Thursday, September 24, 2009

What's up with the Russian census?

Window on Eurasia's Paul Goble reports that some Russians wonder if the Russian census, originally scheduled for 2010, has been rescheduled for 2013 or even 2014 on account of various logistical and methodological problems.

According to a report on the portal, “it is possible that now live in Russia not 142 million people as has been considered all this year but 139.98 million,” a figure Rosstat fixed on but does not yet report “in the process of the preparation for the census,” which will now take place in 2013 (
In an article entitled “The Miracles of Statistics,” Konstantin Gaaze, Ekaterina Chekmareva, and Boris Grozovsky say that the decision to delay the census means that no one in Russia will be in a position to definitively resolve this and other differences until at least 2014 when the results of the 2013 enumeration will become available.
Russian officials have explained the delay almost entirely in terms of cost, citing budgetary shortfalls because of the current economic crisis. But the three analysts argue that cost may be far from the most important reasons for the delay: after all, they say, the census would cost less than one-tenth of one percent of the government’s annual budget even now.
The two groups most disappointed by the Russian government’s decision to delay the census by three years are regional officials who now face a more difficult time in arguing for greater funds for what they claim are larger populations and the leadership and staff of Rosstat itself.
“We are experiencing the putting off of the census as a personal grief,” one Rosstat employee said. “We had prepared for it, awaited it, and wanted it.” And some at that agency are convinced that the delay will sooner or later cost Vladimir Sokolin, the head of Rosstat who argued passionately for the census, his job.

What are the preliminary findings?

Summing up its findings, Rosstat calculated that there are 137.8 million people registered and resident and approximately 2.3 million more registered but not resident (the figure drawn from the 2002 count) for a total of 139.98 million – far less than the 141.9 million that Rosstat put out as the country’s population on July 1.
Rosstat employees warned the journalists that its data are preliminary and suggested that no one should take them too seriously. But another said that “the difference between the data of the census and those registered should not be [as] large” as Rosstat had found in this case.

The number of migrants and the distributrion of the population seem to be the key problems here.

Can our readers, Russophone or otherwise, shed any light on this subject?


AbchasischDeutscherVerein said...

I give a few examples.
In my construction project in Sochi work 8 construction workers. 6 are registered of all 8 workers everybody from another region of Russia or from another republic of the CIS and neither temporarily nor do they have a valid stay approval. So only two are "firmly registered in Sochi and one from Armenia comes and owns a temporary stay approval.
My example is very comm n.
It has many reasons, on the one hand, the workers from Moscow, however, are not registrated in Sochi because they would lose, otherwise, the family support in Moscow (which is many times higher) or the temporary registration is too bureaucratic in Sochi and will caused problems and costs. Besides for foreigners to get a stay approval in Sochi almost impossibly. As a rule every second construction worker is not an lawful foreigner or a Russian with out Registration.
Thus it also in the local traffic branch and even more badly in the long-distance traffic. In Russia there are many villages with hundreds of registered, nevertheless a house does not stand there any more... Also a lot of CIS citizen neither temporary in Russia nor firmly in Russia registrated because they would lose otherwise living space in Byelorussia, Moldavia, the Ukraine, Central Asia. The aspect "RIGHT of living space" is quite an important specific feature. If a Russian finish his registration himself in his village, or in the town he would lose (if not privatised) the Right of living pace" . Differently than in west there was in the Soviet system no right of property but a right of living space. By the reforms in the registration-law and the privatisation waves many rights on living space been changed in to property, nevertheless millions of people are still concerned by it. This system and the pragmatism in today's Russia tempts these people to leave towns and countries not to registre departure, etc....,
There are also smaller regional differences. Thus there are in South Russia by the ethnic conflicts and the war in Chechnya hundred thousands people from A or B do not live, however, registrated there but in reality do stay outside the Country. So they are inside the statistics as residents, nevertheless they live for a long time abroad. However, thats for sure not millions but some hundred thousand of people.
In Siberia for example for Russians often more fun to stay in China or Mongolia and to work in Russia because the wages are higher in Russia and the cost of living lower. Again.. for sure not Millions but hundred thousand certainly from Russia do so. These are natural only smaller posts. on the whole the main problem is the not yet finished living space privatisation in many countries of the CIS unfavorably on a statistics has an effect because they force the people to false statements .
These are only smaller examples, nevertheless millions "of people" are already concerned by it.

Борис Денисов said...

I suppose that cost as an argument is definitely a fake. Real reason is difficult to understand as well as many other initiatives from Kremlin. I suppose that the census had been cancelled in order to facilitate successful reports on so called national projects.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how immigrants could be counted, they make themselves hard to find and are unlikely to participate. As the main source of population growth is immigration a census is rather useless.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK population has risen by 2 million since 2001, to a peak of 61.4 million. I wish I could disbelieve that in reality our population is at least 77 million

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