Census results show galloping population drain in Russia’s north
Judging by the preliminary results of the 2020 Russian census, there are only 668,000 people living in the Murmansk region. This is nearly ten percent lower than the figure used by Rosstat, Russia’s statistical service.
According to Rosstat, as of January 1, 2021, there were a total of 732,864 people in the Far North region.
The divergence is also large for the neighboring Arkhangelsk region. Census data shows a regional population of 979,000, about 13% less than the figure used by Rosstat.
According to the statistics service, as of January 1, 2021, a total of 1.08 million people lived in Arkhangelsk Oblast.
The population decline is equally dramatic in the other northern regions. Census results show that the Karelia region has only 533,000 and the Komi Republic has 738,000. Both of these figures are much lower than the figures used by Rosstat.
The Yamal-Nenets region, the oil and gas-rich region of the northern Urals, is also experiencing population decline. According to the census, there are now a total of 505,000 people living in the area.
Russia in 2020 conducted a nationwide census. The previous census took place in 2010. The recently presented census data is published by the Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper.
Judging by the data, the regions of Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Komi and Karelia are experiencing the largest population decline in the country. The decline is most significant in Komi, where the population fell by 18.1% between the two censuses. During the same period, the population of Arkhangelsk fell by 17.5%, Karelia – 17.2% and Murmansk – 16%.
Much of the population exodus from the far northern regions is being offset by growth in major cities. St. Petersburg in the period between 2010 and 2020 experienced population growth of almost 15%.