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Following Vladmir Putin's decision that he will run again for President of the Russian Federation next March, there are questions about continuity or change in economic reform, political reform, weapons control, U.

In Russia, a Demographic Crisis and Worries for Nation's Future

But there will surely be one constant: Putin's concern about arresting the demographic decline of Russia -- especially of Russia's working-age males -- which has significant implications for Russian society, economy, and standing in the world. This issue received global media attention in , when then-President Putin said in his state of the nation address that "The most urgent problem facing Russia is demographic crisis. This issue is the classic "under the water" part of the Russian iceberg, which will shape the nation's direction for years to come.

To a non-expert like me, the Russian demographic story is fascinating, not just because of its national and geopolitical implications but because it is about both low birth rates and high death rates. Male life expectancy in Russia today is approximately 60 years, or at least 15 years less than in most industrialized nations. It has been oft-remarked that many developed nations now have declining birth rates because of job opportunities for women.


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But Russia's low birth rates are due to economic problems, and together with high death rates caused by poor health, these factors make Russian's demographic problems striking. Together these have led to a decline in Russian population from The UN Population Division estimated several years ago that Russian population in the year -- one year after President Putin would complete two six-year terms -- would continue to decline dramatically, settling in a range from million to million.

The U. Census Bureau, in another study several years old, estimated that the Russian population would be million in that year. However, according to published reports, Russian state statistical authorities say that the population could be in the high millions lower than present, but not much lower , while the Ministry of Economic Development optimistically states hopes that population decline will stop in about 10 years and return to current levels by Whatever the disparities in estimates about Russia's future population, there is no question about the facts that existed in when Putin addressed the demographic crisis in his state of the nation speech.

These are the benchmarks from which improvements are measured. At that time:. Currently highlighted Remove all. Time yearly quarterly monthly latest data available. Definition of Population Population is defined as all nationals present in, or temporarily absent from a country, and aliens permanently settled in a country.

Last published in Publication. Society at a Glance Publication International Migration Outlook Publication Your selection for sharing:. While worker migrants are opposed by most Russians, the mayor of Moscow said that Moscow cannot do without worker migrants. New laws are in place that require worker migrants to be fluent in Russian, know Russian history and laws. The Russian Opposition and most of the Russian population opposes worker migration, Alexei Navalny stated that if he came to power he would introduce a visa regime to non- Eurasian Union countries in the former Soviet Union and have a visa free regime with the European Union and The West to attract skilled migrants.

The total fertility rate is the number of children born per woman.

It is based on fairly good data for the entire period. In many of the following years, Russia has had the highest total fertility rate in the world. Demographic statistics according to the World Population Review in Russian Note: estimates are of practicing worshipers; Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet rule; Russia officially recognizes Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism as traditional religions.

Russian official Note: data represent native language spoken est. Population is heavily concentrated in the westernmost fifth of the country extending from the Baltic Sea, south to the Caspian Sea, and eastward parallel to the Kazakh border; elsewhere, sizeable pockets are isolated and generally found in the south. In , Russia's TFR of 1. After experiencing a surge in births for several years, Russia's birth rate fell in by Fertility rates had already begun to decline in the late s due to the natural progression of Russia's demographic structure, but the rapid and widely negative changes in society following the collapse greatly influenced the rate of decline.

In , 8 of Russia's federal subjects had a TFR above 2.

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However, in , the Armenian province of Qashatagh overtook it In , the average number of children born to women has decreased from to women from to in in urban areas the figure was children — , and in the village — in , — Despite a decrease in women who have not had children, the number of three-child and large families has declined between and In every region in Russia, rural areas reported higher TFR compared to urban areas. In most of the federal subjects in Siberia and the Russian Far East , the total fertility rates were high, but not high enough to ensure population replacement.

Experts were puzzled with a sharp increase in deaths coincided with a sharp increase in life expectancy. While they have found out that a decrease in potential mothers led to a decrease in births and a rapid rise in fertility. Data from Federal State Statistics Service. Further information: List of federal subjects of Russia by life expectancy.

The disparity in the average lifespan between genders in Russia is largest in the world. Women live 9—12 years longer than men, while the difference in lifespan is typically only five years in other parts of the world. David Stuckler , Lawrence King , and Martin McKee propose mass privatization and the neo-liberalist shock therapy policies of Yeltsin administration as key reasons of falling life expectancy of Russian men. In the late s, the USSR claimed a higher life expectancy than the United States, [79] but the Soviet Union has lagged behind Western countries in terms of mortality and life expectancy since the late s.

When controlling for confounding variables, neither alcoholism, poverty, pollution, nor the collapse of the health system explain the high male mortality. Most former communist countries got through the same economic collapse and health system collapse. Alcohol consumption per capita is as high in other East European countries.

Poverty is high in many other countries. One factor that could explain the low male lifespan in Russia is violence, tolerance for violence and tolerance for risk, "male toughness". The life expectancy was about 70 in , [80] prior to the transition-induced disruption of the healthcare system.

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The turmoil in the early s caused life expectancy in Russia to steadily decrease while it was steadily increasing in the rest of the world. Recently however, Russian life expectancy has again begun to rise. Between — the male life expectancy in Russia rose by almost four years, increasing the overall life expectancy by nearly 4 years to The second leading cause of death was cancer which claimed , lives External causes of death such as suicide 1. Other major causes of death were diseases of the digestive system 4.


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However, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in many changes took place, such as the demonopolization of the market for contraceptive drugs and media liberalization, which led to a rapid conversion to more efficient pregnancy-control practices. Abortion rates fell in the first half of the s for the first time in Russia's history, even despite declining fertility rates. From the early s to , the number of expected abortions per woman during her lifetime fell by nearly 2.

Despite an increase in " family planning ", a large portion of Russian families do not achieve the target of desired children at the desired time. The share of unexpected pregnancies remains much lower in countries with developed family planning culture, such as the Netherlands , whose percentage of unwanted pregnancies 20 years before was half of that in Russia as of [update].

The Russian Federation is home to as many as different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples. As of the census, According to the Census in Russia lived ,, people. It is important to note that 5,, people 3. This is due to the fact that those people were counted from administrative databases and not directly, and were therefore unable to state their ethnicity.

Most smaller groups live compactly in their respective regions and can be categorized by language group. The ethnic divisions used here are those of the official census, and may in some respects be controversial.

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The following lists all ethnicities resolved by the census, grouped by language: [12]. The ethno-demographic structure of Russia has gradually changed over time. During the past century the most striking change is the fast increase of the peoples from the Caucasus. Though low in absolute numbers, the Siberian people also increased during the past century, but their growth was mainly realized after WW II from 0. The absolute numbers of most of these peoples reached its highest level in the beginning of the s. Since , natural growth in Russia has been negative and the numbers of all peoples of European Russia were lower in than in , the only exceptions being the Roma due to high fertility rates and the Gagauz due to high levels of migration from Moldova to Russia.

Several peoples saw a much larger decrease than can be explained by the low fertility rates and high mortality rates in Russia during the past two decades. Emigration and assimilation contributed to the decrease in numbers of many peoples.

The number of Germans halved between and Their main country of destination is Germany. In , the Soviet Union had the third largest population of Jews in the world, 2,, of whom , with residence in Russia , following only that of the United States and Israel. By , due to Jewish emigration, their number fell as low as , A sizeable emigration of other minorities has been enduring, too. Assimilation i.

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The assimilation is reflected in the high median age of these peoples see the table below , as assimilation is stronger among young people than among old people. The process of assimilation of the Uralic peoples of Russia is probably going on for centuries and is most prominent among the Mordvins 1. Assimilation on the other hand slowed down the decrease of the number of ethnic Russians.