Lowland, many scattered small lakes, fertile soil
Transitional, between maritime and continental; wet, moderate winters and summers
Population: 3,515,858 (July 2013 est.)
Languages: Lithuanian (official) 82%, Russian 8%, Polish 5.6%, other and unspecified 4.4% (2001 census)
Substantial Russian Population (1:28)
Roman Catholic 77.2%, Russian Orthodox 4.1%, Old Believer 0.8%, Evangelical Lutheran 0.6%, Evangelical Reformist 0.2%, other (including Sunni Muslim, Jewish, Greek Catholic, and Karaite) 0.8%, none or not indicated 16.2% (2011 est.)
Lithuania gained membership in the World Trade Organization and joined the EU in May 2004. Despite its EU accession, Lithuania's trade with its Central and Eastern European neighbors and Russia in particular, accounts for a significant share of total trade. Foreign investment and business support have helped in the transition from the old command economy to a market economy. The three former Soviet Baltic republics were among the hardest hit by the 2008-09 financial crisis.
The Lithuanian government is developing a new health-care program to improve health conditions. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Lithuania, and diseases related to alcoholism are also common. The average life expectancy for a Lithuanian born now is about seventy-two years, which is relatively high among eastern European and former Soviet nations. During World War II (1939–45), many Lithuanian towns and villages were completely destroyed.
Parliamentary System (:49)
US Military Presence/Support
Lithuania is a strong ally of the United States and member of NATO. After gaining its independence from the Soviet Union, the U.S. supported Lithuania in its effort to build and sustain a strong democracy and market-based economic structure. It now works with the U.S. to promote democratic and civil reform in other countries. No major aid is being provided to Lithuania at this time.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) (1:07)