Will Russia Record Natural Population Growth This Year?

Is the question asked by Mark Adomanis in his recent post. If you linearly extrapolate dynamics for the first half of this year to the second (BR +7.5%; DR -1.9%), then yes, it will – as per the graph I’ve stolen from him below.

Adomanis says that making such a prediction back in 2005 would have resulted in him getting dragged off to a lunatic asylum. I avoided that fate, though considering I made said predictions in 2008, it is still fairly impressive.

“Russia will see positive population growth starting from 2010 at the latest.”
“Natural population increase will occur starting from 2013 at the latest.”

And, just for peter:

“The share of Russia’s working age population will peak around 2010 at about 72%.”


  1. Dear Anatoly,

    You have been completely vindicated on this question.

    I now wait with eager anticipation the chorus of admissions from the army of demographers, politicians, journalists and experts who unlike you got this one completely wrong. How long do you suppose I’ll have to wait? (PS: rhetorical question obviously).

  2. Alexander,

    there are couple stock responses (and they were rolled out already, one way or another):

    1) “Yes, demographic policy could work for a while, but then there will be huge hole” – Swedish case is usually pointed out as an example.Sweden, of course, now maintains close to replacement fertility rate after it adjusted its pronatal policy based on past experience, but that’s ignored.

    2) “What we see is just a moving forward of future children, and there will be a huge hole ahead of us. In order to say that something has changed for real, we have to observe cohort fertility rates, and cohort fertility rate, of course, is observed only after the relevant cohort turns 40 or even 45.” A clear up-tick in cohort fertilities observed in the last years is ignored (it’s obviously rather small), and the fact that bringing births forward permanently will increase hypothetical steady-state population level, and thus its growth rate over the transition period which could span decades, is not mentioned, either.

    So, my prognosis is that the current cohort of demographers for the next 5-10 years will fall back on the usual answer to the question “What were the effects of French Revolution?” – “Too early to tell.” And then science, as usual, will progress one retirement or funeral at a time.

    • Dear Sergey,

      Thanks for this and I agree.

      I will tell you what I think will happen. When it finally becomes incontrovertible that Russia so far from being in demographic freefall has successfully stabilised its population the issue will simply stop being mentioned but will instead vanish down a memory hole. We however owe it to ourselves and to people like Anatoly who have told the facts not to forget the truth of it.