Saturday, November 23, 2019

Population Decline in Russia

Population Decline in Russia Russian President Vladimir Putin recently directed his nations parliament to develop a plan to reduce the countrys falling birthrate. In a speech to parliament on May 10, 2006, Putin called the problem of Russias dramatically declining population, The most acute problem of contemporary Russia. The president called on parliament to provide incentives for couples to have a second child to increase the birth rate in order to stop the countrys plummeting population. Russias population peaked in the early 1990s (at the time of the end of the Soviet Union) with about 148 million people in the country. Today, Russias population is approximately 143 million. The United States Census Bureau estimates that Russias population will decline from the current 143 million to a mere 111 million by 2050, a loss of more than 30 million people and a decrease of more than 20%. The primary causes of Russias population decrease and loss of about 700,000 to 800,000 citizens each year are a high death rate, low birth rate, high rate of abortions, and a low level of immigration. High Death Rate Russia has a very high death rate of 15 deaths per 1000 people per year. This is far higher than the worlds average death rate of just under 9. The death rate in the U.S. is 8 per 1000 and for the United Kingdom its 10 per 1000. Alcohol-related deaths in Russia are very high and alcohol-related emergencies represent the bulk of emergency room visits in the country. With this high death rate, Russian life expectancy is low- the World Health Organization estimates the life expectancy of Russian men at 59 years while womens life expectancy is considerably better at 72 years. This difference is primarily a result of high rates of alcoholism among males. Low Birth Rate Understandably, due to these high rates of alcoholism and economic hardship, women feel less than encouraged to have children in Russia. Russias total fertility rate is low at 1.3 births per woman. This number represents the number of children each Russian woman has during her lifetime. A replacement total fertility rate to maintain a stable population is 2.1 births per woman. Obviously, with such a low total fertility rate Russian women are contributing to a declining population. The birth rate in the country is also quite low; the crude birth rate is 10 births per 1000 people. The world average is just over 20 per 1000 and in the U.S. the rate is 14 per 1000. Abortion Rates During the Soviet era, abortion was quite common and was utilized as a method of birth control. That technique remains common and quite popular today, keeping the countrys birth rate exceptionally low. According to a Russian news source, there are more abortions than births in Russia. The online news source reported that in 2004 1.6 million women had abortions in Russia while 1.5 million gave birth. In 2003, the BBC reported that Russia had, 13 terminations for every 10 live births. Immigration Additionally, immigration into Russia is low- immigrants are primarily a trickle of ethnic Russians moving out of former republics (but now independent countries) of the Soviet Union. Brain drain and emigration from Russia to Western Europe and other parts of the world is high as native Russians seek to better their economic situation. Putin himself explored the issues surrounding the low birth rate during his speech, asking What has prevented a young family, a young woman, from making this decision? The answers are obvious: low incomes, a lack of normal housing, doubts about the level of medical services and quality education. At times, there are doubts about the ability to provide enough food.

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