Croatia Terrain: geographically diverse; flat plains along Hungarian border, low mountains and highlands near Adriatic coastline and islands;

Natural Resources: oil, some coal, bauxite, low-grade iron ore, calcium, gypsum, natural asphalt, silica, mica, clays, salt, hydropower;

Natural Hazards: destructive earthquakes;

Population: 4,475,611 (July 2013 est.)


Introduction: 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.

People and Society

Population 4,475,611 (July 2013 est.)

Languages Croatian (official) 96.1%, Serbian 1%, other and undesignated (including Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, and German) 2.9% (2001 census)

Religions Roman Catholic 87.8%, Orthodox 4.4%, other Christian 0.4%, Muslim 1.3%, other and unspecified 0.9%, none 5.2% (2001 census)

Median Age total: 41.8 years
male: 40 years
female: 43.7 years (2013 est.)

Age Structure 0-14 years: 14.6% (male 334,424/female 317,141)
15-24 years: 12.2% (male 279,375/female 267,184)
25-54 years: 41.4% (male 917,030/female 935,270)
55-64 years: 14.4% (male 314,761/female 330,961)
65 years and over: 17.4% (male 311,581/female 467,884) (2013 est.)


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

Legal System civil law system influenced by legal heritage of Austria-Hungary; note – Croatian law was fully harmonized with the the European Community acquis as of the June 2010 completion of EU accession negotiations


Location Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea, between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia

Area – Comparative slightly smaller than West Virginia
Area total: 56,594 sq km
land: 55,974 sq km
water: 620 sq km

Climate Mediterranean and continental; continental climate predominant with hot summers and cold winters; mild winters, dry summers along coast

Terrain geographically diverse; flat plains along Hungarian border, low mountains and highlands near Adriatic coastline and islands

Natural Hazards destructive earthquakes

Natural Resources oil, some coal, bauxite, low-grade iron ore, calcium, gypsum, natural asphalt, silica, mica, clays, salt, hydropower


Though still one of the wealthiest of the former Yugoslav republics, Croatia’s economy suffered badly during the 1991-95 war. The country’s output during that time collapsed and Croatia missed the early waves of investment in Central and Eastern Europe that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall. Between 2000 and 2007, however, Croatia’s economic fortunes began to improve slowly with moderate but steady GDP growth between 4% and 6% led by a rebound in tourism and credit-driven consumer spending. Inflation over the same period remained tame and the currency, the kuna, stable. Croatia experienced an abrupt slowdown in the economy in 2008 and has yet to recover. Difficult problems still remain, including a stubbornly high unemployment rate, uneven regional development, and a challenging investment climate. The new government has announced a more flexible approach to privatization, including the sale in the coming years of state-owned businesses that are not of strategic importance. While macroeconomic stabilization has largely been achieved, structural reforms lag. Croatia will face significant pressure as a result of the global financial crisis, due to reduced exports and capital inflows. Croatia reentered a recession in 2012, and Zagreb cut spending. The government also raised additional revenues through more stringent tax collection and by raising the Value Added Tax in February 2012. On 1 July 2013 Croatia joined the EU, following a decade long application process. Croatia will be a member of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism until it meets the criteria for joining the Economic and Monetary Union and adopts the euro as its currency. Croatia’s high foreign debt, strained state budget, and over-reliance on tourism revenue could hinder economic progress over the medium-term.

GDP (Official Exchange Rate) $55.71 billion (2012 est.)
Budget revenues: $21.56 billion
expenditures: $23.42 billion (2012 est.)

Current Account Balance $-51.55 million (2012 est.)
$-548 million (2011 est.)

Imports – Commodities machinery, transport and electrical equipment; chemicals, fuels and lubricants; foodstuffs

Exports – Commodities transport equipment, machinery, textiles, chemicals, foodstuffs, fuels


Broadcast Media the national state-owned public broadcaster, Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT), operates 4 terrestrial TV networks, a satellite channel that rebroadcasts programs for Croatians living abroad, and 6 regional TV centers; 2 private broadcasters operate national terrestrial networks; roughly 25 privately owned regional TV stations; multi-channel cable and satellite TV subscription services are available; state-owned public broadcaster operates 3 national radio networks and 9 regional radio stations; 2 privately owned national radio networks and more than 170 regional, county, city, and community radio stations (2012)
Internet Users 2.234 million (2009)
Internet Hosts 729,420 (2012)

Telephones – Mobile Cellular 4.97 million (2012)
Telephones – Main Lines in Use 1.64 million (2012)


Airports 69 (2013)
Heliports 1 (2013)
Roadways total: 29,410 km (includes 1,254 km of expressways) (2011)

Waterways 785 km (2009)
Ports and Terminals major seaport(s): Ploce, Rijeka, Sibernik, Split
river port(s): Vukovar (Danube)
oil/gas terminal(s): Omisalj

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)


Manpower Fit for Military Service males age 16-49: 770,710
females age 16-49: 839,732 (2010 est.)

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; as a European Union peripheral state, Slovenia imposed a hard border Schengen regime with non-member Croatia in December 2007

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons stateless persons: 2,886 (2012)