Gradišće (Burgenland), memorial to Croatian mothers in Veliki Borištof (Großwarasdorf). Croatians as an ethnic group form part of the populations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Kosovo, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Romania and Italy.

Geography and population

Croats in neighbouring countries

As well as in the Republic of Croatia, Croatian nationals live as native residents of neighbouring and other geographically close countries.

The largest number (about 500,000 – 760,000 according to the 1991 census) live in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where they are indigenous, and along with Bosniacs and Serbs, form one of the country’s three constituent peoples. They form the majority in parts of northern, southwestern and central Bosnia, while western Herzegovina is one of the most homogenous Croatian regions anywhere outside Croatia.

The Humačka Ploča (Humac Tablet), one of the oldest (probably 12th century) written monuments in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is written in Croatian, using the Croatian Cyrillic script (Bosančica) and contains some Glagolitic letters. It is kept in the Franciscan monastery of Humac in Herzegovina.
Gradišće (Burgenland), memorial to Croatian mothers in Veliki Borištof. (Großwarasdorf)
Subotica, the demographic and cultural centre for Croats in Vojvodina and Serbia. In the early 20th century, Subotica had about the same number of citizens as today, and more Croats than Zagreb.

The second largest Croatian ethnic community is in the Serbian province of Vojvodina. Croats are particularly numerous in Subotica and the surrounding area, and in Sombor and Novi Sad. According to the population census of 2011, there were 58,000 Croatians living in Serbia, but since some inhabitants declared themselves to be members of a regional, subethnic group (for example Bunjevci or Šokci), the number of Croats may be as high as 100,000. In Montenegro, the Croatian ethnic community is centred in the Bay of Kotor. There are Croatian ethnic communities in the villages of Janjevo and Letnica. There are about 40,000 Croats living in Slovenia, mostly in the larger towns and along the border with Croatia.

In other countries close to Croatia, the best known Croatian community is in the Austrian Federal State of Burgenland (Gradišće, where about 50,000 Croats live). They are the descendants of 16th century Croatian émigrés. The Burgenland Croats were granted special rights by Austria in a state agreement in 1955. Croats in the neighbouring parts of Slovakia (4,000) and Hungary (50,000) belong to the same ethnic subgroup. In Hungary, Croats have settled along the Hungarian-Croatian border and in the towns of Pečuh, Mohač and Baja. In Italy there is a small Croatian enclave (3,000) in the province of Molisa, while there are 7,000 Croats inhabiting several villages in Banat. All these Croatian minorities are relics of larger communities, which have today to a great extent been assimilated, so that figures regarding the numbers of Croats and their descendants can only be approximated.