About Lithuania [ Country ]

Here we've distilled information and facts from various sources about the location, size, population, geography, transport, climate, economy, history, government, law, and so on, of Lithuania; into a view that makes sense for a traveller to, or within, this country.

Location

Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Latvia and Russia

Climate

Transitional, between maritime and continental; wet, moderate winters and summers

Terrain

Lowland, many scattered small lakes, fertile soil

Elevation

lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Aukstojas 294 m

Geo Notes

Fertile central plains are separated by hilly uplands that are ancient glacial deposits

Approved Official Names

conventional long form: Republic of Lithuania
conventional short form: Lithuania
local long form: Lietuvos Respublika
local short form: Lietuva
former: Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic

Capital City

name: Vilnius
geographic coordinates: 54 41 N, 25 19 E
time difference: UTC+2
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative Divisions

10 counties (apskritys, singular - apskritis); Alytaus, Kauno, Klaipedos, Marijampoles, Panevezio, Siauliu, Taurages, Telsiu, Utenos, Vilniaus

Natuaral Hazards

NA

Environmental Issues

Contamination of soil and groundwater with petroleum products and chemicals at military bases

Infectious Diseases

degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne diseases: tickborne encephalitis (2009)

Life Expectancy

total population: 75.12 years
male: 70.23 years
female: 80.29 years (2010 est.)

Sex Ratio

at birth: 1.057 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.53 male(s)/female
total population: 0.89 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Languages Spoken

Lithuanian (official) 82%, Russian 8%, Polish 5.6%, other and unspecified 4.4% (2001 census)

Religions Practiced

Roman Catholic 79%, Russian Orthodox 4.1%, Protestant (including Lutheran and Evangelical Christian Baptist) 1.9%, other or unspecified 5.5%, none 9.5% (2001 census)

Legal System

Based on civil law system; legislative acts can be appealed to the constitutional court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National Holiday

Independence Day, 16 February (1918); note - 16 February 1918 was the date Lithuania declared its independence from Soviet Russia and established its statehood; 11 March 1990 was the date it declared its independence from the Soviet Union

Illicit Drugs

Transshipment and destination point for cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, and opiates from Southwest Asia, Latin America, Western Europe, and neighboring Baltic countries; growing production of high-quality amphetamines, but limited production of cannabis, methamphetamines; susceptible to money laundering despite changes to banking legislation

Telephone System

general assessment: adequate; being modernized to provide improved international capability and better residential access
domestic: rapid expansion of mobile-cellular services has resulted in a steady decline in the number of fixed-line connections; mobile-cellular teledensity stands at about 140 per 100 persons
international: country code - 370; major international connections to Denmark, Sweden, and Norway by submarine cable for further transmission by satellite; landline connections to Latvia and Poland (2008)

Broadcast Media

Public broadcaster operates 3 channels with the third channel - a satellite channel - introduced in 2007; various privately-owned commercial TV broadcasters operate national and multiple regional channels; large number of privately-owned local TV stations; multi-channel cable and satellite TV services are available; publicly-owned broadcaster operates 3 radio networks; large number of privately-owned commercial broadcasters, many with repeater stations in various regions throughout the country (2007)

Background

Lithuanian lands were united under MINDAUGAS in 1236; over the next century, through alliances and conquest, Lithuania extended its territory to include most of present-day Belarus and Ukraine. By the end of the 14th century Lithuania was the largest state in Europe. An alliance with Poland in 1386 led the two countries into a union through the person of a common ruler. In 1569, Lithuania and Poland formally united into a single dual state, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This entity survived until 1795 when its remnants were partitioned by surrounding countries. Lithuania regained its independence following World War I but was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. On 11 March 1990, Lithuania became the first of the Soviet republics to declare its independence, but Moscow did not recognize this proclamation until September of 1991 (following the abortive coup in Moscow). The last Russian troops withdrew in 1993. Lithuania subsequently restructured its economy for integration into Western European institutions; it joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.

Economy Overview

Lithuania gained membership in the World Trade Organization and joined the EU in May 2004. Despite Lithuania's EU accession, Lithuania's trade with its Central and Eastern European neighbors, and Russia in particular, accounts for a growing percentage of total trade. Privatization of the large, state-owned utilities is nearly complete. Foreign government and business support have helped in the transition from the old command economy to a market economy. Lithuania's economy grew on average 8% per year for the four years prior to 2008 driven by exports and domestic demand. However, GDP plunged 15% in 2009 - the three former Soviet Baltic republics had the world's worst economic declines last year. The current account deficit rose to roughly 15% of GDP in 2007-08, but fell sharply in 2009 in the wake of a cutback in imports to almost half the 2008 level. Unemployment reached 13.7% in 2009, up from 5.8% in 2008. In 2009 the government launched a high-profile campaign, led by Prime Minister KUBILIUS, to attract foreign investment and to develop export markets.

National Anthem

name: "Tautiska giesme" (The National Song)
lyrics/music: Vincas KUDIRKA
note: adopted 1918, restored 1990; the anthem was written in 1898 while Lithuania was a part of Russia; it was banned during the Soviet occupation from 1940 to 1990

Lithuania location map
Size

total: 65,300 sq km
land: 62,680 sq km
water: 2,620 sq km

Lithuania flag
Population

3,545,319 (July 2010 est.)

Nationality

noun: Lithuanian(s)
adjective: Lithuanian

Ethnic Groups

Lithuanian 84%, Polish 6.1%, Russian 4.9%, Belarusian 1.1%, other or unspecified 3.9% (2009)

HIV/AIDS Rate

0.1% (2007 est.)

Independence Date

11 March 1990 (declared); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union)

Government Type

Parliamentary democracy

Voting Rights

18 years of age; universal

Internet Users

1.777 million (2008)

Internet Hosts

1.17 million (2010)

Internet Country Code

.lt

Number Airports

81 (2010)

Number Paved Airports

total: 26
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 13 (2010)

Railways

total: 1,768 km
broad gauge: 1,746 km 1.524-m gauge (122 km electrified)
standard gauge: 22 km 1.435-m gauge (2009)

Roadways

total: 81,030 km
paved: 71,563 km (includes 309 km of expressways)
unpaved: 9,467 km (2008)

Inland Waterways

441 km (2007)

Ports & Terminals

Butinge, Klaipeda

National Budget

revenues: $12.88 billion
expenditures: $16.31 billion (2009 est.)

Account Balance

$1.492 billion (2009 est.)
-$5.627 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange Rates

litai (LTL) per US dollar - 2.5337 (2009), 2.3251 (2008), 2.5362 (2007), 2.7498 (2006), 2.774 (2005)

Inflation Rate

4.5% (2009 est.)
10.9% (2008 est.)

Main Industries

Metal-cutting machine tools, electric motors, television sets, refrigerators and freezers, petroleum refining, shipbuilding (small ships), furniture making, textiles, food processing, fertilizers, agricultural machinery, optical equipment, electronic components, computers, amber jewelry

Agricultural Products

Grain, potatoes, sugar beets, flax, vegetables; beef, milk, eggs; fish

Labor Force

1.641 million (2009 est.)

Main Occupations

agriculture: 14%
industry: 29.1%
services: 56.9% (2005)

Unemployment Rate

13.7% (2009 est.)
5.8% (2008 est.)

GDP (USD Parity)

$55.17 billion (2009 est.)
$64.75 billion (2008 est.)
$62.98 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP Per Capita

$15,500 (2009 est.)
$18,200 (2008 est.)
$17,600 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

Family Income Percent

lowest 10%: 2.7%
highest 10%: 27.4% (2004)

Family Income Gini

36 (2005)
34 (1999)

Below Poverty

4% (2003)