Croats - Economy



Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Somewhat less than half of the population of Croatia is economically active (working outside the home). About 45 percent of the active population is employed in the service sector, 35 percent in industry and 20 percent in agriculture. Eighty-five percent of the agricultural activity is on small peasant farms and 15 percent on state farms. Until 1990, peasant farms were limited by law to 15 hectares (of cultivable surface) and therefore, although it is widely mechanized, agricultural production is not very profitable. The predominant agricultural products are maize, wheat, milk, and meat. The production of wine and fruits is also important, while production of industrial plants (flax, hemp, sunflowers, etc.) is less significant. Almost all agricultural products are used by the domestic population; only a small part of the produce (meat, maize, tobacco, and wine) is exported.

Industrial Arts. The dominant industries are shipbuilding, textiles, and food processing. Less important are the chemical and timber industries. The industrial sector of the Croatian economy creates 50 percent of the gross national product (GNP) while employing one-third of the working population. In the 1960s and 1970s big industrial enterprises were developed in Croatia, while in the 1980s smaller ones, especially in electronics, metalworking, and plastics, also emerged there. The problems faced by industry are insufficient energy (most oil is imported), and the need to import chemical products, raw materials, and industrial machinery.

Trade. About 10 percent of the Croatian working population employed in trade creates about 17 percent of the Croatian GNP. Large state enterprises (stores, supermarkets, specialized shops) dominate this sector. Recently, small specialized private shops (fruit and vegetable stores, stores for other food products and textiles) have been emerging.

Division of Labor. Traditionally, women were assigned domestic tasks (cleaning, cooking, tending babies, etc.) but also shared some agricultural tasks, which otherwise were dominated by men. Today, women are still occupied by household and family work, but women also comprise one-third of the work force. They are most frequently employed in education and medicine, where they outnumber men, and also in tourism and trade.


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