Monday, September 28, 2009

On Ukrainian regional demographic divergences: help?

This excerpt from the Wikipedia article on the Ukrainian population presents succinctly the very interesting regional divergences that I'd like to blog about today. Forgive me the extended data dump.

Between the Soviet census of 1989 and the Ukrainian census of 2001, Ukraine's population declined from 51,271,996 to 48,077,020, a loss of 3,194,976 people or 6.23% of the 1989 population. Making it to date a country with the lowest birth rate in Europe. However, this trend has been quite uneven and varied regionally. Three regions in western Ukraine — Volyn, Rivne, and Zakarpattia saw a slight population increase of 0.2%, 0.8% and 1%, respectively. Collectively, between 1989 and 2001 the seven western regions annexed to the USSR in 1939 lost 119,893 people or 1.2% of their 1989 population. The total population of these regions in 2001 was 9,593,800.

Between 1989 and 2001, the population of Kiev region increased by 6.9% and that of Kiev City by 1.5%. Outside the capital, the central, southern and eastern regions experienced a severe decline in population. Between 1989 and 2001, the [Donetsk] region lost 470,681 people or 8.9% of its population, and neighbouring Luhansk region lost 10.9% of its population. Cherkasy region, in central Ukraine south of Kiev, lost 10.8%, while Odessa region lost 155,245 people, or 5.9% of its 1989 population. By 2001, Crimea's population declined by 396,795 people, representing 16.33% of the 1989 population, despite the return of displaced groups such as Crimean Tatars. Collectively, the net population loss in those parts of Ukraine that had belonged to the USSR prior to 1939 was 3,075,083 people or 6% of the 1989 population. The total population of these regions in 2001 was 38,483,220.

Thus, from 1989 until 2001 the pattern of population change was one of modest growth in Kiev, slight declines in western Ukraine, significant declines in eastern, central and southern Ukraine and a catastrophic decline in Crimea.

Regional differences in birth rates may account for some of the demographic differences. In the third quarter of 2007, for instance, the highest birth rate among Ukrainian regions occurred in Volyn Oblast, with a birth rate of 13.4/1,000 people, compared to the Ukrainian country-wide average of 9.6/1,000 people, which is the lowest in Europe. Volyn's birthrate is higher than the birth rate in any European country with the exceptions of Iceland and Albania. In 2007, for the first time since 1990, five Ukrainian regions (Zakarpattia Oblast, Rivne Oblast,Volyn Oblast, Lviv Oblast, and Kiev Oblast) experienced more births than deaths. This demonstrates a positive trend of increasing birthrates in the last couple of years throughout Ukraine. The ratio of births to deaths in those regions in 2007 was 119%, 117%, 110%, 100.7%, and 108%, respectively. With the exception of Kiev region, all of the regions with more births than deaths were in western Ukraine.

This set of divergences is very interesting, especially since it maps onto very real cultural differences between Ukraine's different regions. Take language, for instance. Broadly speaking, western Ukraine is solidly Ukrainophone, while central Ukraine is partly so (Ukrainophone in the rural, at least officially shifting away from Russian in the cities), while eastern Ukraine is solidly Russophone with some active speakers of Ukrainian concentrated in rural areas. If--to identify one possible scenario--western and central Ukraine do relatively well through their links to Europe and their relatively larger cohorts of working-age people, while an eastern Ukraine with a declining industrial economy and rapidly shrinking population closely associated to Russia, major political, economic, even geopolitical shifts could reasonably be expected. Too, this evidence fits with a thesis that I'm developing, derived from Estonian and Latvian experiences, suggesting that Russophones evidence significantly lower cohort fertility and significantly higher mortality than many other ethnolinguistic groups in the west of the former Soviet Union.

The problem for me is that I'm not doing a very good job of finding this information. One of the best sources that I can find comes from Brienna Perelli-Harris' 2008 Demographic Research study "Ukraine: On the border between old and new in uncertain times".

Fertility in Ukraine differs significantly by region and to some degree by ethnicity. According to 2000 official data, the TFR was 1.4 births per woman in Western Ukraine, 1.1 in Central Ukraine and 1.0 in Eastern Ukraine. Some of this difference is attributable to urban-rural differences; the majority of the population in the East lives in cities, while western Ukraine is largely rural. Yet the regions differ in other ways, e.g., in their orientation towards family life and national identity. Focus group respondents from all regions thought that the western region of the country followed a more traditional, religious, and nationalistic family orientation, while they perceived that the eastern part of the country remained under the influence of Soviet ideology. Political attitudes, public opinion, and electoral behavior are consistently found to be associated with regional differences (Kubicek 2000, Birch 2000, Barrington 2002, Arel 1995). The regions also followed different economic trajectories. Eastern Ukraine is more industrialized than the other regions, specializing in coal mining and heavy industry, and following political independence from the Soviet Union, much of this region became economically depressed. Central Ukraine, called the breadbasket of the Soviet Union, has been dominated by agriculture, food processing, and light industry. Western Ukraine historically has been primarily engaged in agricultural production, but its productivity lagged behind other regions (Birch 2000); following the break up of the Soviet Union, this region began to orient itself towards the West, with many inhabitants temporarily migrating abroad for work. Thus, each region has faced different challenges during the post-Soviet period, challenges that may result in a variety of family formation responses and need to be analyzed further. (15)

This is useful, agreed, but more data yet would be wonderful. This data shortage is particularly aggravating since I've seen these divergences mentioned in brief throughout the blogosphere, but with no data attached.

I put it to the readers of Demography Matters: What do you know about the regional demographic divergences in Ukraine above? Can you point to links and cites, in whatever language? Is this an actual phenomenon, or is it distorted somehow?



Cicerone said...

I think that there are cultural, but also other differences between Russians and Ukranians in Ukraine. The east was a centre of heavy industries, and the west is more agricultural.

It would be interesting to point out ethnic fertility differences in other countries, how about (lower vs higher fertility):
Scots vs English
English vs Irish
Corsicans vs French
Italians vs Tyrolians
Turks vs Kurds
Chinese vs Malays
Italian-Swiss vs German-Swiss
Flemish vs Walloons
Christians vs Jews in Israel
Muslims vs Jews (West Bank, yes Jews have higher fertility than Muslims in West Bank!)

There are very much examples for fertility differnces between ethnic groups in the same Country. Differences in developing countries can be described by advanced economic positions of certain groups but what about developed countries? Corsicans enjoy the same government support for families as the mainland French.

OT: It would also be interesting to seek reasons for the ultra low fertility in Asian cities. Just to give some data:

Tokyo 1.01
Seoul 1.01
Hong Kong 1.0
Bangkok 0.88!
Taipei 1.02
Busan 0.98

European countries with same country-wide TFRs have higher urban fertilities:

Berlin 1.27
Rome above 1.3
Warsaw 1.2-1.3
Moscow 1.2-1.3
Vienna 1.3-1.4

The Fall of the House of Usher said...

Cicerone, do you have the specific TFR numbers for South Tyrol to show the size of the difference? It would also be interesting to know the TFRs of the Italian speaking and German speaking populations within South Tyrol itself.

Also, do you have the numbers for Kurd majority region TFRs in Turkey?

Will Baird said...

I think the phenomenon is real.

However, Lyuda cautions that the official statistics are bogus and not to be trusted. She used to work for the Ukrainian equivalent of the secret service as an accountant prior to her immigration. Let's just say that while she made war on everyone around her that tried to cook the books, it still happened rampantly.

This is a wild ass guess here. However, would there be a map of corruption vs fertility. It's less that corruption causes the problem than feeling of a lack of trust and hope for the future is rooted in those places: "Take what I can while I can and forget about the future" sort of attitude.

People, even the most successful ones we know in Ukraine, including the guy I call the Fixer, are trying to get their kids OUT of Ukraine. And NOT to Russia.

Oh, Cicerone. DO *NOT* call russophones in Ukraine Russians. They definitely do NOT see themselves as such. It's like making the mistake of calling Canadians Americans because they speak English. (Hi Randy!)

CB said...

TFR for Italian regions are here:

South Tirol has a TFR of 1.6, the highest rate in Italy in 2008. For 2007, there is also data for the ca 100 provinces:

There it's second, just behind Reggio Emilia.

I don't have data for the ethnic groups, but South Tirol is 80% German language, and rising about 1% every decade so Tyrolyan fertility should be higher than Italian.

For Turkey I calculated estimates for 2003-2007. I calculated the General Fertility Rate (Number of 0-4 year old people/15-45 year old females) and then looked what came out for Turkey as a whole. I divided that figure with the actual TFR of Turkey in that year to get my factor with whom I should multiply the provincial GFRs to get their estimated TFRs. From that data I'd estimate the Kurdish fertility 3.5 - 4. No Kurdish province is below 3 and none above 5 children/woman.
Turkish TFRs are slightly below 2.1, with strong regional differences. Coastal areas are all below 2.1, far western coastal provinces at the aegean sea are below 1.65. Istanbul has 1.91, Ankara 1.77 and Izmir 1.64. But these are estimates.

@Will: OK, but aren't russian speaking Ukrainians ethnical Russians? I'm not an expert for Ukraine^^

Tamara said...

I don't know any statistics, but from personal experience - No, Russian speaking Ukrainians aren't necessarily Russian. Some are - there was plenty of immigration into the Ukraine from Russia during Soviet times - but Russian was also more widely spoken, and probably crucially, was the language of most primary/secondary school, and all higher education, and so is/was pretty dominant amongst ethnic Ukrainians as well.

Randy McDonald said...

Russophone Ukrainians are something like Anglophone Irish: They still identify themselves with the nationality, but don't speak the associated language natively.

Anonymous said...

Its got to do with religion. The catholics and protestants are located in western ukraine. And they have a higher fertility rate than the eastern orthodox.

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