The first Lithuanian census (without the territory of Memel) was carried out on August 17, 1923 and counted 2,028,971 people; 141,645 people were counted in the Memel Territory on 20 January 1925. Lithuania now has (1 January 1933) 2,421,777 residents, equal to a density of 44.2 residents. per sq. km., which is slightly higher than that of Sardinia. Both Latvia (28.8) and Estonia (23.3) have significantly lower densities, while Lithuania is rather close to Spain and Ireland.
Between 1897 and 1910 the annual increase in the population was about 16-18 thousand people; in large part, however, it was lost because there was an average emigration of 15,000 people every year. In fact, around 1 million Lithuanians live outside the state. Not counting those who inhabit the disputed territory of Vilna (which in Lithuanian statistics are 250,000), Lithuanians live to a small extent in East Prussia (80-90,000), Latvia (25,000), the USSR (41,000), in higher number instead in the United States. The first Lithuanians arrived in America as early as 1668, but the main groups are those who arrived after serfdom was abolished in 1861. They had great importance for keeping their Lithuanian nationality tenaciously abroad, for having effectively intervened in the discussions at the time of the conclusion of the peace and above all for the huge remittances of money sent annually to their homeland. The Lithuanians of the United States reside for the most part within a triangle whose vertex is Boston, Baltimore and Chicago; the latter city has 100,000 Lithuanians and 650,000 Lithuanians live in the defined area. Emigration was also notable in the post-war period, preferably directed towards Canada and Argentina, to which Brazil and South Africa have also been added in recent years. On average, 12,000 people left each year in the five-year period 1926-30 (with a maximum of 18,086 in 1927), but then the movement slowed down considerably (1756 people in 1931 and 1001 in 1932). The considerable changes depend largely on the more or less favorable harvests.
Regarding the movement of the population, Lithuania differs greatly from Latvia and above all from Estonia in a higher birth rate (1921-1925: 27.7 per thousand; 1927: 29.4; 1929: 27.2; 1932: 27.3), which, taking into account the not too strong mortality (respectively 16.2 per thousand; 17.3; 17.1; 15.3) leads to a fairly high increase (11.3 per thousand; 14.1; 10, 1; 12.0), equal to about 27 thousand people every year. Among the different populations, the Russians and the Lithuanians grow considerably, while the Jews and the Germans scarcely.
From an ethnic-linguistic point of view, Lithuania is a fairly homogeneous state being 80.6% made up of Lithuanians. A distinctive feature, given the mix of different ethnic types, is the use of Lithuanian (see below). The usually slender build, with limited tendency to fatness, the face and the elongated skull, the blue eyes, the blond hair are in fact only of little importance. The largest minority is that of the Jews (also called Litvacchi), 7.1% of the population.
These live preferably in cities (36.7% in Ukmergė; 35.8 in Panevežys; 27 in Kaunas and 25 in Šiauliai) and appear to be remarkably Russified. They come partly from southern Russia (whence they have brought some distinctive character, due to relations with Mongolian peoples), partly from the West (especially from Germany). The latter are responsible for the use of the spoken language common to both, Yiddish, as well as the long caftan, which perhaps still reflects the German dress of the Middle Ages. They are generally dedicated to small businesses and crafts (tailors, shoemakers, blacksmiths, bakers). For Lithuania 1997, please check aristmarketing.com.
Third in number are the Germans (4.1%), who make up about half the population of the Territory of Memel (according to the 1925 census in the Territory, 43.5% of the population has German nationality), the other Germans are in the districts bordering East Prussia (Vilkaviškis, 10.3%) and in cities. Unlike in Latvia they have never been of great importance and constitute a minority of recent origin. Not so must be said of the Poles (2.4%), who were linked with the Lithuanians for three and a half centuries by political ties, first in a common state, and then in the dependence of Russia. In the pre-war period they represented a large part of the urban population and were mainly small owners; in part they have now emigrated to their national territory, in part they declared that they speak Lithuanian as they are actually bilingual, and finally in small numbers they live near the border with Poland (Trakai district 12.1%; Kaunas 10.3). Leaving aside a few Latvians (0.7%), who live in the northern districts (Mažeikiai 4.2%), only the Russians remain (2.4%), who were employed, military and even peasants in the pre-war period., recently settled in properties sold by Polish nobles; to a small extent they also inhabit the districts of NE. (with maximum percentages in that of Zarasai, 14.6%), territorially contiguous to the Russian speaking areas.
It is estimated that about one third of the population over the age of 10 can neither read nor write (44% in 1923, within the then boundaries, ie excluding the Territory of Meme “. Illiteracy is the highest among the Russians, and in the districts of SE., lowest among Latvians, and is rapidly decreasing with the increase in the number of pupils in primary schools (from 45,540 in 1919 to 257,890 in 1933) and with the introduction in 1930 of compulsory teaching.
As for occupations, agriculture is by far the most prevalent. Taking into account that about two thirds of the population is considered active, 76.7 of this is dedicated to working in the fields, 6.4 to industry, 3.6 to trade, while 3.2 is employed in the professions liberal or it depends on the state. In the pre-war period agriculture was almost the only occupation of the Lithuanians, as the administration was ruled by the Russians, the trade carried out by Jews. Agriculture is also currently the profession that by far prevails among Lithuanians (85%), as well as among Latvians (81%) and Russians (78%), while for Germans field work (58%)) is accompanied by industry (17%) and trade (6%). The latter constitutes the main activity of the Jews, who also find employment in the industry (especially crafts), while they shy away from agriculture (only 6%). Another difference is noted in regards to the settlement. The Jews live preferably in cities with more than 2000 residents (63.5%) and in villages, the Germans in the countryside and in the cities (34.7%), while the Lithuanian and Slavic populations are mostly agricultural (respectively 83.3 and 82% in localities of less than 200 residents).