Slovenia from 1991 Until Today

What has changed in Slovenia in recent years?

At the Statehood Day, 25 June, we prepared a slightly longer release presenting some statistical data on Slovenia. 

  • 22 June 2020 at 10:30
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25 June is the Statehood Day in Slovenia. In the years since it became independent, Slovenia has been facing many problems. The general situation in the economy and the society was marked by three milestones. Right at the beginning, Slovenia had to tackle great economic problems caused by the loss of the Yugoslav market. In 2008 and in the next few years, Slovenia suffered the great economic crisis, but it, too, was successfully overcome. And in the spring of 2020 the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, which left its mark on the life in Slovenia.
So, what has been happening in Slovenia recently? 

More men than women 

On 1 January 2020 Slovenia had a population of 2,095,861 (1,051,066 men and 1,044,795 women) or 15,000 more than a year earlier. For the first time in 160 years – which is the period for which relia-ble data on the population of present-day Slovenia had been available – in mid-2019 the male to female ratio turned in favour of men. 

Such gender ratio is mostly the result of stronger immigration, since men greatly outnumber women among immigrants. In addition to Slovenia, in the EU-28 men outnumbered women only in Sweden, Malta and Luxembourg. 

Looking at the past 25 years, we can see that Slovenia's population has been increasing since 1999. By 2005 it was growing only due to immigration, between 2006 and 2016 Slovenia had a natural increase (i.e. births outnumbered deaths), whereas in 2017 and 2018 natural decrease was again registered, meaning that the population was again increasing only due to immigration. Natural decrease was again recorded in 2019; according to provisional data it was –1,346; i.e. 1,346 more residents died than were born. 

Slovenia's population is ageing

At the beginning of 2019, residents of Slovenia were on average 43.4 years old. In the past ten years the mean age increased by two years and in the past twenty years by five years. We are living longer. Men who died in 2018 were on average 74 years old, while a boy born in the same year can expect to live just over 78 years. Women who died in 2018 were on average almost 82 years old, while life expectancy for girls born in the same year is almost 84 years. 

One in a five residents of Slovenia is at least 65 years old. The age structure of Slovenia’s population is expected to change significantly in the next decades. In 2055 almost a third of the population is expected to be 65+ years old and the situation is expected to be the same at the end of the century. Perhaps another interesting fact: at the beginning of 2020, Slovenia had 252 centenarians. In 2100 the expected number is about 5,400.


In 1991 and in the first years of independence Slovenia was faced with the loss of the Yugoslav market, the introduction of the market economy and high inflation. In 1991 inflation was almost 250% and it did not fall below 10% until 1995. In 2015 Slovenia recorded a deflation (–0.5%), while in 2018 inflation stood at 1.4%. 

In May 2020 the annual deflation was at –1.2%. The largest downward impact on the annual inflation (1.4 percentage points) came from lower prices of petroleum products. In April 2020 the largest monthly drop in petrol and diesel prices in this millennium was recorded. Petrol prices were 19% lower and diesel prices 16% lower. The second largest drop in the prices of these fuels was recorded in November 2008. 

Real gross domestic product (BDP) dropped by 8.9% in 1991 and by another 5.5% in 1992. After a longer relatively calm period of growth, Slovenia’s economy again experienced more turbulent years. The global economic and financial crisis devastated all its sectors. In 2009 GDP dropped by 7.8%. After a brief upward movement in 2010 and 2011 it again declined in 2012 and 2013. The economic crisis exposed a strong interdependence of economic sectors, since enterprises, banks, general government, and public finance were all affected. By the spring of 2020 Slovenia’s economy recovered with annual growth rates mainly between 3% and 5%. The large integration of the Slovenian economy in foreign markets was even more pronounced than before. In the first quarter of 2020, GDP was 2.3% lower than in the same period a year before. In the first quarter of 2020, at the end of which the COVID-19 epidemic broke out, foreign and domestic demand declined. Domestic demand had a larger impact on GDP decline. 

As regards GDP per capita, in 2019 Slovenia was 16th in the EU-28. GDP per capita was the highest in Luxembourg (EUR 83,640) and the lowest in Bulgaria (EUR 6,800). 


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Exports and imports

In all the years since 1991, Germany has been the most important Slovenia's trading partner. As regards other EU Member States, trading increased the most with Austria. As regards EU non-member countries, Slovenia exported most goods to countries established on the territory of former Yugoslavia. After 1991 Slovenia’s exports to the Russian Federation increased, more significantly after the onset of the economic and financial crisis in 2008. Imports from China increased significantly; in 1992 they represented 0.3% and in 2018 3.3% of total Slovenia’s imports. 

The COVID-19 epidemic, which hit Slovenia in early 2020, had and will continue to have an important impact on almost all segments of the society and economy. In the first quarter of 2020, it did not have an impact on foreign economic relations. In April 2020 much lower trading of goods was recorded both on the export and import side. This is particularly true of trading with EU Member States; in April 2020 exports were 41.4% and imports even more (45.4%) lower than in April 2019. 

Labour market

Changes in the economy reflect directly in the labour market situation. The unemployment rate depends – with a slight delay – on the economic recession or boom. It was the highest (11.1%) in the first quarter of 2013, i.e. during the economic crisis that started in 2008, and the lowest (4.0%) in the fourth quarter of 2019. At that time about 41,000 people were unemployed and 980,000 were employed. 


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The impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the labour market was not yet detected in the 1st quarter of 2020. The labour market was still in good condition. The ILO unemployment rate was 4.6%, 0.3 of a percentage point lower than in the same period a year ago.


Average gross earnings for April 2020 amounted to EUR 1,937.21. Compared to gross earnings for March 2020 they were higher in nominal terms by 10.2% and in real terms by 11.2%.

The increase in average earnings was largely the result of measures related to the COVID-19 epidemic (particularly emergency relief compensation in some activities in line with the Intervention Measures Act and/or collective agreements in the whole month of April 2020). In April 2020 also most of the persons in paid employment who were temporarily laid-off were laid-off the whole month (in March 2020 only in the second half of the month), which resulted in the drop in the number of persons in paid employment who received earnings or non-refunded wage compensation from the employer’s resources and in the increase in average gross and net earnings (compared to earnings for March 2020).


In 2019 Slovenia was visited by 6.2 million tourists and each spent on average 2.5 nights in our country. Domestic tourists generated 28% of overnight stays, most of them in health (spa) resorts. 

As regards foreign tourists, most overnight stays were generated by tourists from Germany (13.4%), followed by tourists from Italy (11.2%), Austria (8.9%), the Netherlands (5.1%), Croatia (4.7%), Czechia (4.5%) and Hungary (4.4%). Among tourists from non-European countries, tourists from the USA were the ones who generated the most overnight stays (2.8% of all foreign overnight stays). They were followed by tourists from other Asian countries, Israel, China and Republic of Korea. 


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In April 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic brought tourism in Slovenia to a halt. No tourist arrivals and only about 11,000 tourist overnight stays (99% fewer than in April 2019) were recorded in tourist accommodation establishments. Who were the guests that generated these overnight stays? Tour-ist accommodation establishments that recorded tourist overnight stays mostly hosted guests with-in the international student exchanges, who are staying in Slovenia for a longer period. 

Economic sentiment

The coronavirus had an impact on the sentiment in the economy and among the people. The sen-timent indicator declined significantly in all branches and among consumers both at the annual and at the monthly level. In April 2020 the sentiment indicator reached the lowest value in the entire observed period, i.e. since January 1999. It was 39.6 percentage points below the long-term aver-age. In May 2020 (–33.1 percentage points) it was 6.5 percentage points higher than in April 2020 (–39.6 percentage points), but still 33.2 percentage points below the long-term average. 


An important aspect of the quality of life is the environment in which one lives. Unfortunately, not all environmental indicators are available since 1991, but recent trends show that environmental management in Slovenia is improving. In 2018, 495 kg of municipal waste per capita was generated in Slovenia. It is good that the share of separately collected waste is rapidly increasing. In 2002 only 9% of waste was collected separately, while according to the latest data as much as 71% of waste is collected separately. Our attitude towards drinking water is also changing. The amount of water supplied to households from the public water supply is declining: in 2008 89 million m3 of water was supplied to households and in 2018 79 million m3

That our attitude towards the environment is improving is also shown by gross fixed capital formation and current expenditure for environmental protection, but this is not true of the entire observed period. Gross fixed capital formation and current expenditure for environmental protection as a share of GDP were increasing for 15 years after independence (by 2015 gross fixed capital formation increased to 1.15% of GDP and current expenditure to 1.30% of GDP). In 2018, gross fixed capital formation decreased to 0.52% of GDP in comparison to 2015, while current expenditure stayed on the same level. 

Changes are also observed in food production: there were 115 organic farms in Slovenia in 2000 and almost 3,320 in 2017. 


During the pandemic, when people had to stay at home, we became more aware how important it is to produce food locally. In terms of quantity, in 2019 44% of all vegetables, 44% of all fresh fruit, and 81% of all meat consumed in Slovenia were produced in Slovenia. A resident of Slovenia consumed on average 123 kg of vegetables, 76 kg of fresh fruit and 91 kg of meat. The rest of these crops had to be imported, which put an additional burden on the environment. In 2019, Slovenia imported 230,000 tons of fresh fruit, 177,000 tons of vegetables and 111,000 tons of meat.


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