Tripartite Nation – Bosniaks, Muslims, and Croats-Muslims in Croatia in the 2001 and 2011 Censuses

Nenad Pokos, Zlatko Hasanbegović


Already the first census after World War II in Croatia revealed the statistical phenomenon of national schism which applies to different declarations of nationality of Muslims of the same ethnicity (Croats-Muslims / undeclared Muslims). This phenomenon could not be observed in the period of former Yugoslavia because, at the time, the religious structure of the population was not part of the census. The problem reoccurred in the 2001 and 2011 censuses after Croatia had become independent, when three terms were used: Bosniaks, Muslims, Croats-Muslims. The article explains the census and national political background of this phenomenon, and on the basis of both published and unpublished sources analyses the demographic characteristics of each of the three groups in the population of generally the same ethnic origin, but differently declared ethnicity. Comparative analysis of changes in the declaration of nationality and the demographic characteristics between the two censuses in 2001 and 2011 indicates the gradual transformation of the "tripartite" (Bosniaks / Muslims / Croats-Muslims) into a dual national declaration (Bosniaks / Croats-Muslims), whose perspectives and demographic characteristics depend on census methodology, integration/assimilation processes in the society and the future demographic, migratory and political situation in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is hard to predict.


Muslims; Bosniaks; Croats-Muslims; nationality declaration; census

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096