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People, Language & Religion


Croatia is inhabited mostly by Croats (89.6%), while minority groups include Serbs (4.5%), Bosniaks, Hungarians, Italians, Slovenes, Germans, Czechs, Romani people and others (5.9%).


Serbo-Croatian is the native language and is used by 96% of the populace. Since 1991, Croats have insisted that their tongue (now called Croat) is distinctive. The spoken language is basically the same, but Serbs use the Cyrillic alphabet and Croats the Roman alphabet. The Croatian alphabet has the special consonants c, c ´, š, z, dj, dz, and nj, representing sounds provided by the Cyrillic alphabet. The remaining 4% of the population speak various other languages, including Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak and German.


The Republic of Croatia declared its independence of the former Yugoslav federated republic in June of 1991. Christianity was introduced into the area in the 7th century. Under the Yugoslav Socialist Republic, churches – Roman Catholic in particular – experienced repression by the state. This moderated in 1966, when an agreement with the Vatican recognised a religious role for the clergy. Though there is no official state religion, the Roman Catholic Church seems to receive preferential treatment in terms of state support.

The latest estimates (2002) recorded a Roman Catholic population of 85%, with 6% Orthodox Christians and 1% Muslims. Less than 1% were Jewish and about 4% belong to other faiths, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Jehovah's Witnesses, Greek Catholic, Pentecostals, Hare Krishnas, Baptists, Seventh-Day Adventists, and the Church of Christ. About 2% of the population are atheists. The Orthodox can be found in Serb areas; other minority religions can be found mostly in urban areas. No formal restrictions are placed on religious groups, and all are free to conduct public services and run social and charitable institutions.





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