Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Demographics of Russia

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Growth rate  0.19% (2014 est.)
Fertility rate  1.78 (2015)
Life expectancy  71.4 years (2015)
Demographics of Russia

Population  144,498,215 (excluding Crimea), 146.8 million (including Crimea)
Birth rate  13.3 births/1,000 population (2015)
Death rate  13.0 deaths/1,000 population (2015)

The demographics of Russia is about the demographic features of the population of the Russian Federation including population growth, population density, ethnic composition, education level, health, economic status and other aspects.


Map of Russia

As of 1 January 2017, the population of Russia is 144,498,215 excluding Crimea, whose annexation is not recognized by the overwhelming majority of the international community. Including Crimea and Sevastopol, the population stands at 146,838,993.

As of 2015, Russian TFR of 1.777 children per woman was the highest in Eastern, Southern and Central Europe. In 2013, Russia experienced the first natural population growth since 1990 at 22,700. Taking into account immigration, the population grew by 294,500.

According to the 2010 census, ethnic Russians make up 81% of the total population. This share remained steady over the last few decades. Six other ethnicities have a population exceeding 1 million – Tatars (3.9%), Ukrainians (1.4%), Bashkir (1.1%), Chuvash (1%), Chechens (1%) and Armenians (0.9%). In total, 160 different ethnic groups live within the Russian Federation's borders.

Russia's population density is 8.4 people per square kilometre (22 per square mile), making it one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. The population is most dense in the European part of the country, with milder climate, centering on Moscow and Saint Petersburg. 74% of the population is urban, making Russia a highly urbanized country.

The population of Russia peaked at 148,689,000 in 1991, just before the breakup of the Soviet Union. Low birth rates and abnormally high death rates caused Russia's population to decline at a 0.5% annual rate, or about 750,000 to 800,000 people per year from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. The UN warned in 2005 that Russia's then population of about 143 million could fall by a third by 2050, if trends did not improve.

The decline slowed considerably in the late 2000s, and in 2009 Russia recorded population growth for the first time in 15 years, adding 23,300. Key reasons for the slow current population growth are improving health care, changing fertility patterns among younger women, falling emigration and steady influx of immigrants from ex-USSR countries. In 2012, Russia's population increased by 292,400.

The number of Russians living in poverty has decreased by 50% since the economic crisis following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and the improving economy had a positive impact on the country's low birth rate. The latter rose from its lowest point of 8.27 births per 1000 people in 1999 to 13.3 per 1000 in 2014. Likewise, the fertility rate rose from its lowest point of 1.157 in 1999 to 1.777 in 2015. 2007 marked the highest growth in birth rates that the country had seen in 25 years, and 2009 marked the highest total birth rate since 1991.

While the Russian birth rate is comparable to that of developed countries, its death rate is much higher, especially among working-age males due to a comparatively high rate of fatalities caused by heart disease and other external causes such as accidents. The Russian death rate in 2010 was 14.3 per 1000 citizens.

Demographic crisis and recovery prospects

The causes for this sharp increase in mortality are widely debated. According to a 2009 report by The Lancet, a British medical journal, mass privatization, an element of the economic-reform package nicknamed shock therapy, clearly correlates with higher mortality rates. The report argues that advocates of economic reforms ignored the human cost of the policies they were promoting, such as unemployment and human suffering, leading to an early death. These conclusions were criticized by The Economist. A WHO press-release in 2000, on the other hand, reported widespread alcohol abuse in Russia being used as the most common explanation of higher men's mortality.

A 2009 study blamed alcohol for more than half the deaths (52%) among Russians aged 15 to 54 in the '90s. For the same demographic, this compares to 4% of deaths for the rest of the world. The study claimed alcohol consumption in mid-90s in Russia averaged 10.5 litres, and was based on personal interviews conducted in three Siberian industrial cities, Barnaul, Biysk and Omsk.

According to the Russian demographic publication Demoscope, the rising male death rate was a long-term trend from 1960 to 2005. The only significant reversion of the trend was caused by Mikhail Gorbachev's anti-alcohol campaign, but its effect was only temporary. According to the publication, the sharp rise of death rates in the early 1990s was caused by the exhaustion of the effect of the anti-alcohol campaign, while the market reforms were only of secondary importance. The authors also claimed the Lancet's study is flawed because it used the 1985 death rate as the base, while that was in fact the very maximum of the effect of the anti-alcohol campaign.

Other factors contributing to the collapse, along with the economic problems, include the dying off of a relatively large cohort of people born between 1925 and 1940 (between the Russian Civil War and World War II), when Russian birth rates were very high, along with, ironically enough, an "echo boom" in the 1980s that may have satisfied the demand of women for children, leading to a subsequent drop in birth rates.

Government measures to halt the demographic crisis was a key subject of Vladimir Putin's 2006 state of the nation address. As a result, a national programme was developed with the goal to reverse the trend by 2020. Soon after, a study published in 2007 showed that the rate of population decrease had begun to slow: if the net decrease from January to August 2006 was 408,200 people, it was 196,600 in the same period in 2007. The death rate accounted for 357,000 of these, which is 137,000 less than in 2006.

At the same time period in 2007, there were just over one million births in Russia (981,600 in 2006), whilst deaths decreased from 1,475,000 to 1,402,300. In all, the number of deaths exceeded the number of births by 1.3 times, down from 1.5 in 2006. 18 of the 83 provinces showed a natural growth of population (in 2006: 16). The Russian Ministry of Economic Development expressed hope that by 2020 the population would stabilize at 138–139 million, and by 2025, to increase again to its present-day status of 143–145, also raising the life expectancy to 75 years.

The natural population decline continued to slow through 2008—2012 due to declining death rates and increasing birth rates. In 2009 the population saw yearly growth for the first time in 15 years. In September 2009, the Ministry of Health and Social Development reported that Russia recorded natural population growth for the first time in 15 years, with 1,000 more births than deaths in August. In April 2011 the Russian Prime Minister (Russian president as of 2012) Vladimir Putin pledged to spend the 1.5 trillion rubles (£32.5 billion or $54 billion) on various measures to boost Russia's declining birthrate by 30 per cent in the next four years.

In 2012, the birth rate increased again. Russia recorded 1,896,263 births, the highest number since 1990, and even exceeding annual births during the period 1967–1969, with a TFR of 1.691, the highest since 1991. (Source: Vital statistics table below). In fact, Russia, despite having only slightly more people than Japan, has recently had nearly twice as many births as that country. The number of births was expected to fall over the next few years as women born during the baby bust in the 1990s enter their prime childbearing years, but this didn't occur thanks to the continued growth of the TFR. The figures for 2013-2015 again showed around 1.9 million births, about the same as in 2012, but because the number of women of childbearing age is dropping, especially for those in their early 20s, the TFR actually rose to 1.777, which places Russia at first 9 or 10 countries out of 50 developed nations, and at 6th place in Europe.


In 2006, in a bid to compensate for the country's demographic decline, the Russian government started simplifying immigration laws and launched a state program "for providing assistance to voluntary immigration of ethnic Russians from former Soviet republics". In August 2012, as the country saw its first demographic growth since the 1990s, President Putin declared that Russia's population could reach 146 million by 2025, mainly as a result of immigration. Introduced in April 2014 new citizenship rules allowing citizens of former Soviet countries to obtain Russian citizenship If they meet certain criteria (E.g. Preferred language, Ethnicity) have gained strong interest among Russian Speaking residents of those countries (i.e. Ethnic Russians, Germans, Belorussians and Ukrainians).

Contrary to the opinion of the media, Central Asia is only a tiny source of immigrants out of 100.000 ethnic Uzbeks who arrived in Russia for work only 489 settled in Russia permanently. 50000 ethnic Russians from Uzbekistan arrived in the Russian Federation to settle. The largest amount were ethnic Ukrainians-700.000 people by a far majority. However they came because of the Ukraine crisis (another thing to note is that they were legal when an overwhelming majority come undocumented). 1.4 million ethnic Russians repatriated to their homeland in 2014, more than in previous years.

There are an estimated 4 million illegal immigrants from the ex-Soviet states in Russia. In 2012, the Russian Federal Security Service's Border Service stated there had been an increase in illegal migration from the Middle East and Southeast Asia( Note that these were Temporary Contract Migrants) Under legal changes made in 2012, illegal immigrants who are caught will be banned from reentering the country for 10 years.

In recent years, most immigrants have come from Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. This has resulted in ethnic tension. Every year, 300,000 immigrants arrive in Russia, of which Over Three Quarters Are ethnic Russians. In the 1990s, immigration was the main reason Russia did not suffer substantial population decline. It reached a peak of 1,200,000 in 1994, mostly ethnic Russians from ex-Soviet states fleeing for social, economic or political reasons such as the civil war in Tajikistan from 1992 to 1997. In 2014 immigration rose to 2.2 million, 89% of whom were fleeing the conflict in neighbouring Ukraine; so far in 2015 immigration has reached 3 million from the same source.

With the accession of Armenia to the Eurasian Union immigration from Armenia increased by 20%.

Worker migration

Temporary Worker migrants in Russia consists of about 7 million people, most of the temporary workers come from Central Asia the Balkans and East Asia. Most of them work in the construction, cleaning and in the household industries. They primary live in cities such as Moscow, Sochi and Blagoveshchensk. While worker migrants are opposed by Most Russians the mayor of Moscow said that Moscow cannot do without worker migrants. New laws are in place that require worker migrants to be fluent in Russian, know Russian history and laws. The Russian Opposition and most of the Russian population opposes worker migration, Alexei Navalny stated that if he came to power he would introduce a Visa Regime to non-Eurasian Union countries in the former Soviet Union and have a Visa free regime with the European Union and The West to attract Skilled Migrants. The problem of worker migration has become so severe it has caused a rise in Russian nationalism, and spawned groups like Movement Against Illegal Immigration.

Emigration in recent years

Russia's official statistics service, Rosstat, states that 186,382 Russians left the country in 2013 and 122,751 in 2012. These numbers represent a significant increase over the 36,774 that left in 2011 and the 33,578 in 2010.

In 2014, there was a small slowdown in emigration: 171,872 Russian citizens left the country, mostly to Germany and Israel. These were mostly ethnic Germans and Jews.

Population density

8.4 people per square kilometer (2010 Russian Census)

Population distribution

74% urban, 26% rural (2010 Russian Census)

Population growth rate

0.19% (2014 est.)

Median age

total: 39.6 years
male: 36.7 years
female: 41.6 years (2009)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15–64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.46 male(s)/female
total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2009)

Natural increase current

Experts were puzzled with a sharp increase in deaths coincided with a sharp increase in life expectancy. While they have found out that a decrease in potential mothers led to a decrease in births and a rapid rise in fertility.

The number of births during November 2016 increased by 4,008 relative to November 2015 and for the period January–November 2016 births decreased by 29,471 compared to the period January–November 2015.

  • Number of births during November 2015 = 151,074
  • Number of births during November 2016 = 155,082
  • The birth rate for January–November 2016 was 13.0 births per 1,000 population versus 13.2 during the same period in 2015.

  • Number of births from January–November 2015 = 1,772,648
  • Number of births from January–November 2016 = 1,743,177
  • The number of deaths during November 2016 increased by 9,210 but for the period January–November 2016 total deaths decreased by 23,472 compared to the previous year.

  • Number of deaths during November 2015 = 147,626
  • Number of deaths during November 2016 = 156,836
  • The death rate for January–November 2016 was 12.9 per 1,000 population, versus 13.1 during the same period in 2015.

  • Number of deaths from January–November 2015 = 1,748,111
  • Number of deaths from January–November 2016 = 1,724,639
  • Total natural increase during January–November has increased to 0.1 per thousand in 2016 and increase to 0.1 per thousand in 2015.

  • Natural increase in November 2015 = 3,448
  • Natural increase in November 2016 = -1,754
  • Natural increase between January–November 2015 = 24,537
  • Natural increase between January–November 2016 = 18,538
  • Net migration rate

    2.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011)

    Before WWII

    No exact vital statistics for Russia are available for the period before WWII. Andreev made the following estimates:

    Note: Russian data includes Crimea starting in 2014.

    Total fertility rates

    As of 2015, Russian TFR of 1.777 children per woman is highest in Eastern Europe, which means an average Russian family has more children (1.78) than an average family in any other Eastern European country. Still, this rate is far below the replacement rate of 2.1 – 2.14.

    In 1990, just prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia's total fertility rate (TFR) stood at 1.89. Fertility rates had already begun to decline in the late 80s due to the natural progression of Russia's demographic structure, but the rapid and widely negative changes in society following the collapse greatly influenced the rate of decline. The TFR hit a historic low of 1.157 in 1999 and has since begun to rise again, reaching 1.777 in 2015 (growth of 53.6%), The only federal subject of Russia to see a decline in fertility since 1999 is Ingushetia, where the TFR has fallen from 2.443 to 2.278 as of 2014.

    In 2009, 8 of Russia's federal subjects had a TFR above 2.1 children per woman (the approximate minimum required to ensure population replacement), These federal subjects are Chechnya (3.38), Tuva (2.81), Ust-Orda Buryat Okrug (2.73), Agin-Buryat Okrug (2.63), Komi-Permyak (2.16), Evenk Okrug (2.58), Altai Republic (2.36), Nenets Autonomous Okrug (2.1). Of these federal subjects, four have an ethnic Russian majority (Altai, Evenk, Ust-Orda and Nenets). In 2011, the highest TFR were recorded in Chechnya (3.362), Tyva (3.249), Ingushetia (2.94), Altai Republic (2.836), Sakha Republic (2.057), Buryatia (2.027), and Nenets Autonomous Okrug (2.007).

    Until 2010, the Russian republic of Chechnya was the region with the highest birth rate in the former USSR (excluding Central Asia). However, in 2011, the Armenian province of Qashatagh overtook it (28.9 vs 29.3 per 1.000).

    In 2010, the average number of children born to women has decreased from 1513 to 1000 women from 2002 to 1469 in 2010 in urban areas the figure was 1328 children (2002–1350), and in the village – 1876 (in 2002, – 1993 ).

    In recent years the percentage of children per woman 16 years or more were:

    Year : 2002–2010

    1 child : 30.5%–31.2%

    2 children : 33.7%–34.4%

    3 children : 8.9%–8.7%

    4 or more children : 5.2%–4.2%

    no children : 21.7%–21.5%

    Note that despite a decrease in women who have not had children, the number of three-child and large families has declined between 2002 and 2010.

    In every region in Russia, rural areas reported higher TFR compared to urban areas. In most of the federal subjects in Siberia and the Russian Far East, the total fertility rates were high, but not high enough to ensure population replacement. For example, Zabaykalsky Krai had a TFR of 1.82, which is higher than the national average, but less than the 2.1 needed for population replacement.

    Compared to the G7 countries, in 2015, Russian TFR of 1.78 children/ woman was lower than that of France (1.93), the USA (1.84), the UK (1.82). Yet its TFR is higher than in other G7 countries like Canada (1.61), Germany (1.50), Japan (1.46) and Italy (1.35).

    Compared to other most populous nations, Russia has a lower TFR than Nigeria (5.37), Pakistan (3.42), Indonesia (2.5), India (2.30), Mexico (2.19), the USA (1.84), and higher TFR than Brazil (1.74), and China (1.5-1.6).

    Compared to its neighbors, in 2015 Russia has a lower TFR than Kazakhstan (2.7), Mongolia (3.2), Azerbaijan (2.1), Georgia (2.1), North Korea (2.01). While Russian TFR is higher than in Estonia (1.57), Lithuania (1.70), Belarus (1.72), Norway (1.73), Finland (1.65), Ukraine (1.33), Poland (1.29) and Latvia (1.71). .

    Also many other European countries like Czech Republic (1.57), Spain (1.33), Greece (1.29), Hungary (1.44), Switzerland (1.54), Portugal (1.30) Albania (1.7) as well as East Asian countries and territories like South Korea (1.25), Taiwan (1.2), Singapore (1.26), Hong Kong (1.2), Macau (1.4) have a lower TFR than Russia.

    Life expectancy

    total population: 71.6 years
    male: 65.1 years
    female: 76.5 years (2013)

    The disparity in the average lifespan between genders in Russia is largest in the world. Women live 9–12 years longer than men, while the difference in lifespan is typically only five years in other parts of the world. While medical sources, like The Lancet, name mass privatization, and the neo-liberalist shock therapy policies of Yeltsin administration as key reasons of falling life expectancy of Russian men, other sources, like Luke Harding from The Guardian claim alcoholism explains the large difference in gender mortality levels in Russia. As of 2011, the average life expectancy in Russia was 64.3 years for males and 76.1 years for females. According to the WHO 2011 report, annual per capita alcohol consumption in Russia is about 15.76 litres, fourth highest volume in Europe (compare to 13.37 in the UK, 13.66 in France, 15.6 in Ukraine, 16.45 in the Czech Republic, etc.). In the late 1950s, the USSR claimed a higher life expectancy than the United States, but the Soviet Union has lagged behind Western countries in terms of mortality and life expectancy since the late 1960s.
    When controlling for confounding variables, neither alcoholism, poverty, pollution, nor the collapse of the health system explain the high male mortality. Most former communist countries got through the same economic collapse and health system collapse. Alcohol consumption per capita is as high in other East European countries. Poverty is high in many other countries. One factor that could explain the low male lifespan in Russia is violence, tolerance for violence and tolerance for risk, "male toughness". Violence, tolerance for risk together with alcoholism reduce the Russian male lifespan.

    The life expectancy was about 70 in 1986, prior to the transition-induced disruption of the healthcare system. The turmoil in the early 1990s caused life expectancy in Russia to steadily decrease while it was steadily increasing in the rest of the world. Recently however, Russian life expectancy has again begun to rise. Between 2006—2011 the male life expectancy in Russia rose by almost four years, increasing the overall life expectancy by nearly 4 years to 70.3.


    In 2012, 1,043,292, or 55% of all deaths in Russia were caused by cardiovascular disease. The second leading cause of death was cancer which claimed 287,840 lives (15.2%). External causes of death such as suicide (1.5%), road accidents (1.5%), murders (0.8%), accidental alcohol poisoning (0.4%), and accidental drowning (0.5%), claimed 202,175 lives in total (10.6%). Other major causes of death were diseases of the digestive system (4.6%), respiratory disease (3.6%), infectious and parasitic diseases (1.6%), and tuberculosis (0.9%). The infant mortality rate in 2012 was 7.6 deaths per 1,000 (down from 8.2 in 2009 and 16.9 in 1999).

    Under-five mortality rate

    13 deaths/1000 live births (2008)

    Abortions and family planning

    In the 1980s only 8% to 10% of married Russian women of reproductive age used hormonal and intrauterine contraception methods, compared to 20% to 40% in developed countries. This led to much higher abortion rates in Russia compared to developed countries: in the 1980s Russia had a figure of 120 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age compared with only 20 per 1,000 in Western countries. However, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 many changes took place, such as the demonopolization of the market for contraceptive drugs and media liberalization, which led to a rapid conversion to more efficient pregnancy-control practices. Abortion rates fell in the first half of the 1990s for the first time in Russia's history, even despite declining fertility rates. From the early 1990s to 2006, the number of expected abortions per woman during her lifetime fell by nearly 2.5 times, from 3.4 to 1.2. As of 2004, the share of women of reproductive age using hormonal or intrauterine birth control methods was about 46% (29% intrauterine, 17% hormonal).

    Despite an increase in "family planning", a large portion of Russian families do not achieve the target of desired children at the desired time. According to a 2004 study, current pregnancies were termed "desired and timely" by 58% of respondents, while 23% described them as "desired, but untimely", and 19% said they were "undesired". The share of unexpected pregnancies remains much lower in countries with developed family planning culture, such as the Netherlands, whose percentage of unwanted pregnancies 20 years before was half of that in Russia as of 2008.

    Ethnic groups

    The Russian Federation is home to as many as 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples. As of the 2010 census, 80.90% of the population that disclosed their ethnicity (111,016,896 people) is ethnically Russian, followed by (groups larger than one million):

  • 3.87% Tatars (5,310,649)
  • 1.40% Ukrainians (1,927,988)
  • 1.15% Bashkirs (1,584,554)
  • 1.05% Chuvashs (1,435,872)
  • 1.04% Chechens (1,431,360)
  • 0.86% Armenians (1,182,388)
  • According to the 2010 Census in Russia lived 142,856,536 people. It is important to note that 5,629,429 people (3.94% of the overall population.) did not declare any ethnic origin, compared to about 1 million in the 2002 Census. This is due to the fact that those people were counted from administrative databases and not directly, and were therefore unable to state their ethnicity. Therefore, the percentages mentioned above are taken from the total population that declared their ethnicity, given that the non-declared remainder is thought to have an ethnic composition similar to the declared segment.

    Most smaller groups live compactly in their respective regions and can be categorized by language group. The ethnic divisions used here are those of the official census, and may in some respects be controversial. The following lists all ethnicities resolved by the 2010 census, grouped by language:

    Historical perspective

    The ethno-demographic structure of Russia has gradually changed over time. During the past century the most striking change is the fast increase of the peoples from the Caucasus. In 1926, these people composed 2% of the Russian population, compared to 6.5% in 2010. Though low in absolute numbers, the Siberian people also increased during the past century, but their growth was mainly realized after WW II (from 0.7% in 1959 to 1.2% in 2010) and not applicable to most of the small peoples (less than 10,000 people).

    Peoples of European Russia

    The relative proportion of the peoples of European Russia gradually decreased during the past century, but still compose 91% of the total population of Russia in 2010. The absolute numbers of most of these peoples reached its highest level in the beginning of the 1990s. Since 1992, natural growth in Russia has been negative and the numbers of all peoples of European Russia were lower in 2010 than in 2002, the only exceptions being the Roma (due to high fertility rates) and the Gagauz (due to high levels of migration from Moldova to Russia).

    Several peoples saw a much larger decrease than can be explained by the low fertility rates and high mortality rates in Russia during the past two decades. Emigration and assimilation contributed to the decrease in numbers of many peoples. Emigration was the most important factor for Germans, Jews and Baltic peoples (Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians). The number of Germans halved between 1959 and 2010. Their main country of destination is Germany.

    The number of Jews decreased by more than 80% between 1959 and 2010. In 1970, the Soviet Union had the third largest population of Jews in the world, (2,183,000 of whom 808,000 with residence in Russia), following only that of the United States and Israel. By 2010, due to Jewish emigration, their number fell as low as 158,000. A sizeable emigration of other minorities has been enduring, too. The main destinations of emigrants from Russia are the USA (Russians, Jews, Belarusians, Chechens, Meskhetian Turks, Ukrainians and others), Israel (Jews), Germany (Germans and Jews), Poland (Poles), Canada (Finns and Ukrainians), Finland (Finns), France (Jews and Armenians) and the United Kingdom (mainly rich Russians).

    Assimilation (i.e., marrying Russians and having children of such unions counted as Russians) explains the decrease in numbers of Ukrainians, Belarusians and most of the Uralic peoples. The assimilation is reflected in the high median age of these peoples (see the table below), as assimilation is stronger among young people than among old people. The process of assimilation of the Uralic peoples of Russia is probably going on for centuries and is most prominent among the Mordvins (1.4% of the Russian population in 1926 and 0.5% in 2010), the Karelians, Veps and Izhorians.

    Assimilation on the other hand slowed down the decrease of the number of ethnic Russians. Besides, the decrease of the number of Russians was also slowed down by the immigration of ethnic Russians from the former Soviet republics, especially Central Asia. Similarly, the numbers of Ukrainians, Belarusians, Germans, Jews, and other non-autochthonous ethnic groups has also been decreased by emigration to Ukraine, Belarus, Germany, Israel, and so forth, respectively.

    Peoples of European Russia in the Russian Federation, 1926–2010

    Peoples of the Caucasus

    Peoples of the Caucasus in the Russian Federation, 1926–2010

    Peoples of Siberia

    Peoples of Siberia in the Russian Federation, 1926–2010

    Foreign-born population

    Russia experiences a constant flow of immigration. On average, close to 300,000 legal immigrants enter the country every year; about half are ethnic Russians from the other republics of the former Soviet Union. There is a significant inflow of ethnic Armenians, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz and Tajiks into big Russian cities, something that is viewed unfavorably by some citizens. According to a 2013 opinion poll, 74% of Russians view the large number of labor migrants as a negative phenomenon. According to the United Nations, Russia's legal immigrant population is the third biggest in the world, numbering 11.6 million. In addition, there are an estimated 4 million illegal immigrants from the ex-Soviet states in Russia. In 2015, Ukraine-Russia was the world's largest migration corridor after Mexico-USA. According to the Armenian government, between 80,000 and 120,000 Armenians travel to Russia every year to do seasonal work, returning home for the winter. According to the Tajik government, at least 870,000 Tajiks are working in Russia. In 2014, remittances from Russia accounted for around one-third of Kyrgyzstan's and over 40% of Tajikistan's GDP.

    The Kazakhs in Russia are mostly not recent immigrants. The majority inhabit regions bordering Kazakhstan such as the Astrakhan (16% of the population are Kazakhs), Orenburg (6% of the population are Kazakhs), Omsk (4% of the population are Kazakhs) and Saratov (3% of the population are Kazakhs) oblasts. Together these oblasts host 60% of the Kazakh population in Russia. The number of Kazakhs slightly decreased between 2002 and 2010 due to emigration to Kazakhstan, which has by far the strongest economy in Central Asia (Russia does receive immigration from Kazakhstan, but they are mainly ethnic Russians); other Central Asian populations, especially Uzbeks, Tajiks, and Kyrgyz, have continued to rise rapidly. (Turkmen are an exception; citizens of Turkmenistan do not have visa-free access to Russia.)

    Russian statistical organizations classify the immigrants based on their ethnicity, although there is an information gap between 2007 and 2013, In 2007, the net immigration was 190,397 (plus another 49,546 for which ethnicity was unknown). Of this, 97,813 was Slavic / Germanic / Finnic (51.4%, of which Russian – 72,769, Ukrainian – 17,802), Turkic and other Muslim – 52,536 (27.6%, of which Azeri – 14,084, Tatar – 10,391, Uzbek – 10,517, Tajik – 9,032, Kyrgyz – 7,533 & Kazakh – (-) 1,424) and Others – 40,048 (21.0%, of which Armenian – 25,719).

    Many immigrants are actually migrant workers, who come to Russia and work for around five years then return to their countries. Major sources of migrant workers but where permanent migrants of majority ethnicity of those countries are virtually nonexistent are in 2013. China 200,000 migrant workers, 1000 settled permanently. Uzbekistan 100,000 migrant workers, 489 permanent settlers. Tajikistan 80,000 migrant workers, 220 settled permanently. Kyrgyzstan 50,000 miagrant workers, 219 settled permanently. Macedonia- 20,000 worker arrivals, 612 settled permanently .

    Peoples of Central Asia in the Russian Federation, 1926–2010

    The 2010 census found the following figures for foreign citizens resident in Russia:
     Uzbekistan: 131,100  Ukraine: 93,400  Tajikistan: 87,100  Azerbaijan: 67,900  Armenia: 59,400  Kyrgyzstan: 44,600  Moldova: 33,900  China: 28,400  Kazakhstan: 28,100  Belarus: 27,700  Georgia: 12,100  Vietnam: 11,100  Turkmenistan: 5,600  Turkey: 5,400  Estonia,  Latvia,  Lithuania: 5,300  India: 4,500 All others: 41,400

    Median age and fertility

    Median ages of ethnic groups vary considerably between groups. Ethnic Russians and other Slavic and Finnic groups have higher median age compared to the Caucasian groups.

    Median ages are strongly correlated with fertility rates, ethnic groups with higher fertility rates have lower median ages, and vice versa. For example, in 2002, in the ethnic group with the lowest median age – Ingush – women 35 or older had, on average, 4.05 children; in the ethnic group with the highest median age – Jews – women 35 or older averaged only 1.37 children. Ethnic Jews have both the highest median age and the lowest fertility rate; this is a consequence of Jewish emigration.

    Ethnic Russians represent a significant deviation from the pattern, with second lowest fertility rate of all major groups, but relatively low median age (37.6 years). This phenomenon is at least partly due to the fact that children from mixed marriages are often registered as ethnic Russians in the census. The most noticeable trend in the past couple of decades is the convergence of birth rates between minorities (including Muslim minorities) and the Russian majority.

    The following table shows the variation in median age and fertility rates according to 2002 census.


    Russian is the common official language throughout Russia understood by 99% of its current inhabitants and widespread in many adjacent areas of Asia and Eastern Europe. National subdivisions of Russia have additional official languages (see their respective articles). There are more than 100 languages spoken in Russia, many of which are in danger of extinction.


    Over 50% of ethnic Russians identify themselves as Orthodox. Of these, approximately 2–4% of the general population are integrated into church life (воцерковленные), while others attend on a less regular basis or not at all. Many non-religious ethnic Russians identify with the Orthodox faith for cultural reasons. The majority of Muslims live in the Volga–Ural region and the North Caucasus, although Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and parts of Siberia also have sizable Muslim populations.

    Other branches of Christianity present in Russia include Roman Catholicism (approx. 1%), Baptists, Pentecostals, Lutherans and other Protestant churches (together totalling about 0.5% of the population) and Old Believers. There is some presence of Judaism, Buddhism, and Krishnaism, as well. Shamanism and other pagan beliefs are present to some extent in remote areas, sometimes syncretized with one of the mainstream religions.

    According to the data of the 2010 Census, presented above, 88.26% of the people who stated their ethnicity belong to traditional Christian ethnic groups, 10.90% belong to traditional Muslim ethnic groups and 0.84% belong to traditional Buddhist, Jewish and other ethnic groups.


    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total literacy: 99.4% (2002)
    male: 99.7%
    female: 99.2%

    Russia's free, widespread and in-depth educational system, inherited with almost no changes from the Soviet Union, has produced nearly 100% literacy. 97% of children receive their compulsory 9-year basic or complete 11-year education in Russian. Other languages are also used in their respective republics, for instance Tatar (1%), Yakut (0.4%) etc.

    About 3 million students attend Russia's 519 institutions of higher education and 48 universities. As a result of great emphasis on science and technology in education, Russian medical, mathematical, scientific, and space and aviation research is generally of a high order.

    Labour force

    The Russian labour force is undergoing tremendous changes. Although well-educated and skilled, it is largely mismatched to the rapidly changing needs of the Russian economy. The unemployment rate in Russia was 5.3% as of 2013. Unemployment is highest among women and young people. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union and the economic dislocation it engendered, the standard of living fell dramatically. However, since recovering from the 1998 economic crisis, the standard of living has been on the rise. As of 2010 about 13.1% of the population was living below the poverty line, compared to 40% in 1999. The average yearly salary in Russia was $14,302 (about $23,501 PPP) as of October 2013, up from $455 per year in August 1999.

    According to the FMS, as of 2011, there were 7,000,000 immigrants working in Russia. Half of these were from Ukraine, while the remainder was mostly from Central Asia. Only 3 million or less than half of all the immigrants are legal. Illegal immigrants number 4 million, mostly from Ukraine and the Caucasus. The Census usually covers only a part of this population and the last one 2002 Census) counted one million non-citizens.

    Rural life

    Rural life in Russia is distinct from many other nations. Russia is one of few nations that have small towns hundreds of kilometres from major population centres. Relatively few Russian people live in villages—rural population accounted for 26% of the total population according to the 2010 Russian Census. Some people own or rent village houses and use them as dachas (summer houses).


    Demographics of Russia Wikipedia