Most large developed countries have been facing demographic crises, with Russia one of the worst in the past few decades. The Financial Times this week reports, however, that Russia is facing a demographic turnaround: “Rising birth rate, tumbling death rate, and immigration drives population rebound” as the subheadline puts it.
In 2000, deaths at 2.23 million outnumbered the 1.27 million births by nearly a million. In 2013, 1.94 million births finally outnumbered 1.91 million deaths, while the first quarter of 2016 has witnessed a 5 per cent drop in mortality compared to just a year before.
Still, the low birth rates of the 1980s and 1990s will continue to have a reverberating effect on the working-age population, as the children who weren’t born then will obviously not have children and grandchildren. Pension ages are being changed accordingly, rising to 65 for men and 63 for women as compared to 60 and 55 respectively up until now — a Communist hangover ridiculously low in comparison to Western countries.
Despite a perilous economic condition thanks to collapsing commodity prices, Russians clearly feel their country is in a much more stable condition than the topsy-turvy 1990s. There can be no greater vote of confidence in the future than to have children.
Previously: The World Turned Upside Down