Staunton, May 29 – The most significant demographic trend is not the overall growth or decline of the population but rather that of its working-age cohorts, because on their number depends not only economic growth but also the ability of the country to pay for children who have not yet entered the workforce and the elderly who have left it.
That makes figures just published by Rosstat especially worrisome. They show that the number of working-age Russians fell by 1,064,000 between April 2018 and April 2019, the largest so far this century (gks.ru/bgd/free/b04_03/IssWWW.exe/Stg/d04/96.htm and finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/chislennost-ekonomicheski-aktivnogo-naseleniya-rossii-rukhnula-rekordno-s-nachala-veka-1028235021).
Kirill Tremasov, an analyst at Loko-Invest, says that “such a sharp reduction in labor resources (in Russia) has not been observed in this century, one that means the country is losing 80-90,000 workers every month, reducing its economic capability and making it more difficult to support the increasing number of retirees.
The Russian government has not been willing to discuss in detail and in public what this means, but some regional experts, who focus on what is happening in their regions as the number of working age people falls from outmigration or falling birthrates earlier, are doing so – and drawing apocalyptic conclusions.
One of the most detailed and intriguing discussions of the ways in which declines in working-age population are having a negative impact on investment and growth is provided by Vladimir Tikhomirov for the Transbaikal (mkchita.ru/economics/2019/05/28/pouekhali-tut-v-bezlyudnom-zabaykale-namechennye-plany-ne-realizovat.html).
There, as he shows, first the people disappear, then investments, and then any hope for economic development in the future.