Ethnic groups Total population Population %ethnic Lithuanians 2.561314 84.2Poles 200.317 6.6Russians 176.913 5.8Belarusians 36.27 1.2Ukrainians 16.423 0.5Jews 3.050 0.1 According to the censusTatars 2.793 0.09 conducted in 2011, aboutGermans 2.418 0.07 15.8% of LithuaniasRoma 2.115 0.07 population was composedLatvians 2.025 0.06 of ethnic minoritiesArmenians 1.233 0.04Azerbaijani 648 0.02Moldovans 540 0.01Georgian 372 0.01Estonian 314 0.01Karaims 241 0.008Other 3.508 0.1
LithuaniansAs we see Lithuanians are the majority of the population with around84.2 percent who like nature and have a strong feeling of a sharedculture that begins as early as primary school where folk music,national traditions and holidays play an important role. The pride insurviving a period of repression and difficulty is a focal point of thenational culture. Lithuanian is spoken by nearly everyone in thecountry except for a few Russiansand Poles in Vilnius and in theextreme east and south. It is alanguage with many words todescribe a single idea. There are alot of nature words, probablybecause the people are so fond ofthe outdoors. This is particularlyevident in traditional personalnames such as Rūta ("Rue"), Aušra ("Dawn"), and Giedrius ("Dew.)
PolesPoles come second, mostly concentrated in Southeast Lithuaniaincluding Vilnius.They are known for being direct communicators, i.e. they say whatthey are thinking. However, they are also very sensitive to other’sfeelings and let that determine how and what they say. Poles are funlovers who enjoy festivities, traditions and centuries-old Polishcustoms.
RussiansRussians are third with their liveliest communities in cities. Itcertainly is the most visible ethnic group. You can hear Russianmusic in certain bars and restaurants or see the Russian TVstations on. Russian people are hospitable, risk-taking andwarm-hearted.
Belarusians and UkrainiansThe fourth largest ethnicity in Lithuania are the Belarusians, thefifth are the Ukrainians. Together with the other ethnicities offormer Soviet Union these two are sometimes labeledRussophobes and are also concentrated primarily in the cities
Other traditional minorities in Lithuania are the Jews, Germans,Tatars, Latvians, Karaimsand Gypsies, each of them centuries-oldbut consisting of 0,1% or less population today.Both Tatars and Karaims have Turkic roots and their presence inLithuania dates to the 15th century when the Grand Duchy ofLithuania spanned from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Tatars’ andKaraims’ ancestors were brought to Lithuania by Grand DukeVytautas the Great to serve as soldiers. They settled around thecapital city Vilnius.
JewsJews began living in Lithuania as early as the 8th century. Once amighty Jewish urban community which made majority in sometowns of Lithuania was greatly hit by the Nazi Germany and itsHolocaust (1941-1945). The remaining Jews largely emigrated toIsrael, Palestine and South Africa.
LatviansLatvians, together with the Lithuanians, are the only nationsspeaking Baltic languages left in the world. Their relations aregenerally very good, and they call each other brothers. Perhapsbecause of their cultural similarity to Lithuanians the Latvians ofLithuania generally receive less public attention than othertraditional minorities of similar size.
Gypsies Gypsies (Romani people) make up only a small portion ofLithuanian population (2 500 people) but they are very visible.Family is of utmost importance and Gypsies have more childrenthan any other Lithuanias community. Unregistered teenagemarriages (14-16 year old girls) are common. Some childrenattend school yet others do not as education is not valued.
Inter-ethnic relations are generally good in Lithuania. Unlike inmany European nations the Lithuania’s largest ethnic minoritiesenjoy public schools where the language of instruction is theirnative one rather than the official Lithuanian language. Theirdifferent characteristics, manners, habits and ways of life fromthe majority are respected.