Russia’s population decline hits highest level in 15 years – Preliminary data

Russia’s population decline has set a 15-year record amid the coronavirus pandemic, preliminary government data shows cited by the RBC news website on Thursday.

Russia’s population stood at 146.24 million as of January 1, 2021, up from 146.75 million the previous year.

The drop of 510,000 people is the largest since 2005, when Russia’s population fell by 564,500 from the previous year.

According to RBC, Russia recorded a record 184,600 additional deaths between January and November, the latest month available. Excess mortality, or the difference in all deaths in 2020 compared to previous periods, is considered the most reliable indicator of the true toll of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Russia‘s total death toll in January-November 2020 approached 1.9 million, the highest number since the wildfire-hit year 2010, RBC reported.

At the same time, birth rates fell by 4.4%, from 1.36 million in January to November 2019 to 1.3 million in the same period of 2020.

The natural population decline of 574,800 last year was double the decline of 285,800 recorded in 2019.

Migration was unable to offset the decline after coronavirus-related border closures led to 86,100 arrivals in January-October 2020, less than half of the 222,700 arrivals recorded during the same period in 2019.