Life Expectancy in Montenegro

Montenegro is a Balkan country that obtained independence from Yugoslavia on June 3, 2006. The data regarding life expectancy in Montenegro attests to its modernization and the continuing integration of the country into the global market system. With the fall of communism and the dissolution of Yugoslavia, improvements in life expectancy outcomes have accompanied the increased prevalence of ills more characteristic of developed countries. Below are the top 10 facts concerning life expectancy in Montenegro.

Top 10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Montenegro

  1. Overall life expectancy has improved slightly. As of 2016, life expectancy in Montenegro reached 76.6 years, an increase from 75.28 in 2010. Women on average live 79.2 years, while men on average live 73.9 years.
  2. Some age groups have undergone mortality rate declines, while others have experienced increases. Males under 1-year-old experienced the largest decline in mortality in 2010, down 65 percent from 1990. In contrast, the most significantly increased mortality rate between 1990 and 2010 shows up among females between ages 35 and 39, constituting an 8 percent increase.
  3. The infant mortality rate has declined significantly since 1969. Infant mortality in Montenegro has been subject to a regular and substantial rate of decrease from 1969 to the present. While in 1969 there were 43.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, this rate has declined to merely 2.55 deaths per 1,000 live births as of 2018.
  4. Efforts are being made to target the leading causes of death and their risk factors. As of 2010, ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and cardiomyopathy constituted the leading causes of death in Montenegro.
    • Between 1990 and 2010, lower respiratory infections declined by 7 percent.
    • High blood pressure remains the principal risk factor for premature death, followed by dietary habits and tobacco consumption.
    • Montenegro’s Law on Food Safety of 21 December 2007 places restrictions on the marketing of such unhealthy foods as play a role in poor health outcomes.
    • The Law on Protection of Consumers of 16 May 2007 prohibits food advertisements that target minors or use minors in promoting products.
  5. In Montenegro, suicides outnumber homicides. The suicide rate remained consistent from the years 2013 to 2015, experiencing only a slight decrease between 2011 and 2012. With 11.07 suicides per 100,000 people in 2015, Montenegro exceeded the global suicide rate average of 9.55 suicides per 100,000 people. When distinguishing by sex, the suicide rate for males numbered 15.03 per 100,000 and for females numbered 7.19 per 100,000, with 4.1 suicides for every homicide. Prior to independence from Serbia, a government initiative successfully reduced the annual suicide rate of the Yugoslav Army (Serb and Montenegrin soldiers) from 13 per 100,000 between 1999 and 2003 down to 5 per 100,000 in 2004. This program, involving the efforts of physicians and psychologists as well as officers, entailed informing soldiers about substance abuse and suicide risk factors, as well as the dismissal of recruits with severe psychological problems.
  6. Obesity is a significant issue. Moderate obesity may reduce one’s life expectancy by three years, while severe obesity may reduce one’s life expectancy by 10 years. Statistics demonstrate that as of 2008, 55.6 percent of the adult Montenegrin population were overweight while 22.5 percent were obese. Men are more likely to be overweight (62 percent) or obese (23.3 percent) than women (49.9 percent and 21.7 percent respectively). In 2015, the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) issued the 2015 Milan Declaration, of which the Montenegrin chapter of the EASO was a signatory. This declaration proposes treating obesity as a crisis requiring the development of educational, research and clinical care strategies for its reduction at the national level.
  7. HIV is rare in Montenegro. The HIV epidemic has had little impact on Montenegro compared to other countries as only 0.01 percent of the population is infected with the virus as of 2011. Data collected in that year established 128 total HIV cases, 62 total AIDS cases and 32 AIDS-related deaths. Of these, 2011 saw nine new HIV cases, three new AIDS cases, and only one AIDS-linked death. Eight out of nine diagnoses in 2011 were male. No mother-to-infant transmission cases were reported in 2011.
  8. Most Montenegrins have access to an improved water source. Access to potable water sources plays a major role in increasing life expectancy, particularly in reducing the incidence of potentially fatal water-borne diseases. By 2015, 99.7 percent of the Montenegrin population could access an improved water source.
  9. Health care staffing suffers a deficit. Health care comprises 6.8 percent of Montenegro’s GDP, totaling $177 in expenditures per capita. However, as Montenegrin health care services usage exceeds the European average, Montenegro faces an understaffing crisis. This chronic understaffing poses a continued risk of increased patient mortality in medical treatment centers.
  10. Life expectancy in Montenegro may respond to the country’s continuing urbanization. Studies show that residents of urban centers may have longer life expectancies than those in more rural, less developed or remote regions. The rural population of Montenegro declined to 35.78 percent by 2016 compared to 81.21 percent in 1960.

Although centuries of isolation and scarcity have left their legacy, these facts about life expectancy in Montenegro indicate that the country continues along the path of modernization. Overall, these top 10 facts about life expectancy in Montenegro give good cause for optimism regarding the country’s future.

– Philip Daniel Glass
Photo: Flickr

Montenegro Poverty RateMontenegro is a small Balkan country that declared independence from Serbia in 2006. Since that time, the poverty rate in Montenegro has varied rather significantly, rising as high as 11.3 percent (2006, 2012) and falling as low as 4.9 percent (2008). The most recent data available, from 2013, lists the Montenegro poverty rate at 8.6 percent.

Prior to Montenegro’s independence, the country of Serbia and Montenegro was attempting accession into the European Union. Now an independent country, Montenegro is in its own process of accession into the EU. If and when Montenegro becomes an EU member, the Montenegro poverty rate has the potential for a fairly dramatic change, due to differences in how poverty is calculated.

Montenegro currently uses an absolute poverty rate. The poverty line as reported in 2013 was €186.54 per month. This line was calculated using basic costs of life needs, consisting of food costs and non-food needs. In contrast, the EU uses a relative poverty rate calculation. The poverty line in EU member states is calculated as 60 percent of the median income.

Attempting to calculate the relative poverty rate in Montenegro to demonstrate the difference is not easy. Monstat, Montenegro’s statistical office, currently provides average income rather than median income, so determining the relative poverty rate based on median income is not immediately possible. Using markers such as the given average income and income inequality index to estimate median income suggest the poverty line would rise using a relative calculation. Using EU member poverty rates as a guideline would also seem to suggest the potential for a higher poverty rate in a relative system.

Montenegro’s foreign minister Srđan Darmanović stated earlier this year that Montenegrin accession into the EU could happen as early as 2022. Even with the relative volatility of the Montenegro poverty rate over the last decade, a sudden rise around the point of accession need not be an immediate concern if understood as a change in the calculation system.

Erik Beck

Photo: Pixabay

Common Diseases in MontenegroLocated in southeastern Europe, just between Serbia and the Adriatic Sea, lies the small nation of Montenegro. The former member of Yugoslavia has only been independent since 2006, and is still transitioning into a market economy. Here are the most common diseases in Montenegro:

Ischemic Heart Disease
A condition characterized by narrowed heart arteries, thus reducing blood flow to the heart, ischemic heart disease can ultimately result in unexpected heart attack. Also known as coronary artery disease, ischemic heart disease was assessed to be the most fatal of the common diseases in Montenegro in 2005. By 2015, it was still the most fatal, but the prevalence of deaths by the disease had fortunately decreased by seven percent.

Cerebrovascular Disease
Cerebrovascular disease refers to any disease affecting blood flow to the brain. Such disorders often result in aneurysms, carotid stenosis, intracranial stenosis, vertebral stenosis, stroke and vascular malformations. In 2015, cerebrovascular disease was the second most fatal common disease in Montenegro, and had been for the past decade. However, the disease had unfortunately increased in prevalence by 4.8 percent within those 10 years.

Lung Cancer
A type of cancer beginning in the lungs, lung cancer can cause a person to cough up blood, experience chronic fatigue, have recurrent respiratory problems and lose weight unexpectedly, among other effects. Smoking is cited as a high risk factor for developing lung cancer. In 2005, lung cancer was the third most fatal of the common diseases in Montenegro. In 2015, it remains so, but the prevalence of deaths by the disease has decreased by 1.3 percent.

The government of Montenegro has been attempting to address the issue of smoking for years. In 2004, Montenegro made it illegal to advertise smoking, to smoke in public or even to portray smoking on Montenegrin television. In addition, the Montenegrin National CVD Prevention Coordinator introduced a “Healthy Lifestyles” subject in schools. Hopefully, Montenegrin government will continue to address the most common diseases in Montenegro through responsible reforms and policies.

Shannon Golden

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in MontenegroMontenegro is a small European country in the Balkan region with a population of about 620,000. Since breaking off from Yugoslavia in 1992 and gaining independence in 2006, the country has improved economically and is now classified by the World Bank as an upper middle-income country. Along with this progress, water quality in Montenegro, as well as water availability, have improved.

In 2015, the World Bank reported that 99.5 percent of Montenegrins had access to an improved water source, up from 97 percent in 2000. This percentage puts Montenegro at some of the highest water coverage in the Balkans, compared to countries like Albania, which is currently at 95.1 percent. Though there has been a history of water and air pollution in the Balkans, Montenegro currently reports low levels of water pollution, even though in recent years the government has identified climate change and wastewater from settlements as potential hazards affecting quality.

Much of Montenegro’s economy depends on its diverse water sources, from its complex system of rivers to its coastline. In terms of its water utility, Montenegro harnesses hydropower as its most important energy resource, though due to seismic risks and other environmental concerns, the country harnesses only 17 percent of its potential hydro power.

Another factor improving water quality in Montenegro is the prevalence of conservation as industry demands for water have changed in recent years. Due in part to economic factors and environmental sanctions, thermo-energy and mining industries have reduced their total water use, helping secure overall water quality, as well as water availability for other industries such as farming.

In the last decade, environmental issues have prompted Montenegro to examine how climate change may affect water quality and accessibility in the future. In 2010, the Initial National Communication on Climate Change of Montenegro recognized that climate change could affect national water resources in a way that may threaten certain industries and the overall availability of quality water.

Due to these threats, the Montenegrin government is looking into developing a national water information system to monitor any changes in water bodies, as well as changes in water quality in Montenegro’s water networks. The United Nations’ Development Program is assisting Montenegro in this endeavor, working alongside the government to create a reliable and responsive water information system as climate change and other factors may cause future changes to the country’s water resources.

Both water quality and availability have improved in the last few decades, with a productive economy helping Montenegro achieve some of the highest water availability in the Balkan region. Despite this, the government has lagged behind in creating a comprehensive water data and information system to help combat changes caused by climate change. In order to secure the quality and availability of its water in the future, Montenegro must meet these challenges head on.

Nicholas Dugan

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Montenegro
Montenegro is a small Balkan country in Eastern Europe. Although hunger in Montenegro is not as severe as it is in many other countries, it is still a problem for many citizens there.

Montenegro has struggled with unemployment for several years. An alarming 16.9 percent of eligible workers are unemployed, and 48.43 percent of all children in poverty live in households where no one is employed. What’s more, many of the income sources that are available are often unreliable.

UNICEF reports that many private employers have failed to provide insurance to the employees or failed to pay for labor. Because of this, entitlement and welfare programs are usually the most reliable forms of income. However, many who could benefit from this assistance do not receive it and it is often not enough.

Hunger in Montenegro is largely caused by poverty, stemming from this unemployment. The absolute poverty line in Montenegro is €169.13, and 10 percent of children 18 years or younger live below this line. UNICEF states that these children’s basic food and non-food needs are not being met.

Additionally, the food that is purchased in these impoverished households regularly lacks in quality, creating nutrition concerns for the children. At the same time, parents have reported going without food for days on end to ensure their children have enough to eat.

Parents also report that their children sometimes do not eat at all throughout the school day. This is either because they simply have no food at home or they do not bring lunch from home out of shame, as this is a sign of poverty. Since many parents cannot afford snacks for their children to purchase, some children spend up to eight hours in hunger in Montenegro schools.

While unemployment is still very high, which is the main contributor to hunger in Montenegro, the government reports that employment will increase by 1.2 percent each year. This would drop the unemployment rate to 16.6 percent by the close of 2019. It also reports its intentions of implementing grant programs to assist with employment.

Montenegro has already made shy improvements in employment. The number of unemployed persons dropped by 1.1 percent and there were 3.4 percent more employed persons since the last quarter of 2016. Although this is not very significant, the government of Montenegro revises its economic goals on a regular basis and appears dedicated to reducing the poverty within the country.

Montenegro should provide every citizen with adequate means of survival and ensure no child goes to school unfed.

Emma Tennyson

Photo: Google

10 Facts About Montenegro Refugees
Located on the Adriatic Sea, Montenegro has long been a vacation destination for individuals from all over the world. With picturesque seaside villages and mountains all around, Montenegro is a haven for workers looking to escape a fast-paced life. But this holiday lifestyle has not always been the case for Montenegro.  The current refugee crisis affects the atmosphere of Montenegro. These 10 facts about refugees in Montenegro prove that the country is a key world player in providing aid for global conflict and refugees.

  1. The years 1998 and 1999 saw intense fighting for Kosovo. Although the conflict in Kosovo lasted only a year, nearly half of the population of Kosovo was either internally displaced or forced to leave the country to become refugees elsewhere. Montenegro was one of the countries they fled towards.
  2. The surge in refugees led to the closure of Montenegro’s border in September 1998. This came only seven months after the beginning of the conflict in Kosovo.
  3. In April 1999, NATO reported that 33,000 Kosovo natives fled to Montenegro. By the following month, that number soared to 64,000.
  4. NATO transported thousands of tons of food to refugees across the Western Balkans. The organization reported that by May 1999, NATO had shipped almost 5,000 tons of food to the war-torn areas filled with refugees.
  5. In one instance during the war, an entire village was packed into a truck and sent away at gunpoint. They traveled from Kosovo to Montenegro in search of safety.
  6. Although the conflict ended nearly two decades ago, the effects of the influx of refugees remain visible across the Balkan countries. In 2012, the European Union pledged 230 million euros to facilitate housing projects for refugees in the Balkans.
  7. With close proximity to entry countries such as Greece and Albania, many refugees have simply passed through the country since the start of the refugee crisis in 2015.
  8. Montenegro is currently not a member of the European Union because its borders are not secure enough to join the EU. Because of this, the country began to ramp up preparations for accession. As more border agents enter the force in preparation to join the Schengen Area, they have begun to monitor the border more tightly.
  9. At the height of the refugee crisis in 2015, only 1,611 asylum applications were received by Montenegro. Many refugees are choosing to take other routes.
  10. In April 2017, the unemployment rate reached a staggering 22.8%. This shows why many refugees choose to simply pass through Montenegro, as jobs are scarce.

The migrant crisis that began in 2015 has been nowhere near as profound in Montenegro as the refugee crisis during the war in Kosovo. These 10 facts about refugees in Montenegro show that even the smallest countries can have an overwhelming impact on world events.

Sophie Casimes

Photo: Flickr

Montenegro is one of Europe’s poorest countries; a Montenegrin’s average income is around $7,300. Montenegro’s health expenditure per capita is only $460, well below the thousands of dollars some of its neighbors allocate for health. This low health expenditure causes problems for people needing treatment for deadly diseases and other types of illnesses. This being said, the top diseases in Montenegro are similar to those in the rest of the world.

Despite Montenegro’s standing, the southeastern European nation is largely unaffected by communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, measles, malaria and other vector-borne diseases. Instead, the top diseases in Montenegro are noncommunicable, and people can usually lower their risk of getting them by following healthy lifestyles.

Heart Disease

This may come as no surprise, as coronary heart disease is the number one killer in the world. It is also the leading cause of death in Montenegro. The disease killed 1,200 Montenegrins in 2012, the most recent data available from The World Health Organization’s country report.

The accumulation of fatty substances in the arteries causes coronary heart disease. Blocked blood flow to the heart can cause strokes, which killed an additional thousand people in 2012.

Two similar diseases, cardiomyopathy and myocarditis, make it more difficult for the heart to pump blood. These diseases killed 900 Montenegrins in 2012.

Obesity is a risk factor for developing coronary heart disease and cardiomyopathy. Around 22 percent of Montenegro’s 625,000 people are obese.

Since 2007, the government has tried to start children off with healthy eating habits by forbidding food and drink advertisers to market to minors. Because of these and other policies, the WHO predicts the country’s obesity rate will decrease, which may cause heart disease rates to decrease as well.


Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Montenegro, accounting for 23 percent of all deaths. The most commonly lethal types are trachea, bronchus and lung cancers. Combined, they killed 300 Montenegrins in 2012.

Tobacco use is among the risk factors for cancer, especially ones dealing with the throat, mouth and lungs. Smoking is more prevalent in Montenegro than anywhere else in the world. The rate is 35 percent for males and 27 percent for females. On average, an adult Montenegrin smokes more than 4,000 cigarettes per year.

The government is doing something about this. Montenegro is party to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. In a 2015 report, it says it has worked to “completely prevent any visibility of tobacco products” because advertising them is banned.

In addition, an increase in excise rates has increased the price of cigarettes 20 percent. At the same time, warning images on tobacco packages that show harmful consequences has increased from covering 50 percent of the package to covering 65 percent.

Health education is also progressing in the country. The Ministry of Health now pays for youth counseling sessions geared toward quitting smoking. There is also counseling for pregnant women to warn them of the dangers of smoking while pregnant. The government holds workshops and uses the media to inform people further. Plus, there are elementary and secondary school classes on the negative effects of tobacco and alcohol use.

Alcohol consumption is another risk factor that can increase one’s risk for cancer or many other diseases. In 2010, Montenegro’s consumption per capita was 13.4 liters of pure alcohol. Montenegro implemented a national strategy for the prevention of alcohol abuse and alcohol-related disorders in 2012. The government regulates alcohol advertising and product placement, but there is room for other means of improvement. As of 2014, Montenegro had no national alcohol-monitoring program or legally mandated health warning labels on alcoholic drinks.

Of course, there are many other causes of heart disease and cancer besides poor lifestyle choices—genetics, age and environmental risks are a few. In addition, a less-than-perfect health care system can worsen the rates of top diseases in Montenegro.

Poor Healthcare and Sanitation

Most public hospital equipment in Montenegro is outdated and expensive to run. State hospitals and pharmacies often have little medicine and supplies. One woman told BalkanInsight that her appointment was rescheduled because the hospital did not have needles to do blood work. Others have to wait in long lines before they are seen.

Sanitation is also an issue in Montenegrin hospitals. A 2015 inspection revealed poor hygiene standards and dangerous bacteria in hospitals.

Montenegro has the lowest number of doctors per capita in Europe, and corruption is not uncommon, possibly because the doctors also have relatively low salaries. Some doctors ask for bribes in exchange for preferential treatment, putting impoverished patients in a tough position.

Some Montenegrins cannot receive adequate care with the problems facing state hospitals in Montenegro. When people go untreated, they may not be able to earn an income, which could drag them into poverty. Montenegro’s economy and poverty level could improve with improvements in the country’s health care system when the current policy ends in 2020.

The top diseases in Montenegro, such as heart disease and cancer, could affect fewer people in the future if the government continues healthy lifestyle education, expands regulation of harmful substances and updates medical facilities.

Kristen Reesor

Photo: Flickr

Montenegro, a country in the Balkans, has experienced immense economic growth in recent years. The newly independent nation joined the U.N. in 2006, and various efforts to advance education in Montenegro have been made since then.

  1. In 2001, Montenegro passed the Book of Changes of the Education System of Montenegro, which promised improved education access and greater education quality. The reform prioritized educational equality as well.
  2. Montenegro’s Plan of Action for Children 2004-2010 was developed with the Millennium Development Goals in mind. Its goal was to fight child poverty by improving health and education for children.
  3. According to a UNICEF report, the primary school net attendance ratio (NAR) in Montenegro is 98 percent and the regional average is 90 percent. The secondary school NAR is 84 percent, and the regional average is 83 percent. Attendance in preschools is lacking, however, with only 29 percent of three-to-five-year-olds attending primary school. The regional average for preschool attendance is 41 percent.
  4. Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 made up 9.92 percent of Montenegro’s 2016 population of 644,578. The youth unemployment rate in the same age range sits at 41.1 percent.
  5. The literacy rate among young people in Montenegro is high. Of those 15 years old or older, 98.7 percent of the population can read and write. Of men, 99.5 percent are literate and of women, 98 percent are literate.
  6. According to a 2012 study by the Montenegro Statistical Office, those between the ages of 25 and 29 hold the highest level of education, and 28 percent of this age group are college-educated.

Improving education in Montenegro continues to be a priority for the country and aid groups. UNICEF priorities include increasing enrollment and attendance rates, raising quality of education and developing an efficient national system to monitor and evaluate education.

Mikaela Frigillana

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Montenegro
Montenegro is a small mountainous country located in Southeast Europe off the coast of the Adriatic Sea. The country has a relatively small and open economy, which is reliant on energy-intensive industries. On average, Montenegro is one of the least efficient consumers of energy and water in the entire European continent.

Further, urban sprawl and deforestation put a strain on the infrastructure and local service provisions within Montenegro. This also increases exposure to environmental hazards and erodes natural resources. Overall, these issues pose a threat as it makes Montenegrins vulnerable to resource depletion.

Poverty in Montenegro averages at around 8.6 percent with 33 percent in economically vulnerable situations. However, those in the northern region average at around 10.3 percent poverty rates. Unemployment rates in the north, are around two times greater than the national average and citizens there have limited access to public services. This reflects an internal problem within the country, namely regional development disparity.

Gender and age discrimination are two additional issues in Montenegrin society. Although the high-education balance between men and women is equal in Montenegro, women in the workforce are prone to huge gaps in income. They also lack proper political and economic representation, making them especially vulnerable to problems such as domestic violence and general impoverishment should they choose to divorce or remain unmarried.

Another demographic that is overwhelmingly at a disadvantage are the roughly 50,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees. These people make up roughly seven percent of the Montenegrin population and are among the poorest in Montenegro. Their poverty rate is roughly six times higher than the average national poverty rate.

Thus, combating social discrepancies and poverty in Montenegro is the pinnacle for evening the proverbial fiscal playing field. This will require reformation of health, employment and social services on both the local and global level.

Kayla Provencher

Photo: Flickr