Russia to hold its first census next October


Russia will hold its first census on October 9th to 16, 2002 to get a fix on the country's population which has been in sharp decline since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the state statistics committee said today.

The census, costing €119 million will ask respondents 16 questions to elicit information on citizens' languages, ethnic and family status and education levels, the Interfax news agency reported.

Some 380,000 census-takers will be employed, including 19,000 permanent census workers, to reach the approximately 150 million people living permanently or temporarily in Russia.

Russia's population fell by 589,700, to 144.2 million, during the first eight months of this year, the state statistics committee said last month.

Russia has been losing around a million people a year in recent years, and the population is set to shrink by 11.6 million over the next 15 years, the committee said, warning that numbers would continue falling throughout the first half of the century.

The life expectancy of Russian men has fallen to 59 years, down from 60 last year, and could fall further because of widespread alcohol abuse and work-related accidents, demographic experts have warned.

Life expectancy for women is 72, the male-female discrepancy being one of the highest in the world.