Interesting social sciences/Demography

Demographic crisis. Thomas Malthus.

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fertility rate

Demography is a science about the number, structure and change of the population. The population of Russia was reduced by catastrophic rates in the 1990s 20. Because of it schools, kindergartens and day nursery began to close. Most of people blames for it an economic crisis, but the example of the western countries shows that economic prosperity leads to increase in birth rate not always . Growth rates of the population are one of the most drama indicators:

1 million years ago the population of the whole world made only about 125000 people,

300000 years ago – 1 million people,

by Christmas – 285 million people,

in 1930 – 2 billion people,

in 1960 – 3 billion people,

in June, 2018 - 7.6 billion people. [1]

Main reasons of a population explosion:

The population explosion began in Europe in 19 century. There were high levels of birth rate and mortality in the Middle Ages in Europe, children were born much, but children were not able to be treated and the big share of children died of epidemics and hunger therefore increase of population was minimumin the Middle Ages in Europe. For example, Peter the Great had 14 children from two wives out of whom only 3 children has survived. The level of birth rate remained high, but medical care improved and the welfare increased during Modern history. It became the reason of a population explosion during industrialization (Modern history).[2]

The reasons of decrease in birth rate in the modern developed countries:

The birth rate and mortality in Russia, Europe and North America decreased in 20 century therefore increase in population became minimum again, the population of some countries even began to be reduced. It is especially dangerous against the background of a population explosion in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Such demographic situation leads inevitably to migration or even to invasion of the population from Asia, Africa and Latin America to Europe, North America and Russia. Islamic global terrorism became the first harbinger of such invasion.

Forecasts exists about a possibility of World War III of the West against the Islamic states. Russia exists on border of a population explosion, countries exists with high growth rates of the population on the southern borders of Russia – China and the Islamic countries. China tries to fight against the excessive growth of the population with help of taxes on the second child that led to appearance of "underground", unregistered children. The population explosion was in 19 century - the beginning of 20 century in Russia. But the increase in population received as a result of this explosion was destroyed during the awful historical cataclysms in Russia in 20 century. There were demographic problems in the Soviet Union in the late fifties the 20th century which became consequences of World War II as during war very few children were born, and many men died during World War II. Many Russian people migrate from neighboring countries to Russia after the collapse of the USSR. An example of migration was Migration Period in the ancient time – Huns, Avars, Gotts, Vandals, Francs, Angles, Saxons, Lombards, Slavs in 4-7 centuries AD. There was a migration of Arabs, Normans, Proto-Bulgarians, Magyars in 7-9 centuries AD. Migration from Europe to the USA differed in special intensity at 19-20 centuries.

Other reasons of decrease and increase in birth rate in the global world


Boys are born more than girls, but men die at earlier age in comparison with women. The small number of teenagers results in the shortage of work force. City dwellers have less children, than villagers because many children mean many working hands in subsidiary farm for villagers. Highly educated women have few children because highly educated women are forced to spend time first of all for education and career during the childbearing period of his life. Parents make calculation of possible costs and the income before making the decision to give birth to the child. Parents oppose obtaining of high education level by children in big family. Many children die under 1 year of age because this children do not have sufficient immunity to diseases. Sanitary conditions (quality of drinking water and so on), quality of medical care, quality of food influence on death rate.

Population of Russia


There were 146,880,432 permanent residents in Russia for January 1, 2018. Russia takes the ninth place in the world on population on this indicator after China, India, USA, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria and Bangladesh.

Urban population in Russia — 80.9% (2018). The first natural increase of the population was observed in 2013 for the first time since 1991 in Russia. Demographic crisis took place in 1991-2013 in Russia.

The total fertility rate has made 1.777 in Russia in 2015. This coefficient means average quantity of births of children at 1 woman for all her life in hypothetical generation. The total fertility rate has reduced in the world with 4.95 births at 1 woman in the first half of the 1960th years to 2,5648 at 1 woman in 2005−2010. The total fertility rate decreased to 1.57 in the developed countries to the end of the 20th century which is covered by immigration to developed countries from less developed countries. The highest total fertility rate in the world exists in Nigeria — 7.03 (for 2015). The lowest total fertility rate exists in Singapore — 0.81 (for 2015).

Russians make about 81% of the total number of the population of Russia. This share remained stable within the last several decades, despite official excess of mortality over birth rate on 250-750 thousand men in a year. Russians are settled on the territory of the country unevenly: Russians make less than 2% of the population in some regions, such as Chechnya and Russians make 0.8% of the population in Ingushetia. Also six other ethnic groups numbering more than 1 million are allocated — Tatars (3.9%), Ukrainians (1.4%), Bashkirs (1.1%), Chuvashs (1%), Chechens (1%) and Armenians (0.9%). The share "traditionally Muslim" the people makes about 10% in the population of Russia.

Russia was among the top ten states with the lowest ratio of working-age people to pensioners. 2.4 employed men feed of 1 pensioner in the Russian Federation. This ratio is equal 3.5 in China, this ratio is equal 4.4 in the USA. Increase in a share of pensioners as a part of the population of Russia and growth of average life expectancy forced the leadership of Russia to undertake in 2018 pension reform according to which the retirement age for men will be gradually increased from 60 to 65 years, and retirement age for women will be gradually increased for - from 55 to 60 years.

Average life expectancy in Russia continues to increase and makes 71.4 years (for men — 65.9 years, for women — 76.7 years) for the beginning of 2016. At the same time the Israelis who won first place on life expectancy of people live on average 80.1 years, the British — 78.4 years, and Spaniards — 78.8 years.

Demographic crisis in the Russian Federation


The total fertility rate is necessary about 2,1 for maintaining population at one level, but the total fertility rate (1.777) does not reach this level in Russia today. The beginning of modern demographic crisis is attributed to the 1960th years of the 20th century when the narrowed reproduction of the population was created (The total fertility rate decreased from 2.5 to 2), situation was seriously aggravated in the early nineties years of the 20th century when The total fertility rate was sharply reduced (The total fertility rate decreased to 1.157 in 1999). In general similar trends are characteristic of industrial society and the developed countries where demographic transition came to the end.



The highest level of birth rate among the European countries was observed in Russia at the end of XIX — the beginning of the 20th century, population of Russia grew steadily by about 1.7% in year. This rapid growth of the population of the Russian Empire became one of factors which led to the October revolution of 1917 and to Civil war (1918-1922).

Russia endured in the 20th century several demographic crises emergence of which is connected with the next events:

  • World War I (1914−1918) and Civil war in Russia (1918-1922) Despite millions of the dead and left the country peoples, these events did not cause extensive demographic damage for Russia as birth rate level in Russia remained high.
  • Collectivization in the USSR and hunger (1932−1933) which led to the rapid collapse of rural lifestyle and to extremely fast urbanization in 1929−1934.
  • World War II, deportation of the peoples and post-war hunger. There were sharp reduction of number of men after war because of military losses. The birth rate decreases sharply in the years of war and the birth rate were in the years of war only 20-30% of the level of 1938. A sharp falling of child mortality and surge in natural increase took place after 1948 in the USSR thanks to development of the state medicine, thanks to distribution of antibiotics, thanks to restoration and growth of economy and the standard of living. The population of Russia reached pre-war level in 1955.
  • Almost double falling of birth rate in 1988 — 1993 didn't followed by growth of number of abortions unlike Khruschev's time. Increase in death rate was also observed during the periods of economic downturn of the 1990th and the beginning of the 2000th years that it was connected with sharp falling of the standard of living of the population, reduction in the number of jobs and employment, an increase in crime and consumption of alcohol, drugs and their substitutes per capita (especially among youth and the population at working-age).

The total fertility rate decreased from 6.80 to 1.21 children on one woman from 1925 to 2000 in Russia. From them 71% of the general decrease fall on 1925−1955. Despite this recession and losses as a result of war, the population of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) grew by 25 million for 1925−1955. The sharp slowdown of the total fertility rate occurred in the early 1990th of the 20th century, mortality in Russia has begun to exceed birth rate steadily in the same time. The birth rate began to grow gradually since 2009. The population in Russia managed to be restored after the first three crises. The total fertility rate fell in RSFSR lower than the level of simple reproduction of generations in 1964. Small growth of birth rate happened in 1985-87 that was connected with short-term effect of an antialcoholic campaign. However the birth rate began to fall since 1988, and the fourth demographic crisis has begun soon. This fourth demographic crisis was connected with disintegration of the country, with begining of economic reforms ("shock therapy"), with reduction of jobs and falling of the standard of living. Natural losses of the population were recorded for the first time in 1992. The population of Russia was reduced on 1.8 million (for 1.3%) from 1989 to 2002. Mortality was especially high among the Russian men. The natural decline of the population has been decreasing since 2001 almost constantly. The population of Russia decreased on several hundred thousand people annually until 2008. Natural losses of the population of Russia (−362 000 peoples) for 97% were compensated by migration gain (351700 peoples) in 2008, therefore decrease of population was stopped practically. Overall, the country's population grew for the first time in 2011 and the country's population continued to grow mainly due to migration growth, as the birth rate and mortality rate of Russia 's indigenous population are roughly equal today.

Reasons of modern demographic crisis in Russia:

  • The birth rate fell in Russia to the level of the developed countries as a result of demographic transition while decline in mortality did not reach the corresponding indicators of the developed countries yet.
  • Low standard of living of a considerable part of the population, lack of confidence in tomorrow.
  • The actual lack of real state support of motherhood and the childhood (except for "maternity capital"), the symbolical level of "children's" grants.
  • Very high level of female employment (because of impossibility to provide family only from the income of the husband).

Thus, too fast introduction of the market competition and a private property in Russia led to demographic crisis. But Russia just had no other exit.

Mortality and life expectancy in Russia


As of October, 2016, according to Central Intelligence Agency, Russia takes the tenth place among the countries of the world on mortality indicators on 1000 people of the population in Russia (13,6 people a year die). Mortality among the Russian men and women at working-age above than Central European indicator. However child mortality in Russia is only a little higher, than on average in Europe.

Main threats of life:

  • Alcoholic drinks. Steady decline in mortality from an alcoholic poisoning has begun since 2004 in Russia. 21,3 thousand people had died of this reason in 2009 that is the lowest indicator after 1992. It was succeeded to reduce consumption of alcohol on 11% in Russia from 2000 to 2014, and the consumption of hard liquors (vodka) managed to be reduced on 27%. It is result of introduction of "soft" prohibitive measures: restrictions on alcohol trade in stalls, restrictions on alcohol trade in the evening and at night, increase in excises. Demographers assume that reduction of alcohol consumption allowed to achieve of decrease of the Russian supermortality among men.
  • Tobacco smoking. 35% of Russians smoke of tobacco today. (20% from them smoke one pack of cigarettes or more in one day).
  • High level of violence in society. Steady decrease in number of murders and suicides is observed since 2002 in Russia. The number of suicides decreased before 37,6 thousand by 2009 and number of murders decreased before 21,4 thousand in 2009 (the lowest indicators after 1990).
  • Road accidents. 30,1 thousand people died in 2009 in Russia as a result of accidents on transport . Steady decline in mortality as a result of road accidents is observed at last years.
  • Bad ecological situation.
  • Such "social" diseases as syphilis and tuberculosis. Steady decrease in incidence of syphilis and stabilization of incidence of tuberculosis is observed at last years. Tuberculosis is especially widespread in the Russian prisons.

Statistics of abortions in Russia


There was a wide circulation of abortions since the end of the 1920th years. The prohibition of abortions in 1937 did not lead to their significant reduction. Prosecution for abortions is stopped since 1954 in the USSR, and the free abortions were allowed again since November, 1955, this abortions were carried out at the request of the woman only in medical institutions that led to significant increase in number of abortions. The USSR ranked among the first in the world in the number of abortions per number of children born. The peak of number of abortions fell on 1965 — 5.6 million abortions that was maximum for all history of Russia.

The number of abortions was reduced from 4,103,400 to 989,375 abortions in one year from 1990 to 2011, that is in 4 times. There were 206 abortions on 100 births in 1990, and already there were 55 abortions on 100 births in 2011. But after all Russia won first place in the list of 40 industrialized countries of the world on max number of abortions on number of born children in 2010. The maximum of the relation of number of abortions to number of born children was observed in the late 1960th years (254/100), the second smaller peak — in 1993 (235/100).

Possible consequences of low birth rate in Russia:

  • Ageing of the total labour force in the country and, as a result, raising the retirement age, the shortage of human resources. Unemployment in Russia reached a historic low in May, 2014, in particular, because of reduction of economically active population before 75.3 million.
  • Shortage of the сonscription contingent to the army. The number of school students in Russia was reduced on 21.7% from 2000 to 2017. The number of men of military age can be reduced more than on a third to 2020. Low population density in the Russian Far East increases danger of unleashing of the military conflict with China. Slightly less than 6.3 million people live in the Russian Far East. For comparison, the population of Northeast China was 120 million people, the population of Japan was 130.4 million people for 2010.

Population decline affects on the Russian people more than on other peoples of Russia. So decline of population was observed in inhabited mainly Russian regions with the general growth of the population in Russia in all the areas in 2015. The lowest birth rate exists in the Russian regions in the Russian Federation, and the highest birth rate was observed in the Russian Federation in the national republics of the Caucasus, Tuva, Altai Republic, Sakha Republic, Buryatia.

Ways of recovery from the crisis:

  • Creation of a large number of new, highly skilled and highly paid jobs.
  • Measures of social and economic support and help to families with children.

State population policy in Russian federation today


"The concept of population policy of the Russian Federation until 2025" was adopted in 2007. Single payments are provided to their parents in Russia at the birth of children. Monthly allowances are paid to needy families on keeping of children.

Monthly payment of a grant of mother at the birth of the first child is entered since January 1, 2018 at a rate of 1 living wage before achievement of age of the child in 1.5 years. President of Russia Vladimir Putin formulated a number of measures for stimulation of birth rate in the message to Federal Assembly in 2006, including large payments at the birth of the second child. In particular, the law about "maternity capital" was adopted. According to this law money is allocated to families for participation in a mortgage on purchase of housing, payment of education, an increase to pension savings, etc. Maternity capital is 453026 rubles (6761 dollars) for the birth of one child in 2018 and for the birth of the second, third or subsequent children, respectively.

There is a wish to believe that the Russian people will be able to solve a demographic problem in the future.

Citations and references.

  1. Neil Smelser. Sociology. New-Jersey Prentice Hall 1988. Chapter 18. Dynamics of population. World population.
  2. Neil Smelser. Sociology. New-Jersey Prentice Hall 1988. Chapter 18. Dynamics of population. World population.