BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly 2019/09

According to Rosstat, Russia’s population was 146.8 million at the end of the year. However, the figure includes the 2.3 million people of the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014. The Russian population shrank by 0.1 % last year. There were 1.6 million births and 1.8 million deaths. Russia’s population shrank continuously from the mid-1990s to 2009, when the population began to grow again. 2018 was the first year since 2009 that the Russian population declined. In this decade, population growth has been driven by an increase in immigration and life expectancy. The World Health Organization reports that the current average life expectancy of a Russian woman is 77.2 years and a Russian man 66.4 years.

Russia’s birth rate has also declined over the past two years. In 2017, the total fertility rate was 1.62, which is typical also for EU countries and China. At the end of 2018, Rosstat forecasted that Russia’s population will continue to decline slowly. By their projection, the Russian population would be 144 million in 2036.

Last year, net immigration was no longer sufficient to make up for the gap between births and deaths. Rosstat says that net immigration was only about 125,000 persons, down from about 210,000 in 2017. Following the established pattern, many immigrants and emigrants are from former Soviet countries. Last year, the largest sources of net immigration to Russia were Tajikistan and Kazakhstan.