The Lithuania prime minister bemoaned his shrinking population Monday, as the results of a census revealed it has fallen 10 percent in the past decade.
"Unfortunately, we must admit that Lithuania is not only an emigrating nation but also a nation that is dying out," Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said.
Lithuania's statistics agency said the population is now 3.05 million, down from over 3.4 million in 2001. Twenty years ago, when the country split from the Soviet Union, the country had 3.7 million people.
Results of the census _ conducted from March to May _ confirmed that rapid emigration and a falling birth rate continue to erode the country's demographics despite membership in the European Union and improvements to the quality of life over the past 10 years.
Large communities of Lithuanians have sprouted in places such as Ireland and England during this time.
"We have lost 700,000 (people) in 20 years _ this is a lot for such a small nation," said Romas Lazutka, a sociology professor at Vilnius University.
"The main driving force behind emigration is outdated economic and social policies. Those who do not have a job or cannot make ends meet, even while working, leave this country," he said.
Lithuania joined the EU in 2004. The country is recovering from its worst economic crisis on record. In 2009 gross domestic product fell 14.8 percent.
Full census data is expected later this year.