The DEMOGRAPHY Thread

Discussion in 'Russian Society' started by Morgoth, May 8, 2013.

  1. Morgoth

    Morgoth Office Registrar (13th class)

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    This thread is for general discussion on the demographical situation in Russia, it is not intended to deal with any specific is issues such as the mortality trends in Russia or migration but deal with the whole picture.

    Lets get the ball rolling by putting forth what is probably the key question regarding the evolution of the Russian demographical situation in this decade:

    1) What will be the level at which Russia's fertility rate will peak and stabilize, will it be around the levels of France, UK and Scandinavia, 1.9 - 2, will it stabilize at current levels of 1.7 or will it rise to >2.1. It will be interesting to see whether we can get some kind of mean estimate on this forum as to what level Russia's fertility rate is expected to stabilize at.
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  2. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    This is a very useful thread. Thanks for starting it, Morgoth!

    (1) This question is one that has some data and research behind it. Namely:
    There is an "ideal", a "desired", and an "expected" amount of children per man and woman. Below is a graph with these figures (in green, orange, and blue, respectively):

    [​IMG]

    In 2005, while the "desired" number of children remained steady at previous levels (i.e. 2.2-2.3), the "expected" number of children had moved closer to the desired level (i.e. to around 1.8). Presumably, this is because the economic situation had become much better by then, hence the "expected" number of children began converging with the desired number.

    By 2009, these two figures were about 2.3 and 1.8, respectively. So we can see that when the economic situation is stable, the "steady state" expected number of children is around 1.8. The "desired" number of children is around 2.3 and has been that way throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

    (2) The average birth sequence (read here for detailed explanation) has consistently been at around 1.6 in post-Soviet Russia, implying that the fertility situation then was defined primarily by birth postponement, not fertility collapse per se. This is backed up by the rising average age of mothers at childbirth.

    [​IMG]
    This implies that for the overall picture above to balance out, the fertility rate will probably rise significantly in the next few years - as it indeed, has (it was about 1.67 in 2012, i.e. has converged with the ABS) - to make up for the big births deficit from 1993 to the late 2000s. Indeed, it is quite likely to exceed the ABS for a decade or so.

    (3) International comparisons:



    Russians desire around 2.2-2.3 children, making them broadly similar - if towards the higher range - of the Med and Visegrad countries. The "gap" between desired and actual fertility ranged from 0.3/0.4 in the more economically prosperous and dynamic countries, to up to 0.8-1.0 in the less dynamic and socially supportive countries. By this model, Russia can expect a convergence in actual fertility rates from 1.4 (in less optimistic scenarios) to 1.9 (in the most optimistic scenarios).

    (4) Final thoughts:

    It's obviously impossible to predict these trends with any rigor, but I expect the fertility rate to keep rising during the 2010s (partially offsetting the effects of the "baby bust" of the 1990s) reaching a maximum of perhaps 1.9-2.0 in 10-15 years time, before declining again into its steady state level of around 1.6 or 1.7. That is of course assuming that cultural changes, which can really go either way, don't change underlying fertility ideals and expectations.
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  3. Morgoth

    Morgoth Office Registrar (13th class)

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    I agree that based off desired and planned fertility rates, the Russian fertility rate is likely to remain in the 1.6 - 1.9 range over the next few decades but a question that can be put forward is, to what extent will Russia's pro-natality programmes which are among the most comprehensive in the world raise the desired fertility rate and as a result raise the actual fertility rate in Russia?

    Perhaps the true indicator of whether the Russian governments pro-natality polices are working or not working is whether they can raise the desired fertility rate in Russia.
  4. Ombrageux

    Ombrageux Commissar

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    I have not seen much good research on whether natalist policies can raise fertility rates or whether these trends just "happen" socially based on individual micro-decisions, with little possibility of collective action.

    Germany has significant natalist subsidies. They don't work. Although this may be more due to other factors (short school hours, difficulty in reconciling with women's careers). The French, somewhat mysteriously, has had relatively high fertility (including before non-European immigration could have played a role), after over a century of stagnation.

    Across the West, in fact, it is the traditional "liberal" nations (U.S., former Dominions, France, Benelux, Nordics, British Isles) which have reasonable-to-good fertility (this cannot all be attributed to non-European immigration, e.g. 1.7 for U.S. whites, 1.3-4 for most of Continental Europe, even worse for developed East Asia). I wonder if there is a deep-seated component of anthropological values, the "authoritarian" nations, once they enter the affluent society, choosing to no longer reproduce, while individuals in the "liberal" nations choose to freely reproduce, even if it means a commitment.
  5. Morgoth

    Morgoth Office Registrar (13th class)

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    The failure of the policies in Germany can be attributed to the fact that they are outdated as they try to encourage an outdated system of social organisation, one in which the female stays at home to look after the children and the male works. If Germany were to adopt a more modern approach, one in which women are given the opportunity to both work and have a family, fertility rates would most likely rise. There is also the fact that the castration of German national pride and the crushing of belief in the nation which the victorious powers forced upon the German people may contribute to low fertility rates in the present day.

    It is the nations who are best able to integrate career choices for women as well as the chance to have children such as France who are able to achieve the highest fertility rates in the developed world. You have an interesting point that the liberal nations in the west in which peoples are given the most latitude to do what they want tend to have the highest fertility rates, I believe this a is a result of the fact that women are more likely to have children when they feel like they have the power to make their own decisions where as in more conservative nations such as Italy, there is a kind of rebellion by women against the culture by not having children.
  6. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    @Ombrageux,

    I read one paper on this but I can't for the life of me find it. Anyway, according to the calculations, having children in France was a net financial benefit, while in Germany it was a net financial loss. Which presumably goes some if not all the way to explaining this.

    Regardless, I think that having pro-natalist policies quite indisputably increases fertility, even if it's questionable as to what extent - and what percentage of it is just families deciding to have children earlier than they otherwise would have. This is the case both historically (e.g. post-war France, which went from being the European country with the most stagnant demographics to one of its most vigorous) and more recently (e.g. Russia's demographic revival from an abyss to middling status coincided with the launch of very generous benefits for having second children, and an analogous program in Ukraine was likewise accompanied by rapid increases albeit from a low base).

    I think looking at CEE might be instructive here. For instance, Poland and Hungary remain mired in lowest low fertility (around 1.2/1.3); to the contrary, Bulgaria and the Czech have managed a reasonable recovery (to 1.5). Are there differences in family policy? Childcare subsidies? How much relative to average income levels? Access to preschool facilities? Answers might be instructive.

    I doubt it. There is certainly a correlation of sorts, but it's quite fuzzy. For instance, it is not immediately clear how France is significantly less culturally "authoritarian" than Spain, or Poland. And also at the regional level. For instance, white fertility is a lot higher in places like Texas or Utah than in say New Hampshire or NY, although it's probably safe to say that the former two are more culturally "authoritarian" than the latter.
  7. Valeria

    Valeria Gubernial Secretary (12th class)

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    I think it is a mistake to say that the USA, the UK, Scandinavia and France have reasonable-to-good fertility rates due to their Western secular liberalism. They don't have such fertility and there's masking of numbers. The USA is flooded with high number of immigrants from non-European places (in contrast to previous immigrants, which came from certain countries from Europe) and the UK likewise, and these are the people having more children on average. Some even seek refugee status to milk generous quasi-welfare state benefits.

    When some state 'high fertility' of Western European and Northern European countries, it means that the TFR is at replacement level or approaching it. That's the rate in France (about 1.9 or 2). It isn't +3 children per woman. It's maybe some women not having children at all (which pulls down the average) and the native French women who do have children, stopping at about 1-3 children.

    It is true though that Natalist policies and subsidies don't work out well, nor even work at all in many developed countries. It's because most people have a number of planned children in their minds and are stubborn. If they don't want children, or even more children, then they won't and will refuse to listen. If they want children, then they want it now.

    That's the crux of liberalism. If they want children, their individual wills be supreme. Towards the IVF and Surrogacy they go. If they don't want children, then onwards towards contraception and if the bad unplanned pregnancy shows up, then it's abortion time. It's a twisted form of a temper tantrum. There's little to no intermediary collective-communitarian action.
  8. Ombrageux

    Ombrageux Commissar

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    By "relatively high fertility" among developed countries I mean at or near replacement level.

    Fertility among American non-Hispanic whites is 1.7, not replacement level, but still significantly above Japan and most of Europe (1.2-1.5).

    Note that postwar French fertility has been higher than German long before immigration could have been a significant factor:
    [​IMG]

    I don't down that (especially non-European) immigrants tend to have more children, but their fertility would have to be very, very high indeed to have any discernible effect on the country's TFR. Germany after all has fairly substantial Turkish immigration and yet TFR is very low compared to the "fertile crescent" from France to Scandinavia.
  9. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    This is an interesting chart in that it also compares West Germany with East Germany. It is interesting that in the 1970s and 1980s the birth rate in East Germany was consistently and significantly higher than in West Germany. I wonder whether this was because of the much more child and family friendly social policies that one would anyway expect from the East German government. Given the strong similarity in culture between the two Germanies and the way they closely tracked each other until the end of the 1960s that does seem to suggest that social policies can make at least a short term difference.

    Though it has no bearing to our existing discussion, historically the birth rate in Germany in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was always higher than in France. Kaiserreich Germany was a more patriarchal and conservative society than Republican France though whether that explains the difference I do not know.
  10. Ombrageux

    Ombrageux Commissar

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    AM - The same is true, in fact even more so, for the Koreas: the North is at replacement level (2) the South is worse than Europe but typical for developed East Asia (1.2).

    The differences between the Germanies and Koreas show clearly that dramatically different regimes and social systems - far beyond social policies - clearly have a significant impact. Probably specific social policies contribute (IIRC West Germany was (is) conservative towards women and work, the East was natalist).

    Liberalism (in the sense of individualism-materialism-1968ism) tends to atomize societies and reduce birth rates, especially dramatic when Communism collapses. The relative predictability, militaristic encadrement and (perhaps) underdevelopment of Communist countries seems to in some instances allow for higher rates.

    The case of France in the 19th Century is indeed a bit mysterious. It may have been that France was the only country which was both Catholic and highly educated. Protestant countries (all Germanic) became educated before Catholic Europe and maintained relatively high fertility into the 20th Century. Catholic Europe was uneducated and fertile during the same period, except France, which was educated, godless and infertile.

    France has since recovered, I think in part, because the French have a very "complex free" attitude towards sexuality and the family and generally have in some ways had the most reasonable social response to neoliberal globalization. (Why overwork yourself when you have achieved economic security? Why allow income insecurity when you are a wealthy country? Isn't it normal for marital passion to fade and for people to have sex? In such a context, an atomized liberal society may find having children to be less nerve-wracking and threatening than in others.)
  11. Ombrageux

    Ombrageux Commissar

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    AM - The same is true, in fact even more so, for the Koreas: the North is at replacement level (2) the South is worse than Europe but typical for developed East Asia (1.2).

    The differences between the Germanies and Koreas show clearly that dramatically different regimes and social systems - far beyond social policies - clearly have a significant impact. Probably specific social policies contribute (IIRC West Germany was (is) conservative towards women and work, the East was natalist).

    Liberalism (in the sense of individualism-materialism-1968ism) tends to atomize societies and reduce birth rates, especially dramatic when Communism collapses. The relative predictability, militaristic encadrement and (perhaps) underdevelopment of Communist countries seems to in some instances allow for higher rates.

    The case of France in the 19th Century is indeed a bit mysterious. It may have been that France was the only country which was both Catholic and highly educated. Protestant countries (all Germanic) became educated before Catholic Europe and maintained relatively high fertility into the 20th Century. Catholic Europe was uneducated and fertile during the same period, except France, which was educated, godless and infertile.

    France has since recovered, I think in part, because the French have a very "complex free" attitude towards sexuality and the family and generally have in some ways had the most reasonable social response to neoliberal globalization. (Why overwork yourself when you have achieved economic security? Why allow income insecurity when you are a wealthy country? Isn't it normal for marital passion to fade and for people to have sex? In such a context, an atomized liberal society may find having children to be less nerve-wracking and threatening than in others.)
  12. Morgoth

    Morgoth Office Registrar (13th class)

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    The latest demographic data for May is out, it continues an interesting trend that has been occurring since the start of this year, whenever births rise, deaths rise and vice versa, since the IMR is so low, it cannot possibly be that and is likely to be perhaps just a coincidence, although it has now been occurring for 5 straight months.


    With 5 months of data, it is probably appropriate now to come up with rough calculations as to what the final birth rate, death rate and fertility rate will be for 2013. Based off the first five months it would appear that there will be no increase in the birth rate and no decrease in the death rate meaning that Russia could extraordinarily, for a second year in a row fall <0.01% behind seeing a natural population increase.
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  13. Morgoth

    Morgoth Office Registrar (13th class)

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    The demographic data for July is out, the number of births has risen by more than 6% and surpassed 180,000 making July the first month in decades to see more than 180,000 births, the number of deaths has also slightly risen but what is interesting is in contrast to January and April when the number of births also increased strongly, the associated rise in deaths has been quite small, whereas in in January, the number of deaths rose by 8% and in April by 4%, in July they have risen by only 0.7% despite the rise in births rivalling the rise seen in April of 8%. The link is below:

    http://www.gks.ru/free_doc/2013/demo/edn07-13.htm
  14. Sergey

    Sergey Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    Yes, July births were quite remarkable - not only the raw number, but birth intensity (thousands per day) as well, 2.5% higher than the previous record of October 2012. Seasonal pattern on births in 2013 is so far exactly like the one in 2012. If this is indeed so, expect a drop to ca. 165 thousand births in August.

    July mortality has been about the same for the last 2 years. In order to beat 2012 on the downside, August and September should be significantly better, about 140-150 thousand.

    Some natural population growth this year looks more likely than decline now.
  15. Morgoth

    Morgoth Office Registrar (13th class)

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    The demographic data for September is out and some conclusions can be drawn from the trends which occurred in fertility and mortality through the 3rd quarter. In terms of births, the steady rise continued in year on year terms with births rising by 0.9% compared to 0.2% in the 2nd quarter and -0.8% in the 1st quarter, if this trend continues then the number of births in the 4th quarter are likely to rise by more than 1% relative to the same period last year.

    In terms of mortality, deaths fell by 1.3%, less than the 2.2% fall recorded in the 2nd quarter but deaths are likely to fall in excess of 3% in the last quarter due to the deaths from the harsh winter of 2012/13 not occurring this winter. The link to the data is below:

    http://www.gks.ru/free_doc/2013/demo/edn09-13.htm
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  16. Sergey

    Sergey Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    Fertility year-on-year isn't so great - just 0.1% higher. OK, there's one days less in 2013, meaning that we are effectively running at 0.3-0.4% higher number of births per days than in 2012. For mortality, Y-on-Y comparison is 0.9% less, again, effectively it's 0.5-0.6% less on daily basis.

    In short, both fertility and mortality have plateaued. For fertility, it's a good thing, indicating continuing slight rise in TFR. But mortality was supposed to drop much, much faster. There could be some quick results if the ban on smoking in public places is strictly implemented - in the UK, deaths from cardio-vascular conditions dropped by scores of percent after the ban on smoking in pubs was introduced.

    It is essentially certain that there will be natural population growth this year, maybe even larger than 10,000 souls.
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  17. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    I wouldn't say it's "essentially certain." In Jan - Sep this year, NI is 11,709; last year, it was 11,479 - but in 2012, it still ended up negative after a bad December. But I certainly hope it's positive, otherwise my predictions from 2008 will go unfulfilled (even if on the narrowest of margins).
  18. Morgoth

    Morgoth Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Anatoly, I think that you have mixed up the data for September with the data for January - September, although natural increase rose only slightly in September this year relative to last year, total increase is up by 14,500 for Jan - Sep from -9,400 to 5,100, even a total ceasing of demographic improvement in the last quarter will not prevent natural growth from occurring this year. I think that you can be confident that prediction you made back in 2008 will be fulfilled.
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  19. Sergey

    Sergey Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    Anatoly,

    I'm not sure we are talking the same numbers. In Jan-Sep 2012, the official number for natural increase was -9400. This year, Rosstat gives +5109. (BTW, last year Rosstat seems to have started updating demographic data within the year; if one simply sums its monthly releases from Jan to Sep 2012, the natural increase number is -9701). For 2013, the data we are looking at is not revised; the most natural comparison is with 2012 non-revised data, as well - assuming there is some pattern to revisions, of course.

    The number +11479 is a monthly natural increase for Sep 2012, not the cumulative one for Jan-Sep 2012, similarly for +11709.

    Thus, there is a cumulative swing of about 14.5 thousand in a positive direction between 2013 and 2014.
  20. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    You're right - my bad.

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