In order for the population of Russia to remain at the level of 146 million people, by 2100 the increase in the number of migrants in Russia should be from 390 thousand to 1.1 million annually, HSE demographers have calculated. Expert estimates are given by RBC.
Thus, scientists calculated the number of compensatory (replacement) migration – the net number of incoming migrants to compensate for the natural decline in the population in three scenarios at different levels of fertility, life expectancy and outflow of the population. It is noted that without a migration influx, none of them assumes a significant increase in population by the end of the century compared to the current population.
Under the most negative scenario, in the next almost 80 years, the country will need 1.1 million migration growth annually, and if it is completely removed, then the population by 2100 will be two times lower than now – 67.4 million people.
Experts point out that the number of Russians has been declining since 2018. According to Rosstat, last year it fell by 533 thousand people and as of January 1, 2023, it amounted to 146.45 million people. According to the demographic forecast until the end of the century, which HSE experts gave in the summer of 2022, even in the average – the most likely scenario – the population decline will continue. By the mid-2070s, it will decrease to 131 million people, and by the end of the century it will recover only to 137.5 million.
Analysts included in their forecast the migration increase along with the expected indicators of births, deaths, and life expectancy. However, in two of the three scenarios, this is not enough to maintain the current population level. Thus, the experts calculated the volume of compensatory migration, which theoretically will allow maintaining the population in the region of 146 million people by the end of the century.
Thus, the most optimistic scenario assumes a birth rate of up to 2.5 children per woman, an increase in life expectancy to 85.7 years for men and 90.5 years for women by 2100, and a migration increase of up to 430 thousand people annually. In this case, compensatory migration is required only until 2036, and its average value over the next 80 years is even negative.
In the middle variant, a birth rate of up to 1.85 children per woman by the end of the forecast period and an increase in life expectancy to 80.3 years for men and 86.7 years for women, an annual migration increase of 250 thousand people, are prescribed. To maintain the population, 390,000 people a year must arrive in their pure form. At the same time, in the first years of the forecast period, there should be more of them – about 900 thousand people.
The most pessimistic scenario assumes a decrease in the birth rate to 1.4 children per woman by 2023 and maintaining this level until the end of the century, mortality at the age of 74.9 years for men and 83.6 years for women and a migration gain of less than 100 thousand people, which by the end of the period is completely reduced to 60 thousand people. Until the end of the century, 1.1 million migration inflows will be needed annually.
According to the authors, over the next few years it can be concluded that even under the most favorable scenarios of fertility and mortality in Russia, there will still be a decrease in the population.
We add that the migration growth of the population of Russia in 2022 decreased by an order of magnitude, amounting to 61.9 thousand people, or 0.4 per thousand people of the resident population (in 2021 there were almost 430 thousand people of migration growth). The figure for 2022 was adjusted by the statistical service, taking into account the results of the All-Russian Population Census-2020.
According to a researcher at the Institute for Economic Policy. E.T. Gaidar Igor Efremov, it is difficult to predict the dynamics of natural population decline, but it is clear that migration growth in the foreseeable decades will only partially be able to compensate for the natural population decline in Russia. He added that immigration to the country is economically beneficial for the state, however, for the effective integration of migrants into society, several conditions are needed: the willingness of the local population to accept foreigners, an attractive level of economic development of the country, and a sufficient number of potential migrants in the countries of origin. In Russia, on all three points, either there are, or serious problems are predicted in the near future.
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