Russian population is shrinking rapidly and may fall to 138 million people by 2023 (although it’s supposed to grow to 146 million in 2016). Today’s birth rates are satisfying but it is due to the baby-boom the country experienced in the 1980s.
In the 1990s the number of newborns decreased significantly, which formed a kind of a “demographic hole”. Its consequences Russia will face closer to 2020 and onwards.
So, what are the current plans to manage this demographic disaster?
Government plans to pay Russian women for having kids
The forthcoming demographic crisis is inevitable. The country will have to pay for the failures it couldn’t cope with 30 years ago. And of course we can’t prolong the procreative age of a woman, says Russian demographer Andrey Korotayev in the interview to Lenta.ru.
In this situation, the government plans to introduce new measures to motivate women to have more children.
The first measure, which is being reviewed at the moment, is to pay women 250,000 rubles (USD $3,842) if they decide not to terminate unexpected pregnancies. Such mothers will receive the payment only after they gave birth to a baby and signed adoption papers. Politicians believe it will help to increase the number of births in the country, Lenta.ru reports.
Another proposal that sounds less controversial is to support mothers who have 2 children before the age of 30. The head of the Labour ministry Maxim Topilin underlines that it is fine to have children after 30 but the biggest problem is that more women in Russia decide to give birth to their first child when they are older than 30. He believes it is better to have 2 children before that age, as it allows women to have more kids later.
Only 7% of families in Russia have more than 2 children. Another expert in demography Yuri Krupnov insists that Russia must have 50% of families with 3 or more children. According to Krupnov, new migration reforms and demographic policies are needed urgently to stimulate Russian women to have more kids in the next 20 years.
With the same goals in mind Russia’s maternity capital program was introduced in 2007. Since that year birth rates started to increase.
- Thus, 751,341 boys and 712,862 girls were born in 2007.
- In 2015, the number of newborn boys and girls reached 992,767 and 937,826 respectively, which is 20% increase.
Positive consequences of the increased birth rates are expected to be useful closer to 2040 when these children reach child-bearing age.
The maternity capital is 453,026 rubles ($6,996) in 2016. The measure worked positively in the countryside, Korotayev says. This money was enough to buy a house in a small town. But the program wasn’t effective in big cities where prices for real estate are much higher.