Characteristics of the minorities in the Baltic States

Peteris Zvidrins, University of Latvia

The aim of the paper is to analyze changes in the ethnic structures in three Baltic States and to analyze the largest ethnic minorities. In all censuses of the 20th century carried out in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, including the 2000-2001 censuses, respondents were asked to name their ethnic identity. This gives a basic information for study of ethnic minorities. The paper reports findings from study of minorities since the end of 1980s. In the Soviet period level of ethnic diversity sharply increased. In the independent period the proportion of minorities in all three states has decreased, however, even now minorities constitute 27% of the total population (in Latvia about 40%). More than 1.5 million Eastern Slavs, mainly Russians, almost 300 thousand Poles and more than 100 other „old” and „new” ethnic minorities live in the Baltics. Demographic and socio- economic characteristics of main minorities will be presented.

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Presented in Session 127: Ethnic minorities