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Analysis of long-term demographic trends in Russia and their socioeconomic consequences

Priority areas of development: sociology
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

Object of the study:  Modern and future demographic situation in Russia, long-term trends in the major demographic processes - fertility, mortality, migration, changes in population size and in structural characteristics of the population - and the possible impact of conjunctural and fundamental demographic changes on economic and social development of the country.

Goal of the research: Comprehensive study of the determinants and mechanisms that form the demographic trends in Russia, using the methods of demographic analysis and population projections. Evaluation of the effects of changes in the demographic composition of the population of the Russian Federation for socio-economic development of the country, taking into account different scenarios of demographic forecast.

Methodology: The methodological basis of the research is the Demographic Transition theory, including its more detailed specifications ("epidemiological transition", "second" and "third" demographic transitions). We used and developed ideas about the demographic transition as a system of demographic modernization, which, in turn, is seen against the background of economic and socio-cultural changes taking as a universal, and as well as nationally specific phenomenon. This approach provides a basis for understanding the demographic changes of recent decades both in view of global trends and identity development in Russia and the former Soviet Union in the twentieth century during the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, and opens the way to understanding the demographic and socio-economic prospects of the country and its regions .

Methodological significance in the analysis and prediction of the demographic situation are cohort approach, which not only provide a clearer understanding of the historical societal and demographic changes, but also allows to distinguish long-term changes and temporal, conjectural fluctuations demographic indicators characterizing the formation of family, fertility, mortality for generations born and socialized in different years, and historical periods.

To study the changes in mortality and public health the latest modeling techniques, are involved including the estimates of relatively new indicator of "healthy life expectancy", differentiated by specific social groups.

In the field of demographic projections methodology we use multi-variant projections to take into account the diversity of scenarios of fertility, mortality, and migration and their socio-economic consequences. This approach can significantly extend the analytical framework, compared with official population forecasts provided by Rosstat.

The paper also widely used classical methods of demographic analysis: life tables by causes of death, fertility tables by birth order, nuptiality tables, including first marriage tables, and divorce tables.

Empirical base of the study.

This study is based on:

  • Official statistical data provided by ROSSTAT, including the results of 2010 Census and previous population censuses and microcensuses; detailed data from the annual vital and migration statistics reports, the annual estimates of population size and age and sex composition of population, results of population projections, results of representative sample surveys such as “Reproductive Health Survey”, “Survey on Life Conditions”, “Employment Survey” and some others;
  • statistical data provided by Russia’s Federal Ministries and Agencies: Public Health, Interior Affairs, Labour and Social Development, The Federal Migration Service, the Social Insurance Fund;
  • International comparative data of sample surveys carried out in Russia, in particular, data from three waves of the panel study "Parents and children, men and women in family and society"/RusGGS (2004, 2007 and 2011); data from series of waves of "Russian longitudinal monitoring survey of the economic situation and health»/RLMS; “European Social Survey”/RusESS and others;
  • The information contained in international demographic databases: United Nations, WHO, OECD, EuroStat Demographic Database, Human Mortality Database, Human Fertility Database, as well as databases HSE IDEM and some others;
  • Data from national statistical offices of the European countries and the CIS countries, including the results of national population censuses, administrative data records accounting national citizens, foreign citizens and migrants of different categories.

Key results of the research include:

  • Analytical characteristics of components of the population size changes in Russian Federation and its regions, changes in the spatial distribution of the Russia’s population and its urban and rural components on the basis of long time series of vital statistics and migration data;
  • Analysis of the latest trends in family formation and dissolution of marital unions and non-marital partnerships in Russia in the context of long-term processes and international experience of developed countries with the involvement of new data and authors’ estimates, and important statistical information for 2011-2013 on marriage, divorce, become recently available for processing;
  • An updated analysis of fertility trends and their response to demographic policy measures, as well as the evolution of these measures, the involvement the newly available fertility data relating to status of Russian citizenship, marital status, age, and projections of cohort total fertility, analytical review of the situation in family policy, family planning and abortion prevalence in Russia's regions;
  • Analytical review of the recent improvements in Russia’s mortality, of the contribution to this process the main age groups and leading causes of death, in-depth analysis of mortality from external causes of death, infant and perinatal mortality;
  • Analytical evaluation of public health indicators, population morbidity indices including those for young people, the prevalence of major abnormalities and disability of the population, as well as an the most recent estimates of healthy life expectancy;
  • Involvement to the national and international auditorium of new data relating to the international and internal migration in Russia: temporary labor migration, and migration for permanent residence, as well as socio-economic and demographic characteristics of migrants and their employment in the different spheres of Russian economy;
  • Assessing the impact of existing measures of state policy (demographic, family and migration policies) on the processes of the population change, showing their relative performance in terms of the objectives set out in the "Concept of Demographic Policy in the Russian Federation until 2025", "Concept of the State Family Policy in the Russian Federation until 2025 "," The Concept of the State Migration policy in the Russian Federation for the period up to 2025” and in the 2012 (May) Presidential Decree;
  • Analysis of scenario hypotheses for changes in baseline demographic processes, size and demographic structure of the population for the period up to 2030, the findings on the possible impact of predicted demographic changes on the economic and social development of Russia (namely decrease in the number and proportion of people of working age, reducing the number of young people, the aging of population and labor force, the increase in demographic dependency ratios);
  • Assess the impact of the expected demographic trends on the labor market situation, on the education, and on the pension system until 2030 

Level of implementation,  recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results

Implementation of the results.

In 2014, long-term research activities of Institute of Demography, HSE in field of demographic analysis and projections (including studies of the current year) were used in the preparation of the new official population projections prepared by ROSSTAT (RF Federal Statistical Service) for the period up to 2050. There is also the continued cooperation with the RF Ministry of Economic Development in assessments of prospective changes in demographic composition of the Russia’s population for the socio-economic development of the country.

The results of research provided by IDEM regularly used by Rosstat, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Labour and Social Development, Ministry of Health in the development of official population projections for Russia and its regions, with the development of measures to improve the socio- demographic, family and migration policy. Methodological approaches developed in this project are widely used by Rosstat in order to improve the statistical monitoring of demographic and migration processes, producing research-based assessments of indicators characterizing the demographic situation and its change, in analyzing the results of the National Population Census and national socio-demographic sample surveys.

Supported by IDEM International demographic database with open access in the Internet is widely used at all levels of the state government, for the scientific and educational purposes, as well as in electronic and print media in Russia and abroad.

Results of the study were presented at the European Population Conference (European Population Conference, Budapest, 25-28 June 2014), the International Conference "Migration processes: the approaches of Russia and France. Cross-sight" (St. Petersburg, 10-11 October 2014) and in many workshops, including organized by IDEM. They will be well represented at the XVIth HSE International Conference "Modernization of the economy and society" (7-10 April 2015). The results are regularly published in scientific domestic and foreign editions (in particular, in such demographic journals of the highest rank as "Population and Development Review", "Population Studies", "PlosOne"), as well as in "Demographic Review" and "Demoscope-weekly” published electronically with open access by HSE IDEM.

The results of the study are reflected in the teaching activity, of, including international courses for advanced training on population and socio-economic development, organized with the support of the United Nations for public administration officers, employees of statistics offices and research institutes, employees of international organizations from CIS countries. The last course was held in St.Petersburg-Pushkin, 22 September - 1 October 2014, and among the participants were representatives of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Also IDEM jointly with the Office for Cooperation with the CIS and Baltic countries organized an International Spring School on demography for young scientists and experts from Russia and other countries (Moscow, April 25-30, 2014).

Area of application. The results of the study are recommended for use:

  • in the activities of the executive branches on the federal and regional level to improve the depth and quality of monitoring demographic processes, to improve the system of criteria and indicators used to characterize the population and analyze the effectiveness of public policy;
  • in the work of the supreme bodies of state administration, ministries and departments responsible for the strategic development of family, health and migration policies;
  • to improve the content of educational socio-demographic programs for bachelor and master students in HSE and in other secondary and higher education establishments in Russia, and in universities in CIS and Euro-Asian Countries.


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