country profile - CROATIA
Background: The lands that today comprise Croatia were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the close of World War I. In 1918, the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes formed a kingdom known after 1929 as Yugoslavia. Following World War II, Yugoslavia became a federal independent communist state under the strong hand of Marshal TITO. Although Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, it took four years of sporadic, but often bitter, fighting before occupying Serb armies were mostly cleared from Croatian lands, along with a majority of Croatia's ethnic Serb population. Under UN supervision, the last Serb-held enclave in eastern Slavonia was returned to Croatia in 1998. The country joined NATO in April 2009 and the EU in July 2013.
Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea, between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia
Area: total: 56,594 sq km
land: 55,974 sq km
water: 620 sq km
Land boundaries: total: 1,982 km
border countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina 932 km, Hungary 329 km, Serbia 241 km, Montenegro 25 km, Slovenia 455 km
Coastline: 5,835 km (mainland 1,777 km, islands 4,058 km)
Climate: Mediterranean and continental; continental climate predominant with hot summers and cold winters; mild winters, dry summers along coast
Natural resources: oil, some coal, bauxite, low-grade iron ore, calcium, gypsum, natural asphalt, silica, mica, clays, salt, hydropower
Population: 4,464,844 (July 2015 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 14.42% (male 330,355/female 313,312)
15-24 years: 11.92% (male 272,249/female 259,935)
25-54 years: 40.88% (male 903,896/female 921,337)
55-64 years: 14.55% (male 314,697/female 335,007)
65 years and over: 18.23% (male 331,889/female 482,167) (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 42.63 years
male: 40.5 years
female: 44.1 years (2015 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.13% (2015 est.)
Birth rate: 9.45 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate: 12.18 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Net migration rate 1.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Nationality: noun: Croat(s), Croatian(s)
adjective: Croatian
Ethnic groups: Croat 90.4%, Serb 4.4%, other 4.4% (including Bosniak, Hungarian, Slovene, Czech, and Roma), unspecified 0.8% (2011 est.)
Religions: Roman Catholic 86.3%, Orthodox 4.4%, Muslim 1.5%, other 1.5%, unspecified 2.5%, not religious or atheist 3.8% (2011 est.)
Languages: Croatian (official) 95.6%, Serbian 1.2%, other 3% (including Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, and Albanian), unspecified 0.2% (2011 est.)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.3%
male: 99.7%
female: 98.9% (2015 est.)
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Croatia
conventional short form: Croatia
local long form: Republika Hrvatska
local short form: Hrvatska
former: People's Republic of Croatia, Socialist Republic of Croatia
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Zagreb
geographic coordinates: 45 48 N, 16 00 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions: 20 counties (zupanije, zupanija - singular) and 1 city* (grad - singular); Bjelovarsko-Bilogorska, Brodsko-Posavska, Dubrovacko-Neretvanska (Dubrovnik-Neretva), Istarska (Istria), Karlovacka, Koprivnicko-Krizevacka, Krapinsko-Zagorska, Licko-Senjska (Lika-Senj), Medimurska, Osjecko-Baranjska, Pozesko-Slavonska (Pozega-Slavonia), Primorsko-Goranska, Sibensko-Kninska, Sisacko-Moslavacka, Splitsko-Dalmatinska (Split-Dalmatia), Varazdinska, Viroviticko-Podravska, Vukovarsko-Srijemska, Zadarska, Zagreb*, Zagrebacka
Independence: 25 June 1991 (from Yugoslavia)
National holiday: Independence Day, 8 October (1991); note - 25 June 1991 was the day the Croatian parliament voted for independence; following a three-month moratorium to allow the European Community to solve the Yugoslav crisis peacefully, Parliament adopted a decision on 8 October 1991 to sever constitutional relations with Yugoslavia
Legal system: civil law system influenced by legal heritage of Austria-Hungary;
note - Croatian law was fully harmonized with the European Community acquis as of the June 2010 completion of EU accession negotiations
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal (16 years of age, if employed)
Executive branch: chief of state: President Kolinda GRABAR-KITAROVIC (since 19 February 2015)
head of government: Prime Minister Tihomir ORESKOVIC (since 22 January 2016); First Deputy Prime Minister Vesna PUSIC (since 16 November 2012)
cabinet: Council of Ministers named by the prime minister and approved by the Assembly
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 10 January 2010 (next to be held in December 2014); the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the president and approved by the Assembly
election results: Kolinda GRABAR-KITAROVIC elected president; percent of vote in the second round - Kolinda GRABAR-KITAROVIC (HDZ) 50.7%, Ivo JOSIPOVIC 49.3%
Legislative branch: unicameral Assembly or Hrvatski Sabor (151 seats; members directly elected by party-list proportional representation vote using the D'Hondt method with a 5% threshold: 14 seats in each of 10 districts; 8 seats in a single nationwide district for minorities; 3 seats in a single special district for the Croatian diaspora, members elected for 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 4 December 2011 (next to be held in late 2015)
election results: percent of vote by party/coalition - Kukuriku 40.0%, HDZ-led Coalition 23.8%, Croatian Laborists-Labor Party 5.1%, HSS 3.0%, HDSSB 2.9%, Independent list of Ivan Grubisic 2.8%, HCSP-HSP AS 2.8%, other 19.6%; number of seats by party/coalition - Kukuriku 80 (SDP 61, HNS 13, IDS 3, HSU 3), HDZ-led coalition 47 (HDZ 44, HGS 2, DC 1), Croatian Laborists-Labor Party 6, HDSSB 6, SDSS 3, Independent list of Ivan Grubisic 2, HSS 1, HCSP-HSP AS 1, other 5
note: seats by party as of 3 April 2015 - SDP 56, HDZ 41, HNS 11, HDSSB 7, HSU 4, Croatian Laborists - Labor Party 3, Reformists 3, SDSS 3, HGS 2, IDS 2, BDSH 1, DC 1, HSS 1, HSP AS 1, ORaH 1, New Wave 1, independents 13
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the court president and vice president, 25 civil department justices, and 16 criminal department justices)
judge selection and term of office: president of Supreme Court nominated by president of Croatia and elected by Croatian Sabor for a 4-year term; other Supreme Court justices appointed by National Judicial Council; all judges serve until age 70
subordinate courts: Administrative Court; county, municipal, and specialized courts; note - there is an 11-member Constitutional Court with jurisdiction limited to constitutional issues but is outside Croatia's judicial system
Political parties and leaders: Bosniak Democratic Party of Croatia or BDSH [Medzad HODZIC];
Croatian Civic Party or HGS [Zeljko KERUM];
Croatian Democratic Congress of Slavonia and Baranja or HDSSB [Dragan VULIN];
Croatian Democratic Union or HDZ [Tomislav KARAMARKO];
Croatian Laborists - Labor Party [Nansi TIRELI];
Croatian Party of Rights - dr. Ante Starcevic or HSP AS [Ivan TEPES];
Croatian Peasant Party or HSS [Branko HRG];
Croatian Pensioner Party or HSU [Silvano HRELJA];
Croatian People's Party - Liberal Democrats or HNS [Vesna PUSIC];
Croatian Pure Party of Rights or HCSP [Josip MILJIC];
Democratic Centre or DC [Vesna SKARE-OZBOLT];
HDZ-led Coalition [Tomislav KARAMARKO] (includes HDZ, HGS, and DC);
Independent Democratic Serb Party or SDSS [Vojislav STANIMIROVIC];
Independent List of Ivan Grubisic [Ivan GRUBISIC];
Istrian Democratic Assembly or IDS [Boris MILETIC];
Kukuriku Coalition [Zoran MILANOVIC] (includes SDP, HNS, IDS, and HSU);
New Wave [Liubo JURCIC];
Reformists Party [Radimir CACIC];
Social Democratic Party of Croatia or SDP [Zoran MILANOVIC];
Sustainable Development for Croatia or ORaH [Mirela HOLY]
Political pressure groups and leaders: other: human rights groups
International organization participation: Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CD, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EMU, EU, FAO, G-11, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, NAM (observer), NATO, NSG, OAS (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SELEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMOGIP, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue, superimposed by the Croatian coat of arms (red and white checkered)
Telephones - fixed lines: total subscriptions: 1.57 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 35 (2014 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular: total: 4.5 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 100 (2014 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: the telecommunications network has improved steadily since the mid-1990s, covering much of what were once inaccessible areas; local lines are digital
domestic: fixed-line teledensity holding steady at about 40 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions exceed the population
international: country code - 385; digital international service is provided through the main switch in Zagreb; Croatia participates in the Trans-Asia-Europe (TEL) fiber-optic project, which consists of 2 fiber-optic trunk connections with Slovenia and a fiber-optic trunk line from Rijeka to Split and Dubrovnik; the ADRIA-1 submarine cable provides connectivity to Albania and Greece (2011)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 16, FM 98, shortwave 5 (1999)
Television broadcast stations: 36 (plus 321 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country code: .hr
Internet hosts: 1.23 million (2009)
Internet users: total: 2.9 million
percent of population: 65.1% (2014 est.)
Airports: 69 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 24
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 10 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 45
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 38 (2013)
Heliports: 1 (2013)
Pipelines: gas 2,410 km; oil 610 km (2011)
Railways: total: 2,722 km
standard gauge: 2,722 km 1.435-m gauge (980 km electrified) (2014)
Roadways: total: 26,958 km (includes 1,416 km of expressways) (2015)
Waterways: 785 km (2009)
Merchant marine: total: 77
by type: bulk carrier 24, cargo 7, chemical tanker 8, passenger/cargo 27, petroleum tanker 10, refrigerated cargo 1
foreign-owned: 2 (Norway 2)
registered in other countries: 31 (Bahamas 1, Belize 1, Liberia 1, Malta 6, Marshall Islands 12, Panama 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 8) (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Ploce, Rijeka, Sibernik, Split
river port(s): Vukovar (Danube)
oil terminal(s): Omisalj
transnational issues  
Disputes - international: dispute remains with Bosnia and Herzegovina over several small sections of the boundary related to maritime access that hinders ratification of the 1999 border agreement; since the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, Croatia and Slovenia have each claimed sovereignty over Pirin Bay and four villages, and Slovenia has objected to Croatia's claim of an exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic Sea; in 2009, however Croatia and Slovenia signed a binding international arbitration agreement to define their disputed land and maritime borders, which led to Slovenia lifting its objections to Croatia joining the EU; Slovenia continues to impose a hard border Schengen regime with Croatia, which joined the EU in 2013 but has not yet fulfilled Schengen requirements
Refugees and internally displaced persons: stateless persons: 2,886 (2014)
Illicit drugs: transit point along the Balkan route for Southwest Asian heroin to Western Europe; has been used as a transit point for maritime shipments of South American cocaine bound for Western Europe (2008)
Update: This page was last updated on 10 November 2015
Sources: CIA, The World Factbook,