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Russia reports birth rate rise in otherwise gloomy demographic picture
RIA Novosti

Moscow, 12 February: Despite the generally unfavourable demographic climate, a trend towards a rise in the birth rate has been observed in Russia in the past two years, RIA-Novosti was told on Wednesday [12 February] at the press service of the Economic Development and Trade Ministry.

The ministry notes that demographic processes in 2000-2002 were taking place against the background of an unfavourable demographic situation characterized by a decreasing population, a high mortality rate and falling life expectancy.

At the same time, a certain increase in the number of births was registered in the past two years. Thus in 2001, there were 45,000 more births than in 2000, while in 2002 the birth rate rose from 9.1 to 9.8 per 1,000 people.

What accounts for the acute nature of depopulation in Russia is not just a low birth rate but also a high mortality rate.

In 2000-2002 mortality rose from 14.7 to 16.3 per 1,000 people. Therefore the overall population of the Russian Federation fell by 2.4m, or 0.16 per cent [figures as published] over the two-year period.

The demographic situation has been improved to some extent by a positive rise in migration, mainly from CIS countries, the ministry noted. The trend is for a rise in the number of foreign workers legally entering Russia. In 2001, a total of 283,000 foreign workers were officially registered in Russia, compared with 213,000 in 2000.

As of the end of 2002, over 500,000 people had the status of displaced persons, 300,000 of them officially registered. At the same time experts estimate the actual number of people working in Russia illegally to be in excess of 5m.

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