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Hands up if you're Lithuanian

  • 2007-08-16
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - Lithuania's state institutions do not know how many residents there are in the country, it has been revealed, with different bodies giving significantly differing estimates of the population.

There are two offices subordinate to the Interior Ministry of Lithuania - the Migration Department and the Residents' Register Service.

The names of the departments may give the impression that they keep track of population levels and how many passports have been issued, but this is not in fact the case, reports the Lietuvos Zinios newspaper.

The Head of the Passport Division of the Migration Department,Danute Matareviciene,told the paper that she had no statistics on how many passports have been issued. The Residents' Register Service drew a balnk when asked as well.

The closest thing to an official figure can be found at the Department of Statistics.

During the second quarter of 2007, 3,338,000 residents were registered in Lithuania, but only 3,162,879 have citizenship.

Further confusion is created by data on official and unofficial emigration levels. Officially the number who left the country between 2003-2006 was 54,400. Unofficially the department puts the figure at 76,700, though other institutions suggest the number is actually as high as 500,000.

Given the large number of Lithuanians working in other parts of Europe, and particularly the UK and Eire, this last figure seems far more realistic.