Birth rate hits 15-year high in Russia
The birth rate over the first six months of 2007 has hit a 15-year high in Russia, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told a traditional Monday meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and cabinet members. ( RBC )
According to Medvedev , between January and June 2007, a total of 142,000 babies were born in the country, the most since such data began to be collected after the collapse of the USSR.
The First Deputy PM indicated that the number of childbirths increased 6.5 percent in the first half of 2007, while the number of deaths fell the same 6.5 percent.
Medvedev said that some two million women with children aged 18 months and younger were receiving maternity benefits. This includes a recent addition of a million women who had not claimed the benefits, since they opted out of their maternity leave.
A presidential program to increase the number of childbirths and improve the conditions of raising children was launched in Russia on January 1. The birth of a family's first child is welcomed with a non-recurrent payment of RUR8 ,000 (approx. USD312) from the federal budget. The amount is increased to RUR10 ,000 (approx. USD390) with the birth of a second child. In addition, at this stage parents receive a RUR250 ,000 (approx. USD9,750) certificate, redeemable only after the child turns three.
Nevertheless, despite the rise in the birth rate this year, statistics show that the Russian population is expected to decline by five million people by 2020. Meanwhile, there are currently 74.3m economically active people in Russia, which represents 52 percent of Russia's overall population. According to the Russian Regional Development Ministry, if the demographic problem is not addressed, the Russian population will have shrunk by one third in 40-50 years.
According to a forecast released by the Economy Ministry, out of the 143.1m people registered in 2005, only 138.1m will remain by 2020.