Saturday, August 11, 2018

Fertility Rates among Ethnic Russians to Remain Below Replacement Levels while Those among Non-Russians will Be Above Them

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 10 – The Russian labor ministry projects that in 2020, fertility rates in predominantly ethnic Russian regions will remain well below the replacement level of 2.2 children per woman per lifetime while in non-Russian regions, including Tuva, the Altai and Chechnya, they will remain above, Izvestiya reports today. 

            That means that the ethnic balance in the Russian Federation will continue to change even if fertility rates in some non-Russian regions are falling compared to what they were a generation ago, with the share of Russians declining and the share of non-Russians increasing in the future.

            Neither the labor ministry nor the newspaper’s Anna Ivushkina and Daniil Kuzin, however, stress this ethnic dimension, preferring instead to say that Russia expects “the highest coefficients of births in distant [but unnamed] regions of the country” (

            Overall, the ministry says, the countrywide fertility rate should rise from 1.62 now to 1.65 in 2020 on its way to 1.7 in 2024, all figures well below replacement levels. But even that boost will come from places at least some in Moscow will be less than thrilled by: Tuva with a projected rate of 3.4, Chechnya with 2.92, the Altair 2.9, and Buryatia, 2.28.

            All these unlike predominantly ethnic Russian regions where the figures are below 1.6 are non-Russian and non-Orthodox.

            A major driver of these differences, the paper says, is a radical difference in age structure. Predominantly ethnic Russian regions are far older on average, something that means there are fewer women in the prime child-bearing age cohorts than is the case in the much younger over all populations of these non-Russian regions.

            Given that demographic reality, the ethnic Russian regions are likely to experience  a continuing decline in population while non-Russian republics in many cases are likely to continue to grow in size absolutely and relatively.

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