: 12.87 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.16 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.51 male(s)/female
total population: 0.88 male(s)/female (2000 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 14.67 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.09 years
male: 63.07 years
female: 75.41 years (2000 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.34 children born/woman (2000 est.)
Ethnic groups: Lithuanian 80.6%, Russian 8.7%, Polish 7%, Byelorussian 1.6%, other 2.1%
Religions: Roman Catholic (primarily), Lutheran, Russian Orthodox, Protestant, evangelical Christian Baptist, Muslim, Jewish
Languages: Lithuanian (official), Polish, Russian
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
female: 98% (1989 est.)
- See also : Lithuania