See Tatarstan and then die: how pandemic actually affect population decline in Russia

In 2020, almost 5,000 more Tatarstan citizens died than in the past year

See Tatarstan and then die: how pandemic actually affect population decline in Russia
Photo: Maksim Platonov

As Realnoe Vremya found out, the birth rate and mortality rates in Russia have changed dramatically this year. This is evidenced by data from the Civil Registry Office for the period from January to August. The reasons are not given, but a significant increase in mortality in the context of the coronavirus pandemic is alarming. It is doubly depressing that the population decline is observed against the background of a decrease in the birth rate.

Deaths — 72,000 more than a year ago

In Russia, demographic indicators have changed significantly, and in a number of regions, the death rate has sharply increased and the birth rate has decreased. Sad conclusions can be drawn from the statistics of the Civil Registry Office for the period from January to August 2020.

In total, 1,29 million people died in Russia during these 8 months. Compared to last year, the figure increased by 71,700 people — an increase of 5,9%. It would seem that the indicator is not catastrophic, but in some regions it is much higher. The main anti-records of mortality were demonstrated by the regions of the North Caucasus, Moscow, St. Petersburg and the Volga Region.

The largest increase in deaths in the Volga Region and Central Russia (with the exception of Moscow) was recorded in Tatarstan. In our republic, the death rate this year has increased by 15,4% at once — according to this indicator, the region is the 6th in the country. Read more about this below.

Anti-records of the North Caucasus

Three North Caucasus regions — Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan — the first in the anti-rating of subjects with sharply increased mortality. And it is quite difficult to explain this by natural processes. In all three Caucasian republics, the increase in the number of deaths is approximately the same compared to last year — from 27% to 32%.

Most of all, the population has declined in Chechnya — the number of deaths has increased by almost a third (32%). In absolute terms, it looks like this: 5,644 people compared to 4,271 a year earlier. The number of deaths in neighbouring Ingushetia has increased almost the same (31,5%): the number of deaths here increased from 914 to 1,202. The number of deaths in Dagestan has increased from 9,659 to 12,192. As you know, it is here that the most severe situation with the incidence of coronavirus has developed.

The situation seems to be grave in other regions of the North Caucasus as well. Three more federal subjects belonging to the North Caucasus Federal District have been included in the list of 20 regions with the most significant increase in mortality. In Karachay-Cherkessia, the indicator has increased by 11,4%, in Kabardino-Balkaria — by 8,4%, and in North Ossetia — by 7,9%. In fact, very high mortality rates have not been recorded only in one region of the North Caucasus Federal District — Stavropol Krai. Here, the death rate has increased by 0,5% in a year.

In the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, the figure has increased by 18,3%, or from 1,691 to 2,001 people. Photo: urengoy-dobycha.gazprom.ru

Moscow, St. Petersburg and the “rotation” regions are close to the indicators of the Caucasus

In other regions of Russia, mortality has also increased significantly, although in smaller volumes than in the Caucasus. In ten regions of the country, the growth is 10%. In the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, the figure has increased by 18,3%, or from 1,691 to 2,001 people. Let us note that another “rotation” region, the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, also has a very high indicator. Here, the death rate has increased by 12,7% in a year, from 6,75 to 7,600 people. In general, in Tyumen Oblast (which includes the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrugand Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug), the growth is 8,1%. But without taking into account the autonomous districts in Tyumen Oblast, the indicator is already quite average by Russian standards — an increase of 3,6% in a year.

The fifth in the country in percentage terms and absolute leadership in absolute terms — in the capital and the largest region of the country, Moscow. Here in January-August 2020, 93,400 people died, although a year ago the figure was 80,600 people, that is by 16% less. The situation is similar in Moscow Oblast — the region is the eighth in terms of percentage growth, the indicator here is 13,9%, 69,300 people died in the region (a year earlier — 60,800 people).

Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast haven't come far enough. In the northern capital, located just outside Moscow Oblast, the number of deaths was 45,300 people — by 13,7% more than a year earlier. In Leningrad Oblast, which is just behind St. Petersburg, 17,700 people died — 13,6% more than a year ago.

In the northern capital, located just outside Moscow Oblast, the number of deaths was 45,300 people — by 13,7% more than a year earlier. Photo: pixabay.com

Volga Region as the epicentre of mortality growth in the centre of the country

However, two regions of the Volga Region are ahead of both Saint Petersburg and Moscow Oblast in terms of percentage growth. The first of them (and the sixth among all regions of Russia, including the North Caucasus) is Tatarstan. Here, the death rate has increased by 15,4% — a year ago, 28,700 people died in the republic, and in 2020 — 33,100. The seventh is Chuvashia, where the indicator has increased by 14,1%, from 10,2 to 11,600, or by 1,437 people.

Other regions of the Volga Region that are in the top 20 in terms of mortality growth include Penza Oblast (an increase of 13,3%), Mordovia (9,9%), Bashkortostan (9,2%), Samara Oblast (8,8%) and Mari El (7,9%). At the same time, for example, in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, where there is also a high incidence of COVID-19, the death rate has increased, but not as much as in the listed regions — by 6,8%. The smallest increase in mortality among the regions of the Volga Federal District is in Kirov Oblast, by 0,8% in a year. There is also a relatively low growth in Udmurtia — 2,2% in a year.

Far East did not allow an increase in mortality

It is interesting that along with these regions, where the death rate has increased dangerously, there are also federal subjects where the death rate, on the contrary, has decreased. And there are quite a lot of them — 18 at once.

Here one can find a fairly clear geographical link: many of these regions are located in the Far East. In particular, all three regions leading in reducing mortality are located in the east of the country. These are Buryatia (-6,3%), Altai Krai (-4,5%) and Magadan Oblast(-4,1%).

However, the situation is not bad in other eastern regions. Also, a decrease of 1,4% was recorded in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, 1,3% — in Sakhalin Oblast, and 1,2% — in Primorsky Krai. The list also includes Amur Oblast with a decrease of 0,9%, as well as Zabaykalsky Krai with a decrease of 0,4%. But, for example, in Khabarovsk Krai, the death rate has not changed much compared to last year.

In Khabarovsk Krai, the death rate has not changed much compared to last year. Photo: skyscrapercity.com

So the Far East clearly shows a downward trend in mortality. Besides, we can note other regions of the country that are somewhat “isolated” — located far from the places with the highest population density, where mortality has also decreased. For example, these are northern Arkhangelsk Oblast (-0,6%), Komi Republic (-1,7%), and Vologda Oblast (-0,9%).

We can also mention Crimea and Sevastopol (-1,4% and -2,5%), Kurgan Oblast (-1,7%), Kaliningrad Oblast (-1,3%). Three regions seem unexpected in this list — Belgorod Oblast with a decrease of 0,5%, Kemerovo Oblast with a decrease of 3,1% and Adygea with a decrease of 3,6%. It is difficult to call them located far from other regions, however, the situation here is better than in the regions around.

Moscow Oblast and the North Caucasus are “doing the job” of Moscow with a falling birth rate

In Russia, in January-August 2020, the birth rate also significantly decreased. On average, they have fallen by 5,6% across the country: 56,000 fewer people were born in 2020 than in the same months of 2019.

There are only nine regions where the birth rate has increased (this is less than the number of regions where the death rate has not increased). It is noteworthy that the North Caucasus is again in the lead of the positive rating. In Chechnya, the indicator has increased by 9,2%, in Kabardino-Balkaria — by 4,7%, in Ingushetia — by 4%. Besides, a baby boom has been recorded in Adygea (this region has also reduced the death rate). Besides, the statistics are relatively good in the east of the country. In Tuva, the birth rate has increased by 1%, in Buryatia — by 0,1%. The indicator has also increased by 1,1% in the Chukotka Autonomous Oblast, and by 1,8% in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.

As for the Volga Region, many regions have shown a small rate of decline in the birth rate. Photo: Ilya Repin

However, it is worth highlighting the statistics in the capital region. Moscow Oblast turned out to be a clear leader in the growth of the birth rate — here the indicator has increased by 13,4% in a year, 6,300 more children were born in 2020 than a year earlier. At the same time, Moscow itself, on the contrary, has shown one of the most significant declines in the birth rate among the regions of Russia. Here, the figure has decreased by 13,9% — 12,900 people gave birth here less in 2020 than a year earlier. It is quite difficult to explain this, except to assume that the high cost of living in Moscow contributes to that young people who came to the capital are forced to live in Moscow Oblast, where they have their family.

The absolute record holder for the decline is a small region of the Central Russia — Vladimir Oblast. Here the indicator has fallen sharply — by 15,2%. A similar decrease — by 14,3% — in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. Also, the figures are alarming — a decrease of 10,2-10,5% — in Omsk Oblast and Novosibirsk Oblast.

As for the Volga Region, many regions have shown a small rate of decline in the birth rate. In Mari El, for example, it decreased by 2,8%, in Udmurtia — by 3,1%, in Tatarstan — by 4,1%, in Bashkortostan — by 4,4%. The largest decrease among the Volga regions is in Saratov Oblast and Mordovia (-9,6%). There is also a decrease of 9,1% in Penza Oblast and 7,9% — in Kirov Oblast.

By Maksim Matveev, Realnoe Vremya analytical service