25 / 2007
Damir Josipovič

Žumberk/Žumberak: boundary, ethnicity, religion, fertility and migration of population – demographical analysis

Slovene-Croatian bilateral project, which was conducted in years 2004 and 2005, enabled collection of various rare, less accessible archive (statistical, demographical), as well as fieldwork data (interviews). Besides previously collected data, those data provided the platform of the research and for this contribution. The latter focuses on selected aspects of demo-geographical development of population, including fertility and migration, and development of boundary. Žumberk as a peripheral and border as well as a trans-border region lies in a wider area called Kolpa region between Slovenia and Croatia. According to analysed material, results and synthesis respectively, it is possible to sum the findings into three groups up. (a) Spatial determination: Žumberk as political-geographic territorial unit is not completely within the Croatian state. According to the old land law of Carniola, Žumberk was a part of the Military Border of Carniola. (b) Changes in religious and ethnic structure in last 150 years: the basic demographical determinant of Žumberk is greek-catholic religious belief, which could be statistically traced as far as in mid 19th century. Despite of the intensive depopulation, the Greek-catholic population still represents spatially overwhelming part of Žumberk. In the last century, there has been major strengthening of proportion of Roman-Catholics, which is obviously keen to completely supplant greek-catholic faith. Ethnic structure seems to be relatively stable all the way from the first censuses. A strong majority of population declare themselves as Croats. As well as “traditionally” present Slovenes, there are also other groups as Serbs and Yugoslavs decades ago. Locals declared as Serbs formed in some parts of Žumberk even a majority in a couple of post-war censuses. Nowadays it is almost extinct. Since the local regional affiliation (Žumberchans) is merely measurable, the self-determination of population at censuses does not mirror the actual situation in Žumberk. (c) Population dynamics in last two decades: Žumberk is almost famous for its exodus-type emigration, which last already one of the half of century till the present. The fertility itself is not that low as in Slovenia and Croatia, despite of lowering under the simple reproduction level. A low proportion of women in fertile period give rise for concern today and in the future. Migration processes are marked especially by intensive emigration, relatively vivid internal moves, and sporadic immigration. Regional and developmental decline is stressed and in a negative recurrent snare.