Russia’s Population Is Now Growing

The preliminary results of the 2010 Census are out, showing that the population has fallen to 142.9 million. This compares to 145.2 million counted in the previous 2002 Census.

Most headlines have emphasized the falling population aspect of “Putin’s decade”. But the more interesting stuff is in the derivatives. According to state statistics agency Rosstat, the population in 2010 should have been at 141.9 million (after a period of rapid decline until 2007; a small fall in 2008; and stagnation in 2009-10).

However, the Census results indicate that Rosstat may have placed the population 1.0 million people lower than reality, probably by underestimating immigration.

Furthermore, adding in the tendency towards increasing life expectancy and higher fertility rates previously covered on this blog, I can confidently predict that the 2020 Census will show a population bigger than this year’s. Perhaps 145-147 million, as predicted in both Rosstat’s and my own higher scenarios.

Back to the results of this Census. The male-female ratio dropped slightly, due to the aging of the Russian population and the increasing sex disparity in 40 year old cohorts and older.

Regionally, the Central Federal District (+1.6%, mainly by dint of Moscow) and the South Caucasus (+6.3%) registered a rise in the population. The greatest population declines were seen in the Volga (-4.0%), Siberia (-4.0%) and the Fast East (-6.0%).

That is not because there are fewer births or more deaths in the eastern parts of the country – to the contrary, it has a younger population with higher fertility rates – but because of internal migration to the west.

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