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Russia’s Natural Population Decline to Hit 11-Year Record in 2019

Igor Ivanko / Moskva News Agency

Russia’s natural population decline will set an 11-year record this year as the country’s demographic crisis shows no signs of letting up, the RBC news website reported Friday. 

Russia’s overall population totaled 146.7 million in January-September 2019, the State Statistics Service Rosstat said in a report last week. While migrant inflows had offset its natural population decline in previous years, in 2018, Russia’s total population dropped for the first time in a decade as migration numbers hit record lows.

In the first 10 months of this year, deaths outnumbered live births by 259,600, RBC cited Rosstat data as saying. It was the highest natural population decline since 2008, when deaths outnumbered births by 362,000.

“Nothing will change until the end of the year, [and] Russia’s population will shrink,” RBC quoted Olga Chudinovskykh, a professor at Moscow State University’s economics department, as saying.

Migrants are unlikely to come to Russia in greater numbers in November and December, Chudinovskykh told the outlet, meaning Russia’s total population is on track to decline for the second year in a row in 2019.

The United Nations has predicted that Russia’s population could halve to fewer than 84 million people by 2100.

Meanwhile, Russian authorities have said that they expect Russia’s population to resume natural growth in 2023-2024.

President Vladimir Putin last year pledged to allocate $8.6 billion on programs including mortgage subsidies and payouts to families to encourage Russians to have more children. His government is also considering attracting migrants from Russian-speaking countries over the next several years to offset the country’s population decline.

“This demographic hole that the president himself and other leaders in the social sector have talked about repeatedly is at its apex,” RBC quoted the Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying Friday.

“The situation is certainly very unpleasant,” he added.

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