Russia’s population decline in 2020 will be 1,100% greater than that of 2019 amid the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to government projections cited by the RBC news website Thursday.
The government forecasts a 352,500 drop in Russia’s population this year, according to the report, leading to a population of 146.4 million by the end of 2020.
That’s a nearly 11-fold increase from the previous year’s population decline of 32,100, according to RBC. Russia’s population stood at 146.7 million at the end of 2019.
The latest projected population decline for 2020 more than doubles last month’s forecast of 158,000. Experts told RBC that the revised population prediction is likely closer to reality because of an abrupt halt in migration to Russia and rising death rate caused by Covid-19.
The forecasts are part of the government’s draft plan for enacting President Vladimir Putin’s goal of reversing Russia’s demographic crisis by the end of his term in 2024, one of his National Projects announced with his re-election in 2018.
They estimate that Russia’s population will decline by a total of more than 1.2 million between 2020-24, RBC reported.
The projected decrease for 2020 would be Russia’s highest loss of population since 2006, when the population fell by 374,000 to a total of 142.2 million.
Official statistics say that Russia’s natural population fell by 346,900 in January-August 2020, compared to 219,200 in January-August 2019.
Migration into Russia also declined from 153,900 in January-July 2019 to 65,300 in January-July 2020.
In January-August, 71,748 more people died than in January-August 2019. Covid-19 either directly or indirectly caused nearly two-thirds of those deaths (45,663).