Staunton, Jan. 8 – Because births lag nine months behind the pdecision to have children, the events of last year involving the war in Ukraine and uncertainty about mobilization and the future mean that by the end of 2023 or in early 2024, Russia will have the lowest number of births per year in its history, Igor Yefremov says.
The Gaidar Economic Policy Institute demographer says that just throwing more money at the problem as the government now plans or even more carefully targeting aid to boost births in both rural areas and cities won’t do much. The overall situation people feel themselves to be in must be changed (ng.ru/economics/2023-01-08/1_8628_demography.html).
The number of births in Russia has been falling for seven straight years. In the first ten months of 2022, it fell by six percent over the same period in 2021; and that decline occurred before the expanded invasion of Ukraine, partial mobilization, and the economic problems and personal uncertainties arising from the war.
Government experts are currently trying to come up with a solution. Most of their attention is focusing on better targeting of maternal capital and other assistance to families with children. At present, the system is working relatively well in rural areas but not in cities where the birthrate continues to fall.
Consequently, a consensus is emerging in the government that more money should go to women in cities rather than in the regions. But Yefremov warns that such an approach won’t work because regions are demographically diverse and so Moscow will not be able to achieve the results it seeks.
Only by changing the environment in which potential parents can decide to have children or not is there any chance that Russia will have any hope of boosting birthrates.