Between 1993 and 2008, Russia’s population saw a considerable decline in its population from 148.37 million to 143.25. During this time, Russia experienced low birth rates and abnormally high death rates. Since then, the population has increased again to 145.93 million; however, the population is expected to reach its peak at the end of 2020 and is projected to start declining again.
Russia has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world of 1.58 births per woman, which is also below the replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman. Russia also has one of the oldest populations in the world with an average age of 40.3 years. Further contributing to Russia’s population decline is a low level of immigration.
While projections into the future of Russia are very difficult, it's estimated that Russia will fall from the 9th most populous country to 17th by 2050. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced that he plans to boost Russia's dwindling population by encouraging immigration and higher birth rates, but estimates show that Russia's population will drop from 2014's 142 million to only 128 million by 2050.
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.
The rate of change of the Russian population is very close to 0% at present and the population isn't expected to change much by 2020. Further in the future, it is expected that the population will continue to decline slowly, getting down to 140 million by 2030, and 136 million by 2040.
|Russia Population (as of 8/24/2023)||144,370,509|
|Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2023)||144,444,359|
|Births per Day||3,766|
|Deaths per Day||4,760|
|Migrations per Day||-373|
|Net Change per Day||-1,368|
|Population Change Since Jan. 1||-321,480|
Net decrease of 1 person every 1.05 minutes
Population estimates based on interpolation of data from World Population Prospects
|One birth every 23 seconds|
|One death every 18 seconds|
|One emigrant every 3.87 minutes|
|Net loss of one person every 1.05 minutes|
Russia is one of the few countries with a negative growth rate, declining from an estimated population of 146.3 million in 2015.
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 the 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.
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.
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.
There are people over age 18 in Russia.
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.
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."
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.