Staunton, Oct. 14 – Over the last decade, the average size of apartments in the city of Moscow have fallen from 66 square meters to 52 square meters, the result of stagnating incomes and the desire to pack as many people into a small area as possible but one that is putting further downward pressure on birthrates, Russian experts say.
Young people just starting out on their own are in the worst situation in this regard, these experts say. Their incomes are lower and their apartments smaller at precisely the time when they should be having children. Ever small apartments mean that they choose not to have children or at least not the three that Moscow wants them to (nakanune.ru/articles/121415/).
For Russia as a whole, more than 40 percent of all households have only one member; and most of the rest have no more than two. If apartments don’t start growing in size, that is unlikely to change for the better as far as demographic growth is concerned. Russians simply can’t think about having them when they have no room.
There is another consequence and possible cause of the declining size of apartments: Urban Russians are spending ever larger portions of their time outside their residences, choosing to go to cafes or restaurants rather than prepare food at home. That too, these experts suggest, depresses birthrates as well.