#406527

Anonymous

Comparing the 1991 census with a total of 4,377,033  to the estimated 2013 census with 3,531,159, Bosnia lost a total of 845,874 inhabitants. Yes, that is the size of a medium sized European city. I’d say the majority of people left due to the War in the years following the war conditions were not exactly easy for the local population. Staggering unemployment throughout much of the country and low birth rates also added to this number. 

Broken down by the three major ethnic groups in Bosnia, the total amount of Bosniaks in 1991 was 1,902,956 (47.47% of the total) and today it’s 1,769,592 (about 50% of the total). That’s a loss of 133,364 or about 7% of the Bosniak prewar population.

For Serbs in 1991 it was 1,365,104 (about 31% of the total) and today it’s 1,086,733 ( 30.7% of total). That’s a loss of 278,371 or about 20.3% of the Serb prewar population.

For Croats in 1991 it was 763,254 (about 17.3% of the total) and today it’s 544,780 (15.4% of total). That’s a loss of 218,474 or about 28.6% of the Croat prewar population.  

All recent data was made official just a couple weeks ago on June 30th, 2016. From the data we can infer several things. Since the war B&H has lost a significant chunk of it’s total population, about 19.3% or 1/5 of it’s prewar population. To put that into perspective if America lost 1/5 of it’s population in the time span of just 25 years that would be 74.7 million people no longer part of the population in just a generation. Imagine the wreckage that would have on society at large and the economy? This is what B&H goes through now. 

We can also infer that since the prewar period to now , Croats and Serbs have suffered the largest losses in proportion to their populations being roughly 4x more and 3x more population loss respectively compared to the Bosniak population. Bosniaks have also increased as a total percentage of Bosnia while Serbs remained pretty much stagnant and the Croats have actually decreased. This might seem counter intuitive to a lot of people since most information about the Bosnian war points to Bosniaks being the major victims of the war. This is true to some extent in terms of suffering the largest impact of ethnic cleansing in those horrific 3 years and almost all of the estimated victim numbers (deaths, rapes, severe injuries) confirm that but the impact of the war goes beyond the immediate fighting. The repercussions linger on long after peace is achieved. 

The staggering disparity between the relatively low Bosniak loss ( in the past 15 years) compared to the staggeringly high Croat and Serb losses can be attributed to many things I think. One, all three populations suffered from the war. Of all the displaced Bosniaks, not all of them emigrated to other parts of the world (though many did). Many of the displaced Bosniaks moved to other parts of Bosnia during the war ( from what we would call today territory in Republika Srpska – especially eastern B&H, to the Federation). Many Bosniaks went to Croatia but returned to B&H several years after the war concluded. Bosniaks also returned from other parts of the world. Also, relative to Croats and Serbs, Bosniaks have a better birth rate.

For Serbs I think the shockingly low birth rate among them in B&H (even lower than Croats) is a decisive factor. On top of that the economy in Republika Srpska ( where 90% of Bosnian Serbs live today) is not very conducive to growth (though there is a lot of potential if proper investments were made) and unemployment is highest in R.S. areas than in the Federation ( though the federation is pretty bad in a lot of areas too). I think a good portion of Serbs also left B&H permanently and far less returned than was the case for Bosniaks. I think the Serb population would probably be even lower if a huge chunk of the Serbs from Croatia didn’t resettle in Bosnia at the end of the war. 

For Croats, like Serbs, a low birth rate is a problem as well. Also like the other two groups, many Croats left/fled Bosnia for other parts of the world (especially Croatia) and didn’t bother to return (except for the Western Herzegovina region in SW B&H). Except for Western Herzegovina, Croat populations have dramatically dwindled in almost all other parts of Bosnia, especially the territory currently in Republika Srpska. The Croat situation is bad but has at least stabilized somewhat in southwest B&H where there is something of a stronghold for the Croats. Due to a lot of investment into (west) Herzegovina and exposing it’s natural resources it’s one of the most economically prosperous regions in all of BiH today. Croats have become a relative majority in Mostar as well and 2 of Bosnia’s 3 major banks and financial hubs are located in the Croatian portion of Mostar. It’s still pretty bad though overall though and many Croats in Bosnia simply prefer to live in Croatia or abroad.

Going forward I expect Bosnia’s population to further decline. I expect the largest decline to come from the Serb and Croat populations while the decline of Bosniaks is relatively less and will stabilize before the other two groups. I expect Republika Srpska’s population to become more sparse though I think cities like Banja Luka and Prijedor will do relatively well. I expect Bosniaks will repopulate Sarajevo more over the years since it’s a region with relatively lower unemployment than the rest of B&H. There could be a resurgence of Islamic culture in this part of Europe too due to the global situation going on which could galvanize the typically secular Bosniaks to becoming a more religious nation. I think this could potentially improve their birthrate even more. Croats and Serbs, like most Christians in Europe will continue to suffer a low birthrate. Croats will eventually dwindle into virtually no presence in most parts of Bosnia except for the compact southwestern cantons of the Federation (West Herzegovina, Canton 10, and Neretva) where I think this is the only part Croats might actually having a future in BiH in since the economy is doing relatively OK in these parts and is largely Croatian controlled. There could be a couple holdouts leftover in Central Bosnia and NE Bosnia (Posavina) but they won’t be too significant. 

Don’t mean to sound dark but Europe as a whole is going to suffer more and more demographic problems Bosnia is no exception. 

 

 

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