The natural decline of Russians

For the first time in 10 years Russia’s population may begin to decline at the end of this year. What is the historical significance of one of the most important demographic indicators we can expect as the birth rate has increased on Sakhalin, and who can argue with statistics, head of laboratory of monitoring of risks of socio-political destabilization of the HSE Andrey Korotayev.

Photo: Evija Trifanova / LETA

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According to Rosstat, in January-may 2018 the population of Russia decreased by 77.8 per thousand people and on 1 June was 146,8 million. The previous two years during the same period was growth.

Increased in comparison with the previous year the number of deaths and number of births decreases, and for the first 5 months of the year, the death rate exceeded the birth rate is 1.2 times. Increased natural population decline, which previously was compensated by migration, but now this is not enough.

Experts predict the imminent decline of the population. This is a real problem or not so bad?

The problem is really real. The natural decline began two years ago, but last year has increased markedly – no longer overlap in migration growth. Based on the processes clear and known. First of all, the so-called demographic hole in the catastrophic fall in the birth rate in the late 80’s-early 90’s.

Andrey Korotayev

Adulthood comes a reduced generation of those years, and therefore, there is a rapid decline of women of childbearing age. According to the calculations, since the beginning of 2010 to the beginning of 2020-ies it will be reduced almost twice. This is a historical figure. In the early 2010s, the decline in the number of women of childbearing age were covered by total fertility rate, now, and he fell.

The natural decrease of the population quite logically started in 2016 on the back of strong economic crisis. During the crisis, the birth rate always falls. For example, in those States during the great depression was a collapse in the birth rate. We, of course, the crisis was not of such force, but nevertheless.

Again in 2008-09, during the crisis, the decline in the fertility rate was not because the crisis took place against the background of strong measures to support fertility. But we are still in 2013-14 said that if urgently not to take strong new measures to boost the birth rate, it will start to fall. Our forecast was justified, but in principle, the calculations show that this problem can be solved, although quite difficult.

– How to deal with population decline?

There are two methods: to raise birth rates and reduce mortality. In the may decree focused on reducing mortality and rather weak growth in the birth rate. The problem of population decline is proposed to solve due to the sharp rise in life expectancy to 78 years by 2024. Not many experts really hope make it to this level. A more realistic option is that we are in 2024 will reach 76 years.

In addition, it is necessary to raise the total fertility rate, now it is 1.7 children per woman. It is known to provide natural sustainability of the population reproduction, it is necessary to 2.05-2.1 per woman.

In principle, it is possible that demonstrated Sakhalin. There in 2016, the factor of 2.16 and reached. That is subject to the adoption of good package of measures to support the birth rate of 2.05 children per woman in Russia can be achieved.

– That may include this package?

On Sakhalin at the birth of their first child – a mortgage of 3% plus somewhere 500 thousand for a down payment. At the birth of second child mortgage resets to somewhere around a million plus a million for the down payment. Third child – a zero mortgage and half of the fee is repaid. Also, the birth of the first child families supposed one-time payment in the amount of 50 thousand rubles. Action, of course, expensive, but they work.

We’ve been offered demographic a maneuver to raise the excise tax on tobacco, as did Romania and Bulgaria. This plus trillion rubles to the budget. By these means it is possible for the whole of Russia to distribute Sakhalin measures to support fertility.

While this mortality will reduce. The excise increase on tobacco is the best way to reduce Smoking. If the price of tobacco is set, at least in Romania or Bulgaria, teenagers for the money just will not buy cigarettes.

– Why rely on a reduction in mortality rather than an increase in the birth rate?

Perhaps, there was uncertainty after the reduction of fertility in the past year. In my opinion, a little to the other extreme now hit. At the time, was not enough to be developed targets to reduce deaths and here did even better than necessary. In principle, it is useful. Allows you to lobby for increased health care costs because 78 years to 2024, almost unreal. On the other hand, the expert community will lead an active campaign about the fact that you need targets for fertility to rise. The 1.7 is low, below the target past the may decrees, which do not quite reasonable.

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