Results of the 2021 Population and Housing Census of the Republic of Lithuania
The 2021 Population and Housing Census (hereinafter referred to as the “Census”) revealed that one in ten residents of the Republic of Lithuania had lived abroad for a year or longer. The number of permanent residents of Lithuania born in post-Soviet republics is declining, but the number of those born in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Norway and other countries is increasing.
Population by place of birth
Based on the Census data, 2 million 655 thousand (94.5 per cent) Lithuanian residents were born in Lithuania, of them 55.7 per cent – in urban areas, 44.3 per cent – in rural areas (Fig. 1). 155.6 thousand (5.5 per cent) of the population were born abroad. Persons born in European countries accounted for the largest share of those born abroad (91.2 per cent): in the EU countries – 11 per cent, in other European countries – 80.2 per cent.
131.1 thousand permanent residents of Lithuania born abroad (84.2 per cent of all persons born abroad) were born in post-Soviet republics. The majority of them were born in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Comparing the data of 2001 and 2021, the number of permanent residents of Lithuania born in post-Soviet republics decreased by 63.7 thousand or 11.3 percentage points.
Compared to 2011, a significant increase in the number of permanent residents of Lithuania born in the following countries was observed: Norway (increased by 2 thousand or 8.2 times), the United Kingdom (by 7.8 thousand or 5.1 times), Ireland (by 1.8 thousand or 3.1 times).
Fig. 1. Population by place of birth, per cent
62.2 per cent of urban population were born in urban areas, 31.4 per cent – in rural areas, 6.4 per cent – outside Lithuania. 64.3 per cent of rural population were born in rural areas, 32 per cent – in urban areas, 3.7 per cent – abroad. The share of foreign-born persons is higher among urban (6.4 per cent) than rural population (3.7 per cent).
In all municipalities, the situation is similar in terms of the number of foreign-born persons. However, Visaginas municipality stands out, where every second person was born outside Lithuania. 12.2 per cent of foreign-born persons live in Šalčininkai district municipality, 10.5 per cent – in Švenčionys district municipality, 10.3 per cent – in Klaipėda city municipality. In 11 municipalities, those born in the Russian Federation accounted for 50 per cent and more of all persons born abroad. In the municipalities of Šalčininkai, Švenčionys and Vilnius districts, among all foreign-born persons, the smallest proportion is recorded for those born in the Russian Federation – less than a quarter. In these municipalities, those born in the Republic of Belarus account for the largest share of all foreign-born persons.
Fig. 2. Population born abroad
Born abroad per 1 thous. population
Population born abroad by city/town municipality, per cent
The results of the Census 2021 allow analysing statistical information on population by place of birth and age (Fig. 3). The majority of residents born in urban areas were in the age group under 39 years, those born in rural areas – in the age group of 50 years and over.
The largest share of the residents of Lithuania born abroad was recorded among the youngest (aged 0–9) and eldest (aged 50 and older) population – 5.3 and 9.2 per cent respectively.
Almost all permanent residents of the Republic of Lithuania born in Ireland, the United Kingdom and Norway were persons under 19 (respectively, 99.8, 98.8 and 98.5 per cent of all persons born in those countries).
Fig. 3. Population by place of birth and age group, per cent
The relationship between population nationality and the country of birth reveals some differences. Permanent residents of Lithuanian nationality born outside Lithuania accounted for a small share of the foreign-born population – 2.2 per cent. 65 per cent of Ukrainians, 63.2 per cent of Belarusians, 30.5 per cent of Russians and 7.6 per cent of Poles living in Lithuania were born in other countries.
Settled way of life
Based on the 2021 Census data, the level of sedentariness of Lithuanian population is high. One year before the Census (1 January 2020), 2 million 589 thousand (92.9 per cent) residents lived in the same place of residence, 180.7 thousand (6.5 per cent) – lived in other place of residence in Lithuania, 17 thousand (0.6 per cent) – lived abroad.
Women changed their place of residence in Lithuania less often than men: one year before the Census, 94.5 per cent of women and 91 per cent of men lived in the same place of residence. There were 9.8 thousand men and 7.2 thousand women permanently resident abroad, i.e. 1.4 times more men than women.
Residents who changed their permanent residence in the territory of Lithuania most often were those aged 25–44 (they accounted for 44.8 per cent of all residents who changed their permanent residence in Lithuania). Of them, 44.2 per cent of population lived in other urban areas, 55.8 per cent – in other rural areas. The most sedentary residents were those aged 60 and older. Among those who have previously lived abroad, more than half (54.6 per cent) were aged 20–34.
The residents of Panevėžys, Šiauliai and Telšiai counties were the most sedentary (Fig. 4). Residents of Panevėžys, Šiauliai, Telšiai and Vilnius counties who lived in the same area one year before the Census accounted for 93 per cent and more in each. In Marijampolė county, there was the largest share of those who lived in other area (in other urban or rural area or abroad) – 10.8 thousand (7.9 per cent).
Fig. 4. Population by area of permanent residence one year before the Census in counties1, per cent
1Children born on 1 January 2020 and later are not included.
Based on the 2021 Census data, Visaginas municipality population was the most sedentary (96.1 per cent). The large cities (Klaipėda, Panevėžys, Šiauliai, Vilnius) are characterised by a high sedentariness with 95 per cent of the population having lived in the same area one year before the Census.
Among those who lived in other area in Lithuania (180.7 thousand), every second resident came to permanently reside to Vilnius city (25.4 thousand), Kaunas city (16.1 thousand), Vilnius district (13.5 thousand), Kaunas district (10.1 thousand), Klaipėda city (7.2 thousand), Klaipėda district (6.7 thousand), Kaišiadorys district (4.2 thousand), Šiauliai city (4 thousand) and Marijampolė (4 thousand) municipalities. Mostly the residents who came to reside in the municipalities of large cities were those who had lived in districts adjacent to the municipalities of large cities one year before the Census and vice versa. 7.9 thousand residents came to Vilnius city municipality from Vilnius district municipality, 1.4 thousand – from Trakai district municipality, 1.1 thousand – from Kaunas city municipality. 6.7 thousand residents came to Vilnius district municipality from Vilnius city municipality, 7 thousand residents came to Kaunas city municipality from Kaunas district municipality, 4.4 thousand residents came to Kaunas district municipality from Kaunas city municipality.
The majority of those who had lived abroad a year before the Census were the residents of the large cities: Vilnius (18.7 per cent), Kaunas (10.8 per cent), Klaipėda (6 per cent), Šiauliai (4.6 per cent), Panevėžys (2.9 per cent) and Kaunas district municipality (3.1 per cent).
Population by living abroad for one year or more, year of arrival to live in Lithuania
294.9 thousand (10.6 per cent) permanent residents of the Republic of Lithuania had lived abroad for a year or longer (in 2011, 205.9 thousand or 6.8 per cent). Of them, 74.2 per cent – urban population, 25.8 per cent – rural population. Urban population accounted for 11.5, rural population – 8.6 per cent of resident population who had lived in foreign countries for a year or longer.
The Census results allowed analysing the number of permanent residents who had lived abroad for a year or longer by year of their arrival to live in Lithuania. Almost one in three permanent residents of Lithuania came to Lithuania before the restoration of independence of the country. The 2021 Census revealed that the number of residents moving to Lithuania has been increasing over the last decade. As many as one fifth of all permanent residents of the country who had lived abroad came to permanently reside in Lithuania in 2015–2020.
Fig. 5. Residents who have lived abroad for a year or longer by period of arrival to live in Lithuania, per cent
Population by citizenship
Over the decade, society has become more diverse in terms of citizenship: the number of citizens of other countries living in Lithuania has increased. In 2021, citizens of 133 countries lived in Lithuania (in 2011, 108). Based on the 2021 Census data, citizens of Guinea, Kenya, New Zealand, Palestine, Panama, Singapore, Sudan, Zimbabwe and other countries lived in Lithuania.
Despite the changes, Lithuanian society remains homogeneous. The proportion of citizens of other countries has remained almost unchanged, and they make up a small proportion of the resident population (0.7 per cent in 2011, 0.6 per cent in 2021). The citizens of the Republic of Lithuania account for 99.4 per cent of the population having one citizenship (in 2011, 99.3 per cent).
In absolute terms, proportion of those having more than one citizenship has changed over the decade – increased more than 2 times: in 2021, the number of such residents totalled 8.3 thousand (0.3 per cent), in 2011 – 4.1 thousand (0.1 per cent).
2.2 thousand (0.1 per cent) permanent residents of the Republic of Lithuania were stateless (in 2011, 2.4 thousand or 0.1 per cent).
Population distribution by citizenship and age reveals that among those having more than one citizenship, the persons of the youngest age group account for the largest share: those aged 0–19 account for 56.9 per cent of all residents having more than one citizenship. As regards those having no citizenship, older population prevails: those aged 45 and older account for 85.3 per cent of all residents having no citizenship.
99.8 per cent of all permanent residents of Lithuania born in Lithuania had the citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania, 85.7 per cent of those born abroad had the citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania, 4.1 per cent – had the citizenship of the Russian Federation, 1.8 per cent – of the Republic of Belarus, 1.6 per cent – of Ukraine. The relative share of population born outside Lithuania and holding citizenship of other countries is not high.
The majority of persons having the citizenship of the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine lived in Vilnius city municipality – respectively, 53.8, 35.3 and 37.2 per cent of all residents having these citizenships.
Visaginas municipality had the highest share of residents with citizenships of other countries. One in ten residents of Visaginas municipality was the citizen of other country.
More information on the issue is available in the Database of Indicators.