Sunday, April 11, 2021

Almost a Third of Russians Will Be Elderly by 2030, Forcing Moscow to Change Course

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 8 – The combination of falling birthrates and lengthening life expectancies means that nine years from now, almost one in every three Russians will be elderly. While that percentage can be lowered by raising the retirement age again, Russia will be more elderly than at any point before in its history.

            This aging of the population is part of a worldwide trend among developed countries, and Russia ranks only in the middle of that development. But it poses serious problems for a country that has not wanted to address the problems of the elderly or those the elderly present by their relative growth to the number of working age adults and children.

            Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova points out that “the number of the population older that working-age is growing. The share of people of this older age group by 2030 will form practically 29 percent of the population of the country, and this means that we must prepare for this” (

            According to her, between 2018 and 2024, the number of pensioners will increase from 37.6 million to 40.8 million even as the total population falls. And then by 2030, there will be 43.7 million people in this category even as the Russian total falls still further. That puts real burdens on the government and society that neither has had to bear before.

            Just how radical a change this is for Moscow can be seen if one recalls that in the 1930s, nearly 40 percent of the Soviet population was under 21, a pattern that gave the regime far more possibilities to pursue extensive economic growth. Now, the situation has been reversed, and intensive development must dominate if a decline in living standards is to be avoided.

            This tectonic change is going to drive much Russian government and business decision making over the next several decades, however much the current powers that be hope to continue as they are doing over the course of that period. If the regime and its business allies don’t adapt, they will face a population even more sullen and more angry than the one they see now.

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