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Typical Slovene

Can you imagine living in a country with a population of no more than two million? This is the reason Slovenes often joke that everybody knows everybody in this country. Diverse geographical, historical and cultural circumstances have surely played a significant role in shaping the national character.

Generally, Slovenes describe themselves as industrious, honest, a bit jealous, good singers who enjoy a good glass of wine, perhaps a bit on the melancholy side, and with a slight propensity for extremism. The most prominent scientists to deal with Slovenians’ self-image were psychologists Dr Anton Trstenjak and Dr Janek Musek. In his book entitled 'Misli o slovenskem človeku' ('Reflections on the Slovenian Individual') Dr Anton Trstenjak records his observations and thoughts on the image of the Slovene. Besides positive traits such as discipline and honesty, he mentions gloom, discord and subservience. Dr Janek Musek observes that in terms of personality traits, Slovenes are as different and diverse as other nations. He also believes that it is difficult to generalise, as all personal traits extend from one extreme to the other. Nonetheless, he examines three widely accepted stereotypes about Slovenes.


Ladies first!
According to data from the Statistical Office, Slovenian women will most often introduce themselves as Marija Novak. Every 13th lady in Slovenia is called Marija, and every 173rd’s last name is Novak. She is probably 42 years old and has 1.2 children. She will most often reply that she had her first child at an average age of 27.3 and that she was at least 27 years old when she married. Only three decades ago, this image was quite different – she would have been married around 22 and given birth before reaching the age of 23. Slovenian women are on average 3.3 years older than men.

The female student will proudly proclaim that she is one of almost 57 per cent of women to attend university during the past academic year, with every second female student studying humanities, social sciences, economics or law. The Slovenian woman is somewhat more educated than the Slovenian man, but earns only 93 per cent of a man's average salary. She is also not a politics buff; at the most recent elections, only eleven women made it into the National Assembly (of ninety members), occupying 12.2 per cent of all seats

Slovene men
According to the laws of probability, the male Slovene would introduce himself as Jožef Horvat. The top five most likely male name and surname combinations contain the surnames Novak and Horvat, and the given names Jožef, Franc, Janez and Štefan. They are probably around 46 years of age. The average Slovenian male will have put on his wedding ring and said his vows when a bit over 30, and have fathered his first child soon thereafter. The fact that almost two-thirds of all fathers of children born in recent years were between 30 and 40 years old reveals an aging trend among parents in Slovenia. Only 7 per cent of males were young fathers, below the age of 25. On average, the Slovenian male lives to see 73 springs.

Sociologists, demographers and other demographic experts point out another interesting fact about Slovenia: children are leaving the parental home later and later in life. One-half of all people aged 25 to 29 are still living at home with their parents; of this number, more are male than female, as women tend to start their own families at an earlier age. At the age of 25, one-half of women will have already started their own family, and three-quarters of them will have started their families at the age of 29. At the age of 29, half of the men are either still living at home with their parents, or have returned to live with them.

Following the 1970s population boom, the natural increase has been steadily decreasing, and so since 1993 Slovenia's population has been increasing only due to positive net migration. This natural increase has been constantly negative since 1997. Over the past five years, the population of Slovenia has increased by only 0.1 per cent, or 2000 persons per year.

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