For the first time in the last 10 years, the Federal State Statistics Service has been forced to state that the population of Russia in January-October 2018 has decreased by 78,700 people. This is stated in the Report, which prepared the FSSS. According to the ministry, the natural population decline in 10 months was 180.5 thousand people, and the migration increase was 101.8 thousand people.
Migration growth only by 56.4% offset the natural population decline. In addition, sociologists recorded a natural population growth in only 22 regions of Russia.
Experts say that the main reason for the decline in the population is the decline in the birth rate, since the small generation of the 1990s has entered the so-called “child-bearing age”.
Among the reasons for which the migration increase has fallen is the reduction in the number of migrants from Ukraine and Central Asia.
Thus, the population of Russia will decline for the first time in ten years (as of November 1, the total population was 146.8 million people). The last time such a situation was recorded in 2008: then the migration inflow could not compensate for the natural decline, because of which the permanent population of the country decreased by 10.3 thousand people, noted Nikita Mkrtchyan, leading researcher at ISAF RANEPA.
The main reason for the natural decline is the reduction of the birth rate. In January – October 2018, the birth rate was 1.352 million people, which is 66 thousand less than last year. Decreased fertility was noted in 83 regions. This trend is due to the fact that a small generation of the 1990s has entered the childbearing age.
The deterioration of the financial situation of citizens played a significant role in the fall in the birth rate, the expert noted. Real incomes of Russians have been declining over the past four years.
To stimulate fertility and prevent a decline in population, authorities have introduced new types of support for low-income families. From January 1, 2018, Russian families received the right to receive a monthly payment in connection with the birth of their first and second children (the payment is made from the funds of the parent capital). However, only half of families in need receive benefits for the firstborn, and the Ministry of Labor may review the criteria for granting payments.
The reduction in the total population of the country means that the number of Russians of working age will steadily decrease, and the number of senior citizens will grow. The reduction in labor will inhibit the growth of the country’s economy, believes Vladimir Tikhomirov, chief economist at BCS. In the Russian labor market, there is already a shortage of personnel, and unemployment is at a historically minimal level (in November, according to FSSS, it is 4.8%).
The decrease in the working-age population will increase the burden on working citizens for the maintenance of pensioners. Pension reform (from January 1, 2019, the retirement age will be phased in – over ten years – increased for men and women by five years, to 65 and 60 years respectively) will only postpone the problem by 10-15 years, experts say. To solve the problem of reducing the working population can only increase fertility.
Based on FSSS and RBC