The Russian population is currently declining at a rate of more than 900,000 persons a year, according to Valery Elizarov, head of Moscow State University Economics Department's Center for the Study of Population. Elizarov spoke at a meeting of the Rosbalt-sponsored political club, 'Russia: Vector of Development 2004-2008,' with support from the Projects Institute and the National Information Group. Elizarov heads the center's population economics and demographics laboratory.
The Russian population has been dropping since 1992, when mortalities for the first time outpaced births, he said. This year's expected 1.5 million births will have their counterpart in approximately 2.4 million deaths, he said. The shortfall can only be made up by an in-migration of labor, he said. However, that flow has been ebbing: if 50%-60% of the difference between births and deaths was covered in the early 1990s, that percentage is now no more than 5%, he said. Elizarov noted with special emphasis that one of the main reasons for the population decline is 'the especially high mortality of men of working age.' The average age of death for Russian men is now 59 years, which puts it at the level of undeveloped Bangladesh, he said.