NI Global Issues for Learners of English > Country profiles > Lithuania



Country profile




Area of country: 65,200 square kilometers

Information at a Glance


Population: 3.7 million
Lithuanian: 83%; Russian: 8%; Polish: 7%; Belarusian:2%; Ukrainian:1%; other minorities: Jewish, German, Latvian, Tartar.
Religions: Christian (80% Catholics)


Currency: Litas
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 spoken.

Income Distribution

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, potatoes, vegetables)
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.

Freedom & human rights

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

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Last modified 18 June 2000

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