Social conditions have improved significantly
since the difficult years of the early 1990s. Fewer
Lithuanians are poor and public health has improved. Yet
around a third of the population is still at risk of
falling into poverty or social exclusion following a new
Poverty is especially widespread in the countryside
and the income gaps between the city and the countryside
are large. There is a wealthy business elite in Vilnius
and other major cities, while most Lithuanians work for
low wages. The poor pensioners belong to the poorest
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Lithuania, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Lithuanian society is one of the most unequal in the
EU. In 2014, more than a quarter of the population lived
in relative poverty, ie earned 60 percent of the
country's median salary or less. It is one of the
highest proportions in the EU.
The social situation worsened during the financial
crisis of 2008–2009, when many people were forced to
live on food aid paid for by EU grants or by aid
organizations. Pensions and salaried employees' salaries
were sharply reduced in connection with budget cuts
during the crisis years, while many lost their jobs, not
least in the public sector.
Weak social protection networks
During the Soviet era (1944–1991), all citizens were
guaranteed the emergency of life, and Lithuania was one
of the most economically successful Soviet republics.
The transition to market economy in the 1990s created a
new middle class, but at the same time deteriorated the
living conditions of large groups, especially rural
residents and pensioners. Unemployment arose and at the
same time the social protection networks weakened. In
1994, an average family was forced to spend 60 percent
of the household budget on food.
Public health deteriorated and life expectancy
declined during the 1990s. In 1993, the average life
expectancy for men was down for 63 years, partly as a
result of extensive alcohol consumption. Violence
against women is a widespread problem, and domestic
violence was first criminalized in 2011. The suicide
rate is high.
Health care also deteriorated during the transition
in the 1990s, when primary care was expanded. Nowadays,
care is relatively well developed, but the financial
resources are scarce and the wages of care workers are
low. It is common for patients to pay gratitude gifts /
bribes to doctors for faster and better care.
The social insurance system offers a number of
benefits, including old-age pension, health insurance,
parental benefit and unemployment benefits. However, the
compensation is low. Some of them were lowered during
the crisis years 2009-2010, but the decision makers have
subsequently tried to restore pensions and unemployment
benefits to the levels that prevailed before the crisis.
Parliament decided in 2011 to gradually increase the
retirement age from 62.5 years for men and 60 years for
women to 65 years for all 2026. The fact that
Lithuania's population is shrinking (see Population and
Languages) is, in the long run, a huge challenge for
welfare systems, as fewer and fewer people must pay for
an increasing proportion of the elderly in the
Family and community life
Despite a history as a Grand Principality with a
class of nobility, today's Lithuanian society is not so
hierarchical, but quite bureaucratic. There is a deep
distrust of government, a contempt for politicians who
have contributed to political populism. The difficult
economic conditions have promoted corruption, which is
also a legacy of the Soviet era.
The Lithuanians made the strongest resistance to the
Soviet system, and the Lithuanian communist leaders
slowed down on Russianization and Sovietization more
than the other Baltics. Still, some old Soviet attitudes
in social life and state bureaucracy can be met today.
This mainly concerns an older generation of business
leaders and officials, while younger Lithuanians have
developed a more dynamic style with Scandinavian
The family has traditionally been at the heart of the
social structure, and in many places loyalty to the
family is still strong today and the obligations to
family members are many. It is not uncommon for three
generations to live together and for the children to be
supervised by grandparents.
Traditionally, the Catholic faith has also formed a
basis in social life. Although the role of religion has
weakened in recent years, a new law came into force in
2010 which states that it is harmful to promote a
different view of the family than the constitution, that
is, marriage can only be entered into between a man and
a woman. Among younger residents, the view of the family
has been liberalized, marriages are decreasing in
number, divorces are common and the single mothers are
The situation of women, LGBT people and children
Men and women have the same legal rights. Gender
discrimination is prohibited by law but still occurs in
both private and working life, with lower wages and less
influence for women compared to men. In 2013, men earned
12.5 percent more than women despite performing similar
tasks. The prevalence of sexual harassment in working
life is reported to be high. In the low-wage occupation,
for example, health care, women dominate.
Discrimination due to sexual orientation or ethnicity
occurs, as does anti-Semitism. Roma are said to be a
particularly vulnerable group, which, compared to the
average of the population, has difficulty accessing
education and the labor market.
Marriage or partnership between people of the same
sex is not allowed. Vilnius city has repeatedly banned
pride festivals, and homophobia is relatively common in
Lithuania. In 2009, a law was passed that prohibits the
dissemination of information on bi- and homosexuality.
Even the children's situation can be difficult with,
for example, bullying in schools and domestic violence.
In February 2017, children's leg was banned. The law had
been debated for a long time but decisive because it was
now adopted was the upset that a four-year-old boy had
been beaten to death by his mother and her boyfriend.
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
3 per 1000 births (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
97.4 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
93.4 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
6.5 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
US $ 988 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
21 percent (2018)
New government takes office
Andrius Kubilius, leader of the Confederation of the Federation, will take
over as prime minister for a coalition government consisting of the
Confederation of the Confederation, the National Resurrection Party and two
small liberal parties. The government has a majority in parliament (81 of 141
seats). It begins its term of office with severe financial tightening to curb
the negative consequences of the financial crisis that erupted during the autumn
(see Economic overview).
Conservative rolling victor
The Conservative Confederation wins the first round of
parliamentary elections before the newly formed populist Party for
National Resurrection and the ousted President Rolanda Paksa's Party
Order and Justice. The election will be a great loss for the
ruling Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP),
which in the second round, however, wins in a series of one-man constituencies.
Invalid nuclear vote
At the same time as the parliamentary election, an advisory referendum is
held to postpone the closure of the Ignalina nuclear power plant, which is
planned for 2009. The result will be a resounding yes, but the turnout is too
low for it to be valid (below 50 percent).