NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 18, 2006

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently directed Parliament to adopt a 10-year program to stop Russia's sharp population decline by offering financial incentives and subsidies to encourage women to have more children, says C.J. Chivers, of the International Herald Tribune.

This signals a new Kremlin priority to confront the rapidly decreasing population that could endanger the future of the Russian state, explains Chivers:

  • The population, now about 143 million, has been falling since the collapse of the Soviet Union, trimmed by emigration, rising death rates and declining birth rates.
  • In 2004, for every 16 Russians who died, only 10.4 babies were born; and the average age of death for a Russian man was 58.9 years, far below other industrial nations and roughly two decades behind the average age at death of an American male.
  • The government and demographers have predicted more downward pressure, fueled by increasing rates of HIV infection; taken together, all those factors could push the population below 100 million by 2050.

Putin has also called for a wide range of subsidies and financial incentives to increase Russia's birth rate, some to be paid for by the government and others by employers. They include increasing government subsidies for children up to 18 months of age to about $53 a month for a first child and about $107 for a second child; mothers now receive only $25 a month for a child up to 18 months old, says Chivers.

Putin also proposed longer maternity leaves, subsidies for adoptive parents, and investments in pre-natal care, maternity hospitals and kindergartens, says Chivers.

Source: C.J. Chivers, "Putin calls for steps to end drop in population," International Herald Tribune, May 11, 2006.

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