Friday, July 11, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Three-Child Russian Families Very Different from Average

Paul Goble


            Staunton, July 11 – In order to boost the birthrate, the Russian government would like to make the three-child family the norm, but at present, only eight percent of Russians are parents of three or more children, and they are older, poorer, more rural and more likely to be related to Russian Orthodox priests than are other Russians.


            In short, the pursuit of a three-child norm is not surprisingly undermined and perhaps even made impossible by the modernization of the country and consequently is unlikely to be realized any time soon, to judge by the findings of an all-Russian survey of parents conducted by the Sreda polling group (


            The survey found that three-child families were more common in the Urals and Siberian Federal Districts than elsewhere and that the religious affiliation of parents “did not have a significant impact” on the number of children, the latter finding intriguing given higher birthrates among Muslim nationalities.


            Parents of three or more children, Sreda reported, “more often than the norm complained about shortages of money and health problems, more often read newspapers and journals, but more rarely went on line and more rarely visited social networks.” But the study found that families were three or more children were more likely than average to say they were happy.


            In addition, the study concluded that larger families more often than others said it was “important to be modest,” lied less often, and said that children should not be aborted if they are found to have developmental abnormalities.  It also found that parents in larger families were somewhat more likely to pray than those with fewer or no children.


            Sreda also said it was “curious” that larger families were twice as more likely to say that “among their relatives are representatives of the Orthodox clergy.”  And the group said it was “interesting” that when asked about “the most tragic events of Russian history,” larger families far more often than others named the war in Chechnya.



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