Good news from Russia: it looks like the nation’s rate of demographic decline is definitively slowing. Russia still faces a significant population loss over the next few decades, but it will not be as severe as it would have been if the fertility rate of a few years ago had continued.
According to Russia Today, there’s somewhat of a baby boom in progress now:
Biggest baby boom since Soviet times
Only a year ago, Russia’s demographic crisis was in the spotlight. The country was depopulating at a rate of 700,000 a year. It drove the government to declare 2008 the year of the family and to come up with policies to boost the birth rate. And results show they seem to be working.
The number of babies born last year jumped to about two million — up 8.3 per cent from the year before and a post-Soviet record.
At 141.9 million, Russia’s population is the world’s eighth biggest. But that won’t last long. Projections show it will have one of highest rates of population decline between now and 2050, according to the Population Reference Bureau and Russia’s State Statistics Service.
The number of babies born last year jumped to about 1.6 million — up 20 per cent on last year and a post-Soviet record.
Another piece of good news is that the rate of decline is slowing. Russia is now expected to have 110.1 million people in 2050, up from the 109.4 million projected last year.
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New government programmes support first-time mothers as well as working mums willing to have more kids after a certain age.
Leading gynecologist Mark Kurtser says: “There is definitely an age shift within women giving birth today. There are many more second, third and fourth births, and, accordingly, the women giving birth are older”.
Elena Kondratinskaya is a violinist and plays in an orchestra. She had her first baby at the age of 30 and is now discovering the pros and cons of having a child with government support and encouragement.
“The doctor was really nice, so were the hospital staff. It was clean and you could get professional help or advice at any time of the day. The new baby boom in Russia has brought in a change of attitude,” Kondratinskaya says.
I’ll be interested to see the statistics on the incidence of alcoholism. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were an inverse correlation with the birth rate.
This is good news, and not just for Russia. A strong Russia with a wealth of stable and growing families, especially when accompanied by the renewal of the Orthodox Church, is a boon for the entire West. The imminent depopulation and impoverishment of the country was in nobody’s interests.
Except possibly the Chinese, of course.
Hat tip: LF.