Croatia has over 718 islands in the region of the Adriatic Sea. Only 47 Islands have people living on them. Whereas some islands have experienced population decline, other islands have recorded an increase in the number of inhabitants. This article highlights the most populous islands of Croatia.
The Five Most Populous Islands
Krk Island is a large island, located in the northern Adriatic Sea near Rijeka in the Kvarner bay. The island is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Krk Island is a famous tourist destination due to its proximity to the mainland and closeness to countries like Slovakia, Austria, Germany, and Northern Italy. Population growth has also been enhanced by the availability of modern amenities and vibrant economic activities. Covering 405.78 square kilometers, the island has a population of 19,383 people according to 2011 census. The highest point is called Obzova at 568 meters. Krk has a population density of 47.8 people per square kilometers.
Korčula, located in the Adriatic Sea, covers an area of 276.03 square kilometers. The island, which lies off the Dalmatian Coast has 15,522 occupants according to 2011 census. The population density is 66.2 people per square kilometer. The majority of the islanders are ethnic Croats. The highest point is Klupca at 569 meters. The rapid increase in population has been attributed to efficient and effective transport services of a regular ferry from the main island. Movement within the island is possible through the numerous buses and smooth road network.
Brač Island, the third largest island, is located in the Adriatic Sea. Famous for the Zlatni Rat white pebble beach, limestone quarry, and favorable windsurfing site, the island covers 394 square kilometers. The 13,956 residents engage in activities such as fishing, agriculture, and tourism. The activities had seen a steady increase in population after the depopulation encountered in the 20th century. The highest point is Vidor agora at 780 meters above the sea level. The population density is 35.4 persons per square kilometers.
Hvar is the fourth largest island in Croatia. The island is characterized by fertile coastal plains, spring flowing with fresh water, and vibrant agricultural activities. Hvar has 11,077 residents who get their livelihoods from the 299.66 square kilometers. Population growth on the island has been boosted by the location of the island which makes it the center for commanding trade down and up the Adriatic and across to Italy. Tourism sector continues growing, attracting more investors to the island. Infrastructural development is also instrumental in making the island populous. The highest elevation is Sv. Nikola at 628 meters.
Rab is an island on the Adriatic Sea with 9,328 residents, making it the fifth most populous island in Croatia. Occupying an area of 90.84 square kilometers, the island has a population density of 102.7 people per square kilometer. The highest point is Kamenjak at 410 meters. Population growth has been contributed by tourism. The Rab Medieval Festival attracts many visitors whenever it is held.
Factors Contributing to Population Growth in the Islands
Despite negative net migration experienced in the past, most of the islands have recorded population growth. The islands with urban settlements have attracted a pool of people seeking jobs. The government has invested in infrastructure in some Islands making settlement easier. Other economic activities such as tourism, agriculture, fishing, and quarries have made the Islands attractive to settle. The war between Bosnia and Croatia (1991-1995) led to many immigrants finding exile in the Croatian Islands.