country profile - LITHUANIA
Background: Lithuanian lands were united under MINDAUGAS in 1236; over the next century, through alliances and conquest, Lithuania extended its territory to include most of present-day Belarus and Ukraine. By the end of the 14th century Lithuania was the largest state in Europe. An alliance with Poland in 1386 led the two countries into a union through the person of a common ruler. In 1569, Lithuania and Poland formally united into a single dual state, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This entity survived until 1795 when its remnants were partitioned by surrounding countries. Lithuania regained its independence following World War I but was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first of the Soviet republics to declare its independence, but Moscow did not recognize this proclamation until September of 1991 (following the abortive coup in Moscow). The last Russian troops withdrew in 1993. Lithuania subsequently restructured its economy for integration into Western European institutions; it joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004. In January 2014, Lithuania assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2014-15 term; in January 2015, Lithuania joined the euro zone.
geography  
Location: Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Latvia and Russia
Area: total: 65,300 sq km
land: 62,680 sq km
water: 2,620 sq km
Land boundaries: total: 1,549 km
border countries (4): Belarus 640 km, Latvia 544 km, Poland 104 km, Russia (Kaliningrad) 261 km
Coastline: 90 km
Climate: transitional, between maritime and continental; wet, moderate winters and summers
Natural resources: peat, arable land, amber
people  
Population: 2,884,433
note: Statistics Lithuania (the national statistical agency of Lithuania) estimates the country's total population at the start of 2013 to be 2,971,905, which takes into account the findings of Lithuania's 2011 census and the high rate of net outmigration since the country joined the EU in 2004 (July 2015 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 14.91% (male 220,460/female 209,501)
15-24 years: 11.97% (male 178,332/female 166,985)
25-54 years: 40.71% (male 575,323/female 598,912)
55-64 years: 13.26% (male 168,354/female 214,201)
65 years and over: 19.15% (male 186,458/female 365,907) (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 43.1 years
male: 39.3 years
female: 46.3 years (2015 est.)
Population growth rate: -1.04% (2015 est.)
Birth rate: 10.1 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate: 14.27 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Net migration rate -6.27 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: 1.07 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.79 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.51 male(s)/female
total population: 0.85 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Nationality: noun: Lithuanian(s)
adjective: Lithuanian
Ethnic groups: Lithuanian 84.1%, Polish 6.6%, Russian 5.8%, Belarusian 1.2%, other 1.1%, unspecified 1.2% (2011 est.)
Religions: Roman Catholic 77.2%, Russian Orthodox 4.1%, Old Believer 0.8%, Evangelical Lutheran 0.6%, Evangelical Reformist 0.2%, other (including Sunni Muslim, Jewish, Greek Catholic, and Karaite) 0.8%, none 6.1%, unspecified 10.1% (2011 est.)
Languages: Lithuanian (official) 82%, Russian 8%, Polish 5.6%, other 0.9%, unspecified 3.5% (2011 est.)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.8% (2015 est.)
government  
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Lithuania
conventional short form: Lithuania
local long form: Lietuvos Respublika
local short form: Lietuva
former: Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Vilnius
geographic coordinates: 54 41 N, 25 19 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions: 60 municipalities (savivaldybe, singular - savivaldybe);
Independence: 11 March 1990 (declared); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union)
National holiday: Independence Day, 16 February (1918); note - 16 February 1918 was the date Lithuania declared its independence from Soviet Russia and established its statehood; 11 March 1990 was the date it declared its independence from the Soviet Union
Legal system: civil law system; legislative acts can be appealed to the constitutional court
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Dalia GRYBAUSKAITE (since 12 July 2009)
head of government: Prime Minister Algirdas BUTKEVICIUS (since 22 November 2012)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister, appointed by the president, and approved by Parliament
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 11 and 25 May 2014 (next to be held in May 2019); prime minister appointed by the president, approved by Parliament
election results: Dalia GRYBAUSKAITE reelected president; percent of vote - Dalia GRYBAUSKAITE (independent) 59%, Zigmantas BALCYTIS (LSDP) 41%; Algirdas BUTKEVICIUS (LSDP) approved as prime minister by Parliament vote - 90 of 130
Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Seimas (141 seats; 71 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote and 70 directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 14 and 28 October 2012 (next to be held in October 2016)
election results: percent of vote by party - DP 19.8%, LSDP 18.4%, TS-LKD 15.1%, LS 8.6%, DK 8%, TT 7.3%, LLRA 5.8%, LVZS 3.9%, other 13.1%; seats by party - LSDP 38, TS-LKD 33, DP 29, TT 11, LS 11, LLRA 8, DK 7, LVZS 1, independent 3
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 37 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the Seimas; judges serve 5-year renewable terms; Constitutional Court judges selected by the Seimas from among nominations by the president, by the Seimas chairperson, and Supreme Court chairperson; judges serve 9-year, nonrenewable terms; note - one-third of court judges reconstituted every 3 years
subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; district and local courts
Political parties and leaders: Christian Party or KP [Gediminas VAGNORIUS]
Democratic Labor and Unity Party or DDVP [Kristina BRAZAUSKIENE]
Electoral Action of Lithuanian Poles or LLRA [Valdemar TOMASEVSKI]
Emigrants Party or EP [Juozas MURAUSKAS]
Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats or TS-LKD [Andrius KUBILIUS]
Labor Party or DP [Loreta GRAUZINIENE]
Liberal and Center Union or LCS [Arturas MELIANAS]
Liberal Movement or LS or LRLS [Eligijus MASIULIS]
Lithuanian People's Party or LLP [Kazimiera PRUNSKIENE]
Lithuanian People's Party or LZP [Joana SIMANAUSKIENE]
Lithuanian Russian Union or LRS [Sergejus DMITRIJEVAS]
Lithuanian Social Democratic Party or LSDP [Algirdas BUTKEVICIUS]
Nationalist Union or TS [Julius PANKA]
Order and Justice Party or TT [Rolandas PAKSAS]
Peasant and Greens Union or LVZS [Ramunas KARBAUSKIS]
Republican Party or RP [Valdemaras VALKIUNAS]
Russian Alliance or RA [Tamara LOCHANKINA]
Socialist People's Front or SLF [Algirdas PALECKIS]
The Union of National Unity or TVS [Algimantas MATULEVICIUS]
Way of Courage or DK [Jonas VARKALA]
YES-Homeland Revival and Perspective or YES Union or TAIP Union or TAIP [Arturas ZUOKAS]
Young Lithuania Party or PJL [Stanislovas BUSKEVICIUS]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Europe House (promotes the EU); European Movement (promotes the EU); Lithuanian Future Forum (promotes the EU)
International organization participation: Australia Group, BA, BIS, CBSS, CD, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UN Security Council (non-permanent), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of yellow (top), green, and red
communications  
Telephones - fixed lines: total subscriptions: 590,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 20 (2014 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular: total: 4.4 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 152 (2014 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: adequate; being modernized to provide improved international capability and better residential access
domestic: rapid expansion of mobile-cellular services has resulted in a steady decline in the number of fixed-line connections; mobile-cellular teledensity stands at about 140 per 100 persons
international: country code - 370; major international connections to Denmark, Sweden, and Norway by submarine cable for further transmission by satellite; landline connections to Latvia and Poland (2010)
Broadcast media: public broadcaster operates 3 channels with the third channel - a satellite channel - introduced in 2007; various privately owned commercial TV broadcasters operate national and multiple regional channels; many privately owned local TV stations; multi-channel cable and satellite TV services available; publicly owned broadcaster operates 3 radio networks; many privately owned commercial broadcasters, with repeater stations in various regions throughout the country (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 29, FM 142, shortwave 1 (2001)
Television broadcast stations: 44 (may have as many as 100 transmitters, including repeater stations) (2008)
Internet country code: .lt
Internet hosts: 885,064 (2009)
Internet users: total: 2 million
percent of population: 70.3% (2014 est.)
transportation  
Airports: 61 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 22
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 9 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 39
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 36 (2013)
Pipelines: gas 1,921 km; refined products 121 km (2013)
Railways: total: 1,768 km
broad gauge: 1,746 km 1.520-m gauge (122 km electrified)
standard gauge: 22 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
Roadways: total: 84,166 km
paved: 72,297 km (includes 312 km of expressways)
unpaved: 11,869 km (2012)
Waterways: 441 km (navigable year round) (2007)
Merchant marine: total: 38
by type: cargo 20, container 1, passenger/cargo 6, refrigerated cargo 9, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 8 (Denmark 8)
registered in other countries: 22 (Antigua and Barbuda 3, Belize 1, Comoros 1, Cook Islands 1, Norway 1, Panama 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 9, unknown 3) (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Klaipeda
oil terminals: Butinge oil terminal
LNG terminal(s) (import): Klaipeda
transnational issues  
Disputes - international: Lithuania and Russia committed to demarcating their boundary in 2006 in accordance with the land and maritime treaty ratified by Russia in May 2003 and by Lithuania in 1999; Lithuania operates a simplified transit regime for Russian nationals traveling from the Kaliningrad coastal exclave into Russia, while still conforming, as a EU member state having an external border with a non-EU member, to strict Schengen border rules; boundary demarcated with Latvia and Lithuania; as of January 2007, ground demarcation of the boundary with Belarus was complete and mapped with final ratification documents in preparation
Refugees and internally displaced persons: stateless persons: 3,645 (2014)
Illicit drugs: transshipment and destination point for cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, and opiates from Southwest Asia, Latin America, Western Europe, and neighboring Baltic countries; growing production of high-quality amphetamines, but limited production of cannabis, methamphetamines; susceptible to money laundering despite changes to banking legislation
Update: This page was last updated on 10 November 2015
Sources: CIA, The World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html