The decrease in Lithuania's population in 2000-2013 was the most pronounced across the European Union (EU), says director of the Institute of Human Geography and Demography Vlada Stankūnienė.
"In this century, the decrease in the number of people in Lithuania has been greater than in any other country. For the last two years, our population has been below three million," Stankūnienė said at a conference on demographic issues at parliament on Wednesday.
In her words, Lithuania's population was mostly drained by emigration. The country lost about 30,000 residents every year, including a third due to natural change, i.e., negative difference between birth and death rates.
"The main reasons behind the decrease include mainly very intensive migration and negative net migration," said the researcher.
According to data provided by the Statistics Department, Lithuania's population was just above 3 million people in early 2012 and dropped to 2.972 million by the start of 2013. As of 1 October this year, Lithuania's population stands at 2.927 million.
According to demographic statistics, the rate of population decrease has been growing since the start of the downward tendency in 1992 until 2010 and only slowed down over the last few years. While there has been some encouraging trends since 2010, the Lithuanian population continues shrinking.