Lithuania was involuntarily annexed to the Soviet Union in 1940 and was among the first Soviet republics to declare its independence in 1990. The population suffered a severe decline in health status after independence, as did many former Soviet republics, but eventually rebuilt itself as a modern market economy with a high standard of living, and joined both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union in 2004. Lithuania's economy has grown by 8 percent on average each of the last four years, and the per capita income in 2008 was estimate at $17,700, up from $15,700 in 2006.

The 2009 population of Lithuania is estimated at 3.6 million, with a median age of 39.3 years and the typical age structure of a developed ...

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