New policies needed to address worrying demographic trends in Russia

Apr 24, 2009

Deaths from external causes in Russia are three times higher than in Western countries

Moscow – Russia suffers from short life expectancy, low birth rates, shrinking and aging population, and a lack of clear immigration policy, says the Human Development Report: Russia Facing Demographic Challenges. Russia’s population dropped by 12 million people during the last 16 years; and if policies do not change, the Russian Statistical Committee forecast that by 2025 Russia’s population may shrink by an additional 11 million. The report released today argues that these demographic challenges threaten the country’s economic and social security, and must be urgently tackled.

The Report suggests two strategic policy responses: one should aim to radically change the mortality rates, increase life expectancy, and decrease external causes of deaths by promoting an active and healthy life style. The other should aim at adapting social services and institutions to the needs of the aging population.

Migration can, and has, helped to fill or reduce demographic gaps and boost the workforce in order to support the economic growth. In the past 16 years, 5.7 million immigrants have come to Russia, compensating for the population drop and the adverse changes in the age structure. However, the report argues that international migration would only be the feasible solution if the Russian society can adjust and begins to accept the immigrants. This would entail a change of public attitude and perception of immigrants.

Video: Russia facing demographic challenges


Contact Information

For additional information, please contact Victoria Zotikova, UNDP Communications Analyst at +7 495 787 21 15/769 97 91 or by E-mail:

Download the report here:

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