Introduction

One of the main development objectives of Lithuania is the reduction of social and economic disparities between and within its regions, maintenance of the individuality of each region, alongside the stimulation of an even development across the country. In the context of globalisation and informatisation, forsaken regions, which were not paid adequate attention, may become peripheries, whose residents will be faced with difficulties in responding to challenges and developing a harmonised, comfortable environment. Therefore, it is vital to know more about the regions of the country – their strengths and weaknesses, the current situation, and development possibilities. Such an objective is hardly achievable given the lack of regional statistics.

The Portrait of the Regions of Lithuania, which is published for the second time, provides a possibility to take a closer look at the regions of Lithuania – counties and municipalities, as well as to assess the main development indicators of Lithuania in a wider – European Union – context. The publication provides social, economic, environmental and other indicators of the regions, which are produced based on official statistics, and an analysis thereof, as well as a review of historical and geographical data. This publication will be of use to those who need precise and objective information. We hope that statistical information provided in the publication, which allows comparing the regions of Lithuania and their municipalities in many important aspects, will be useful when discussing their development alternatives and taking strategic decisions, planning the funds of the state and municipal budgets and assistance of European Union Structural Funds, as well as to investors panning on economic expansion, the locals, tourists and other people who would like to take a deeper look at the situation of the regions of Lithuania and their development trends.

The publication has been prepared by the specialists of the Department of Statistics to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania, with the assistance of the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Lithuania, the Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania and county governor’s administrations.

This time, readers are offered an electronic publication, available on CD-ROM and on the websites of the institutions which have prepared it. We hope that it will be useful, and you will find there the needed statistical information about Lithuania and its regions.

Algirdas Gediminas Šemeta, Director General of  Statistics Lithuania