Croatian immigrants and their descendants abroad

According to the census taken in April 2001 there were 4. 437, 460 inhabitants in Croatia.

Based on the estimates and assessments of Croatian diplomatic missions and consular offices, Croatian Catholic missions, as well as the censuses taken in the countries where Croat immigrants and their descendants reside, and also based on the estimates of Croatian communities in some of those countries, it is estimated that there are about 3,000,000 Croatian immigrants and their descendants living outside Croatia and worldwide.

Based on the assessments by individual countries around the world, the number of Croats and their descendants is as follows:

Argentina:  about 250 000
Australia:  around 250,000
Austria:  around 90,000
Belgium:  6 000
Brazil:  around 20 000
Bolivia:  5 000
Chile: 200 000
Denmark: approximately 1 000
Ecuador: about 4000
France: 40 000
Italy:  about 60,000
South Africa: around 8000
Canada:  about 250 000
Luxembourg:  about 2000
Netherlands:  10 000
Norway:  about 2000
New Zealand:  40 000
Germany:  about 350 000
Paraguay:  5 000
Peru:  around 6000
United States, about 1.2 million
Sweden: approximately 35 000
Switzerland: 80 000
Uruguay: 5 000
Great Britain: around 5000
Venezuela: 5 000

Traditionally, Croatia has been a country of immigration. Several periods need to be singled out which marked the immigration of Croats.

  • From 1880’s until World War I: United States, Latin America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand 
  • From 1918 until  World War II: Germany, France, Belgium 
  • At the end and immediately  after World War II: Argentina and other countries in Latin America and North America 
  • After 1965s: Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada
  • After  1990s: Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand

Croats kept immigrating both for economic and political reasons, although it can be said that both reasons played a role in the immigration.

Older Croat population abroad, primarily „economic immigration“ overseas,  still shows interests in the events in the homeland, while the younger generation, largely assimilated, is  mostly interested in its Croat roots.

A very specific group of Croatian immigrants is made up of “economic immigrants” going back to the sixties of the previous century, and mostly residing in the countries of Western Europe. One part of it is well integrated into host countries (especially younger Croats), while the other part still perceives itself as guests and wishes to return to Croatia.
The largest number of political immigrants are the “ Bleiburg survivors” who, after World War II, settled in South and North  America.
Croat immigration, in the course of 1990s, bears the mark of the refugees from war-torn areas, and is also the result of the Greater Serbian war of aggression. The largest number of these immigrants moved to the countries of Western Europe and to overseas countries (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand). Some of them did, however, return to Croatia.
A typical mark for all Croat immigrants, either those who live in overseas countries, or those who live in the immediate vicinity of their homeland, is the desire to cooperate with their homeland. Our main goal should be based on the fact how to preserve the identity of Croatian immigrants, regardless of the time of their departure, reasons for leaving, levels of education, and the overall profile of Croat immigrants.