Moscow is the capital city and most populous federal subject of Russia, and the northernmost megacity on the planet. It's also the second most populous city in Europe and the 11th largest city proper on earth. In 2016, the estimated population was 12.19 million.
City and Population Size
At its last census in 2010, Moscow had a population of 11.5 million. In 2012, its territory expanded from 1,000 to 2,511 square kilometers, which added an additional 233,000 people. As Russia's official figures are not believed to be completely accurate, and taking into consideration the high rates of illegal immigration, the true figure today may be anywhere from 13 to 17 million, although 2016 estimates put the population right under 13 million. The next census is planned for 2020, so we will have to wait for the fresh data to roll in.
Moscow's population of about 12.19 million makes it the 6th largest city in the world and the most populous city in Russia.
Population Density of Moscow
Moscow has a density of 8,537.2 people per square kilometer.
Moscow is run by one mayor, but the city is actually divided into 12 administrative okrugs and 123 districts, each with its own coat of arms and flags and individual heads of each area. The largest administrative okrugs include:
- Southern Okrug: 1.59 million
- Eastern Okrug: 1.39 million
- North-Eastern Okrug: 1.24 million
- Northern Okrug: 1.11 million
- South-Eastern Okrug: 1.12 million
According to the 2010 Census, the ethnic composition of Moscow was:
- Russian: 91.6%
- Ukranian: 1.42%
- Tatar: 1.38%
- Armenian: 0.98%
- Azeri: 0.5%
- Jews: 0.49%
- Belarusian: 0.4%
- Uzbek: 0.3%
- Tajik: 0.2%
- Moldovan: 0.2%
- Mordvin: 0.2%
- Chechen: 0.1%
- Chuvash: 0.1%
- Ossetians: 0.1%
- Other: 1.6%
There was an additional 668,000 people registered in databases that could not declare an ethnicity.
Moscow's official population is based on its residents with "permanent residency." It's believed there are an additional 1.8 million official "guests" on temporary residency through visas or documentation. Those without documentation, mostly from Central Asia, are believed to add another 1 million people.
The predominant religion is Christianity, with the Russian Orthodox Church being the most popular, as Moscow is the capital of Orthodox Christianity in the country, and a part of Russia's historical heritage in a law passed 16 years ago. Muslims, meanwhile, account for 14% of the city's population.
Interestingly, Moscow also had the largest community of billionaires in the world in 2013. The country fell to the number three spot in 2016, trailing behind New York City and Hong Kong.
Moscow Population Growth
It's hard to even estimate where Moscow is today, as the number of migrants (legal and illegal) has made it impossible to keep track of Russia and Europe's largest city. While the official figure was 11.5 million as of 2010, this number could really be as high as 17 million in 2016, and this makes it difficult to pinpoint where Moscow is going in the coming decades.
Migrants, both legal and illegal, have been coming to Moscow in droves from other parts of Russia and former Soviet republics in search of better living conditions and higher pay, and this will continue as long as Moscow offers higher standards than the rest of Russia. The average monthly salary in the state is 61,200 roubles, which is almost double the nationwide average.
Death rates have been higher than birth rates in Moscow for years, and its growth is now solely dependent on migration. While Russia's population is shrinking (although slower than previously expected), more people continue to move to Moscow, which grew 10.9% from 2002 to 2010, while the country's population decreased 1.2%.
Time will tell how high Moscow's population can grow in the next twenty years, but its growth rate will certainly outpace Russia's.