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Russia's population decline speeds up

Published time: December 16, 2011 18:17
Edited time: December 16, 2011 22:17


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Russia's population continues to fall, as indicated by newly-published census results.

With a population of 142,857,000, the country has dropped one place in the list of the world’s most populous countries since the last census in 2002. The population has fallen by 2.3 million.

Now Russia is in eighth position after China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This is the biggest drop in 13 years, including the turbulent 1990s.

The biggest drop is registered among the rural population. The census showed that not only people vanish, but entire settlements do. Since 2002, as many as 8,500 villages have ceased to exist. Many of them have been incorporated into nearby towns and cities, while others have been deserted after their inhabitants moved out.

There are 19,400 villages that exist on paper but actually have no inhabitants – 48 per cent more than in the previous census.

The census also shows that Russia’s population is ageing with an average age of 39, while in the 2002 census it was 37. The number of women is still significantly greater than the number of men (by 10.7 million).

The number of married couples fell from 34 million in 2002 to in 33 million in 2010. Thirteen per cent of them are not officially registered (9.7 per cent in 2002). The number of divorces is also on the rise.

As many as 80.9 per cent respondents identified themselves as ethnic Russians (80.64 per cent in 2002). The percentage of ethnic Tatars remained practically the same at 3.87 per cent, while the number of Ukrainians has dropped from 2.05 per cent in 2002 to 1.41 per cent in 2010. The census also showed a growth in the number of ethnic Chechens, Avars and Armenians.

A total of 5.6 million people refused to answer questions regarding their nationality (some 1.5 million in 2002).