Population: 4.5 million (July 2004 est.).
Life expectancy at birth: 74.1 years.
Religions: Roman Catholic 87.8%, Orthodox 4.4%, Muslim 1.3%, Protestant 0.3%, others and unknown 6.2% (2001).
Ethnic groups: Croat 89.6%, Serb 4.5%, Bosniak 0.5%, Hungarian 0.4%, Slovene 0.3%, Czech 0.2%, Roma 0.2%, Albanian 0.1%, Montenegrin 0.1%, others 4.1% (2001).
Language: Croatian 96%, other 4% (including Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, and German).
Nationality: Croat(s), Croatian(s).
Before the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the Republic of Croatia, after Slovenia, was the most prosperous and industrialized area, with a per capita output perhaps one-third above the Yugoslav average. The economy emerged from its mild recession in 2000 with tourism the main factor, but massive structural unemployment remains a key negative element. The government's failure to press the economic reforms needed to spur growth is largely the result of coalition politics and public resistance, particularly from the trade unions. Opponents fear reforms would cut jobs, wages, and social benefits. The government has a heavy back log of civil cases, many involving tenure land. The country is likely to experience only moderate growth without disciplined fiscal and structural reform.
Currency: kuna (HRK).
Industries: chemicals and plastics, machine tools, fabricated metal, electronics, pig iron and rolled steel products, aluminum, paper, wood products, construction materials, textiles, shipbuilding, petroleum and petroleum refining, food and beverages; tourism.
Country name: Republic of Croatia (local: Republika Hrvatska).
Government type: presidential/parliamentary democracy.
Independence: 25 June 1991 (from Yugoslavia). Constitution adopted on 22 December 1990; revised 2001.
Administrative divisions: 20 counties and 1 city.
Terrain: geographically diverse; flat plains along Hungarian border, low mountains and highlands near Adriatic coastline and islands.
Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes.
Total area: 56,542 km˛.
Coastline: 5,835 km (mainland 1,777 km, islands 4,058 km).
Highest point: Dinara 1,830 m.
Climate: Mediterranean and continental; continental climate predominant with hot summers and cold winters; mild winters, dry summers along coast.
Ports and harbors: Dubrovnik, Dugi Rat, Omisalj, Ploce, Pula, Rijeka, Sibenik, Split, Vukovar (inland waterway port on Danube), Zadar.
Croatia controls most land routes from Western Europe to Aegean Sea and Turkish Straits.
The lands that today comprise Croatia were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the close of World War I. In 1918, the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes formed a kingdom known after 1929 as Yugoslavia.
Following World War II, Yugoslavia became a federal independent Communist state under the strong hand of Marshal TITO. Although Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, it took four years of sporadic, but often bitter, fighting before occupying Serb armies were mostly cleared from Croatian lands. Under UN supervision, the last Serb-held enclave in eastern Slavonia was returned to Croatia in 1998.