It was Mark Twain who famously promoted the idea about three kinds of mistruths (lies, damned lies, and statistics), attributing the original sentiment to Disraeli. Let’s talk statistics of Russian demographics, which have been quoted as the main reason why Russian women seek to marry Americans (Australians, Europeans, etc). Is it true that there are not enough men in Russia for all the women?
Statistics: There are 86 men for 100 women in Russia
This means, there are 11 million more males than females among 146 million inhabitants of the Russian Federation.
This number looks impressive, however, opponents of demographic reasoning for Russian women’s search of foreign love often say that the foundation of gender imbalance in Russia is predominantly the fact that males die on average 11 years before females.
Life expectancy (2016 data by GKS.ru):
- Males: 66
- Females: 77
So, is it true that only because of early deaths there are fewer males in Russia than females? In other words, is it only old women who cannot find a partner?
Factors influencing demographics of Russia
Yes, there are a lot of old lonely women, because men die earlier. But the gender imbalance limiting the choice of partners for women shows up for urban population already at the age of 25-29. Lots of males lose lives in their twenties, which affects the balance. More about it in a minute.
Another big issue for Russians is the migration out of the country. 10.6 million Russians migrated to other countries (2015), or 7.26% of the total population. It is the third largest number worldwide.
- Two other countries that sent out more migrants are India (15.6 million) and Mexico (12.3 million).
- The population of India is 1.324 billion, so they sent only 1.17% of the population.
- Mexico’s population is 127 million. 9.68% of population migrated to other countries (higher share than in Russia).
Russia manages to maintain the level of residential population due to inbound migration: It hosts 11.6 million migrants. Mostly they are citizens of ex-USSR republics, including Ukraine, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and others.
The growth in residents due to inbound migration is negated by the difference between deaths and births. Russia is losing population at the rate of 1.8% in 2017 (loss of 0.7% in 2016).
Women start exceeding the number of men at the age of 25-29 (in cities)
And the majority of population in Russia (about 3/4) reside in cities and other settlements that have the “urban” status, which is what statistics use for defining the group of inhabitants. Everything that is not given the status of a “city” or an “urban” settlement (including smaller settlements of the “urban” type, which means paved roads, electricity, and canalization) is considered “countryside” or, as they define it in Russia, “villages”.
If you look at statistics by GKS.ru, the first demographic imbalances with the number of males exceeding the number of females start already at the age group of 25-29 (in cities) — the primary childbearing age category when most Russian ladies give birth to their first child. In the countryside, this trend is only showing up in the age group 40-44. Altogether for the whole of population, it shows 35-39 as the group when men start to outnumber women, but it’s a lie.
- In cities, big and small, there are more women than men already in the age group of 25-29.
- In the countryside, there are more men until the age of 40-44, the data by Rosstat shows.
So, Russian women from cities and towns could find partners if they moved to villages, where males outnumber females. Why don’t they do it? Because life there is much worse in standards. It’s like moving back to 1950s.
- The larger is the city, the higher is the disproportion of females to males. For instance, Moscow ladies complain they feel there is only 1 bachelor for 10 single girls among 30-year-olds.
- Guys in regions have a higher propensity to alcohol abuse, since there is not much to do and entertainment is expensive. TV and booze are the two accessible options to inject some fun into daily life. Earnings in regions are also much lower than in capitals.
Historical data of men to women dynamics in Russia
There is a view that the imbalanced gender demographics of Russia is due to the second world war. The historical data shows that it was the case already in 1920s and 1930s and continued throughout the XX century into the first decades of the new millennium.
- Research: Why Slavic women seek to marry foreigners?
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