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World: Populations Shrinking In Eastern Europe, Russia

  • Robert Lyle



Washington, 12 March 1999 (RFE/RL) -- The nations of Central and Eastern Europe and most of the former Soviet Union will not only experience the same global pattern of the elderly becoming huge, even dominant, proportions of their populations, they will also see the proportion of the work force, and the size of the entire population shrink.

Following are statistics compiled by the World Bank and the United Nations:

Country Percent of Population over 60 years of age

TODAY IN 2010 Albania 9.3.........................................11.5 Armenia 11.7.........................................14 Azerbaijan 9.5.........................................10.2 Belarus 18.1.........................................19 Bulgaria 20.7.........................................24.4 Croatia 12.6.........................................17.2 Czech Rep. 17.4.........................................22.6 Estonia 18.6.........................................23.9 Georgia 16.7.........................................18.7 Hungary 19.3.........................................21.5 Iran 6.4..........................................6.5 Iraq 4.7..........................................5.6 Kazakhstan 10.2.........................................11.8 Kyrgyzstan 8.5..........................................7.8 Latvia 19.1.........................................23.3 Lithuania 17.6.........................................20 Macedonia 12.7 ........................................15.5 Moldova 13.6 ........................................14.8 Poland 15.8 ........................................18.2 Romania 17.4 ........................................19.2 Russia 17.1.........................................18.3 Slovakia 15...........................................17.6 Slovenia 17.8.........................................22.3 Tajikistan 6.5..........................................6.4 Turkmenistan 6.3..........................................6.2 Ukraine 19.4.........................................20.9 U.S. 16.4.........................................18.8 Uzbekistan 6.2..........................................8.4

Over the next 50 years, a large number of nations in Central and East Europe will actually lose total population, according to U.N. projections: Belarus - down from 10.3 million to 8.3 million Bulgaria - falling from 8.3 to 5.7 million people Croatia - from 4.5 to 3.7 million Czech Republic - down from 10.3 million to 7.8 million Estonia - down from 1.4 to 900,000 Latvia - down from 2.4 to 1.6 million people Lithuania - from 3.7 to 3 million Poland - from 38.7 to 36.3 million people Romania - down from 22.5 million to 16.4 million Russia - down from 147.4 million people to 121.3 million Slovakia - down from 5.4 million to 4.8 million people Ukraine - down from 50.9 million to 39.3 million people.

United Nations and World Bank experts say the population decline, already in evidence in most of these countries, is caused by a number of factors, including greatly reduced birthrates, declining life expectancies, and the aging of the population, coupled with virtually no in-migration.

The United Nations says this is a trend that encompasses major parts of the world. For example, in 1950, the 12 most populous nations in the world included all of the major industrial and powerful nations. This year, only four of the major industrial powers -- the U.S., Russia, Japan, and Germany -- are among the 12 most populous countries. But by 2050, the United States will be the only major industrial nation among the 12 largest countries in the world.
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