Issues for Learners of English > Country profiles
Area of country: 65,200 square kilometers
Population: 3.7 million
Lithuanian: 83%; Russian: 8%; Polish: 7%; Belarusian:2%; Ukrainian:1%;
other minorities: Jewish, German, Latvian, Tartar.
Religions: Christian (80% Catholics)
GDP per capita: $2,280
Main industries: ship-building, metal-working, scientific instruments,
food processing. (40% of the workforce is in industry)
Energy: Lithuania also exports energy; most of this comes from
a nuclear plant of the same type as Chernobyl.
Traditionally, most of Lithuania's trade was through the USSR; now Lithuania
is trying to change to a market economy directed towards Western Europe.
External debt per capita: $118
Life expectancy: 70 years
Infant mortality: 13 per 1000
(No other statistics for health.)
Lithuania is rebuilding its economy, based on hard currency. The country
is moving towards greater self-reliance, and it is trying to move away
from the influence of Russia.
Literacy rate: 99%.
90% of children attend primary school; almost 80% attend secondary school;
almost 40% go to university.
Languages: official language: Lithuanian (from 1995); Russian also
Fair: people who could take advantage of the move to privitisation and
hard currency are in a better position.
In 1995, it was estimated that:
80% of Lithuanians were poor:
15% were middle class;
5% were wealthy.
Lithuania is made up of plains and hills, with a lot of rivers,
lakes and forests.
Farming: agriculture employs 30% of the workforce.
49% of Lithuania's land is used for growing crops (main crops = grain,
There is also a lot of livestock.
Problems: Since the 1980's, there has been increasing pollution,
especially bacteria in rivers & lakes. This has been linked to an
increase in infectious childhood diseases.
In March 1990, Lithuania declared its independence from the USSR. It
is now a democracy, a parliamentary republic.
Democratic reforms (that took place when Lithuania became independent)
have been successful.
Individual rights are guaranteed.
Position of women: Professional women and women workers are almost
equal with men.
Sources: The World Guide 1999-2000; The State of the World's
Children 1999; The European Review 1997; NI issue 311
© the New Internationalist 2000
Last modified 18 June 2000