Language Education Policy Profile



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1.7 The Special Case of Vilnius


On all of the measures so far considered, there are considerable differences between the capital city, Vilnius, and the rest of Lithuania. As already noted, the ethnic composition of Vilnius municipality (pop. 553,904) shows a larger concentration on minorities than the rest of Lithuania. This is shown in Table 13.

Table 13: Ethnic Groups in Lithuania (excluding Vilnius) and in Vilnius Municipality 2001

Ethnic Group



Lithuania (excl. Vilnius)

Vilnius Municipality

%

%

Lithuanian

88.4

57.4

Russian

4.8

14.0

Polish

4.4

18.9

Belarussian

0.7

4.1

Other

1.6

5.5

Source: Lithuanian Statistics Department. Special tabulations

This is reflected in the percentages of all minorities in the Vilnius population, but particularly in the case of Russians and Poles. Whereas these two minorities constitute only 9.2% of the population outside the capital, in Vilnius they make up one third of the population.

Obviously, these differences in ethnic composition are reflected in the language statistics as well. In Table 14, comparative figures are given for the percentages who claim selected languages as native or mother tongues.
Table 14: Native languages spoken in Lithuania (excluding Vilnius) and in Vilnius Municipality by Ethnic Group


Ethnic group



Native/ mother tongue

Lithuanian

Russian

Polish

Belarus

Other

%

%

%

%

%

Lithuania (Excluding Vilnius)

0.1







Lithuanian

97.0

0.2

0.0

2.7

Russian

8.5

87.1

0.1

0.0

4.2

Poles

8.2

6.6

83.6

0.5

1.1

Belarussian

5.5

47.5

5.0

38.6

3.5

Ukrainian

7.4

46.9

0.3

0.1

45.3*

Other

17.8

15.6

0.5

0.1

66.0


















Vilnius Municipality Only










Lithuanian

93.8

1.1

0.3

0.0

0.0

Russian

2.4

93.0

0.2

0.0

0.1

Poles

6.3

13.2

75.4

0.4

0.0

Belarussian

2.3

56.5

6.6

30.0

0.0

Ukrainian

3.0

63.1

0.6

0.0

27.1**

Other

12.3

46.3

1.1

0.2

31.7
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