Demografiniai pokyčiai Lietuvoje 1944–1989 m. (statistinis aspektas)
Natural and mechanical population
Natural and mechanical population growth
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AbstractThe article addresses Lithuania’s demographic development in the period 1944–1989, identifies its factors (natural and mechanical population growth), their links, the changes in the ethnic composition of residents in the republic. It focuses on the statistical outcomes of the changes. The period in question is divided into three conditional stages: 1) 1944–1953 – the Stalinist era which witnessed very radical changes in the demographics of Lithuania as a result of Lithuania’s Sovietization (decrease in the total population of the republic, changes in ethnic composition, etc.); 2) 1953–1964 – the years of political thaw that brought liberalization to public life. In people’s daily life it manifested itself through fewer restrictions on mobility (release of political prisoners and deportees, resumed migration of certain ethic groups to the West, intensified internal migration in the republic, etc.); 3) 1964–1989 was the period that demonstrated the population changes predominantly driven by economic processes (population growth, changes in ethnic composition, etc.). During the Soviet era the demographic changes in Lithuania were for the most part influenced by natural and mechanical population growth. The former accounted for ⅔ of the total growth (the statistical expression is as follows: the population growth by 1.1 million people was due to natural growth; the growth by around 430,000 people was due to migration from other Soviet republics). However, their proportion changed during the Soviet period: the influence of mechanical growth on the Lithuanian population and its ethnic composition was especially significant during the first years after the war (until 1949) when approximately 180,000–190,000 individuals arrived from other places of the USSR and settled in Lithuania.
The changes in the population were largely the result of natural growth in the period 1949–1971; afterwards, mechanical growth, triggered by economic and social reforms, took the lead. Driven by political, economic and other objectives, the Soviet government permitted the migration of certain ethnic groups (Poles, Germans, Jews) to Poland, divided Germany or Israel. Such migrations contributed to the changes in Lithuania’s ethnic composition (the numbers of Poles, Germans, Jews reduced). Lithuania was the area drawing residents from other USSR regions, as it was a favoured destination among Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Poles, Jews, etc. While at the beginning of the Soviet era Lithuania was home to up to 20 more numerous (composed of more than 100 people) ethnic groups, as the Soviet era was coming to an end, there were around 40 of them.