Russia Population 2017
The Census results are probably the most reliable indicator, but other estimates of the Russia population are available. Rosstat, the official Government statistics agency, suggested that the population of Russia in 2011 was 141.8 million, and the CIA estimated that the population was even lower: 138.7 million.
Russia is one of the few countries with a negative growth rate, and its 2016 population is estimated at 143.4 million, a decline from an estimated population of 146.3 million in 2015. It's currently the 9th most populous country on earth, despite being the largest by area.
Like most countries, Russia undertakes a census every decade or so. There is no fixed schedule, though, and until 2009 it was not certain that the 2010 census would even take place. It was only a late intervention from the Russian Government,) allocating 10 billion roubles, that prevented it from being pushed back to 2013.
The full Russian census results were released in sections throughout 2011 and 2012; these can be viewed at the official Russian Census website (in Russian language).
For the headline figures, this Russian population infographic created by Russian news agency RIA Novosti is informative.
The estimated 2014 population of Russia, which was 142.5 million, was pretty interesting, as Russia released its latest batch of data, as reported by Forbes. This information shows that Russia's run of increasing births and decreasing deaths may be ending. From January to March 2013, the number of births shrank by about 4,000, while the number of deaths increased the same amount. This means the natural loss of population was about 20% larger than in the previous year.
Russia's natural change in population over the past twenty-five years has been fairly unstable, decreasing in the early 90s, leveling out and then climbing beginning in 2005 before leveling out again.
As you can see from the graphic, almost half of all Russians live in just two areas: the Central and Volga federal districts. The further east you go --to Siberia and beyond -- the less dense the population is.
The graphic also demonstrates that Russia is a fairly ethnically diverse country. Although almost 81% of Russian citizens identify themselves as ethnic Russians, there are also other large ethnic groups. 3.9% of Russians are Tartars, 1.4% Ukrainians, 1.2% Bashkirs, 1.1% Chuvashs and 1.0% Chechens. 3.9% of the population did not declare any ethnic origin.
In total, there are more than 185 different ethnic groups in Russia. Russian is the official language of the country and spoken by almost everyone. There are a total of 35 official languages in Russia, and more than a hundred other languages that do not have official recognition. Some are close to extinction.
The Russian state religion is Orthodox Christianity. There is no official census data on religion, but a 2012 survey indicated that 41% of Russians were Russian Orthodox Christians, 13% were non-religious, 6.5% were Muslims, and 5.5% were "undecided."
Largest Russian Citiies
Moscow is the largest city in Russia with a population of 12.1 million people, which also makes it the 11th largest city in the world. Saint Petersburg is the second largest Russian city, with 5.1 million people, making it the 50th largest city in the world.
Interestingly, Russia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, in part due to its harsh climate. The country has a population density of just 8.4 people per square kilometer (22 per square mile), but the population is most dense in the European area of the country around Saint Petersburg and Moscow.
Russia is mostly an urban country; according to the census results, 74% of Russians live in urban areas -- either towns or cities. Ten other Russian cities have a population of more than a million people. You can see the full list below.
Interestingly, the population of Russia’s cities has increased over the past ten years, reflecting the increasing urbanization of Russia as people move from the countryside to cities in search of better employment.
Russian Population Decline
The Russian population has been steadily declining for almost two decades now. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the population of Russia was recorded at 148,538,000.
Over the next decade, the population decreased at a fairly steady rate of a half percent per year. The causes for this were twofold. Firstly the number of people dying increased due to a fall in living standards, and among men who were hit hardest, alcoholism. The average life expectancy for women held fairly steady at 75 years, but Russian male life expectancy dropped dramatically to 63 years.
Combined with this, birth rates fell sharply as well. From around 17 per 1,000 persons in the mid 1980s, the rate fell to below 10 per 1,000 in the mid-1990s – well below the rate needed to sustain a population. Economic uncertainty was a major factor in this, persuading people against having children.
Russian Population Increase
The Russian economy grew strongly during the first decade of the 20th century, and in 2009 the Russian population saw a small but significant increase. The increase was reported as between 15,000 and 25,000 people and was attributed to a falling death rate and increasing migration.
There are also indications that birth rates may be increasing slightly – probably due to a combination of increased confidence in Russia’s economic prospects and government incentives to new mothers -- especially a $10,000 payment which is made to mothers who have three or more children.
Population growth and demographics have long been a problem for Russia, as a decade ago the nation was losing 1 million people a year, and many doubt Vladimir Putin's plans will work. Time will tell if Russia is able to overcome its issues and see greater growth, as otherwise it will be prone to collapsing infrastructure with its massive land area and untapped natural resources.