Armenia’s disquieting demographic picture
By Jamila Babayeva
The demographic situation in Armenia faces unpleasant tendencies such as a low birth rate and a high number of divorces.
Fertility rate (births per woman) in the country is 1.6, far from the normal 2-2.1. Therefore, Armenia faces the problem of the self-reproduction of the nation.
The alarming tendencies were voiced by Head of the Department of Demography and Population Census of the National Statistics Service Karine Kuyumdjyan on May 14.
She said the results of the population census held in 2011 show that 28 percent of women older than 15 had no children.
"Of the remaining 72 percent, 12 percent have one child, 29 percent have two children, 20 percent have three children, 7 percent have four children, and 4 percent have five children or more," Kuyumdjyan noted.
She pointed out that although urban women have more economic opportunities, rural women have more children than urban women.
The average age of people who marry for the first time has increased, Kuyumdjyan said.
"Today, the average age of marriage is 25-26 years for women and 29-30 year for men. These indicators were 23 and 26-27 respectively in 2001," she noted.
The expert added that Armenia is also witnessing an increase in the number of divorces.
"The number of registered divorces was 1.343 in 2000. Thus, the divorce rate in the country was 0.4 per 1,000 inhabitants," she said. "The divorce rate has risen to 1.1. In other words, there is one registered case of divorce for a thousand people."
Psychologist Anna Badalyan believes that one of the reasons for divorces is immigration. "Men are leaving their families to earn their living abroad. They are possibly considered divorced, as in fact it is no longer a full family as we perceive it," she said.
Armenia is still not able to avoid mass immigration. From 2008 to 2013, immigration reached 30,000-35,000 people per year. The statistics of the first quarter of 2014 is also very unpleasant.
The number of people who left Armenia by air exceeded the number of arrivals by 21,686 in the first quarter of 2014. Some 186,493 people departed from Yerevan's airport, while only 164,807 arrived at it.
The number of citizens who left Armenia in the first quarter of 2014 was 21,218 more than the same period in 2013.
The Armenian State Migration Service recently reported that if the share of citizens leaving the country with their family was 40 percent of the total immigration outflow some years ago, it has risen to 60 percent now.
Recent official statistics about Armenia's demographic situation confirm that the country is being deserted.
Armenia's population decreased by 15,000 people in the first three months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.
The number of Armenian citizens leaving their homeland is also on the rise. Almost 28,447 citizens left Armenia and did not return during the reported period. In the same period in 2013, about 35,500 citizens left the country and did not return.