In Russia, the birth rate continues to decline. In the fall of 2018, it was higher by 8%. At the same time, mortality is increasing, and the country's population is declining. You don’t even have to fight with our superpower, it will empty itself at such a pace. And this is the main problem of modern Russia.
Fertility in Russia is very low
If we analyze the demographic situation in most of the “Russian” regions of the Russian Federation, we can draw very disappointing conclusions.
The birth rate is falling most rapidly in the European part of Russia. In the Central Federal District, the population is declining by 0,5% per year, and in some regions - by 0,8% per year. Such rates of population decline can easily be compared with neighboring Ukraine, but there was war there, Crimea and the republics of Donbass disconnected there, there is a huge outflow of labor migrants to Russia and the EU countries. Anyway, Ukraine is seen in Russia as a negative example, the “404 country”, and yet, if you think about it, our situation is no better!
Only Moscow and the republics of the North Caucasus show a slight increase in the birth rate. But in Moscow, a high birth rate is an inevitable consequence of the large presence of internal and external migrants, among whom people of childbearing age predominate. In addition, migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus go to Moscow, whose families have always had a good birth rate. But the neighboring Moscow region shows a decrease in both the birth rate and the population, which only confirms the thesis about the connection of the demographic successes of the capital exclusively with migration.
Natural population growth in the fall of the 2019 year takes place only in the 17 regions of Russia. Among them are 6 of the Caucasian republics: Dagestan, the Chechen Republic, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, North Ossetia-Alania, Siberian national regions - Tuva, Buryatia, Altai Republic, Republic of Yakutia - Sakha, Yamalo-Nenets and Khanty-Mansiysk district, as well as the Tyumen region and Moscow.
In the Yamalo-Nenets and Khanty-Mansiysk districts and the Tyumen region, as in Moscow, population growth is associated with youth migration, the emergence of families of migrants and the birth of children. With the exception of regions attractive for migration, we see that natural growth is preserved only in the national republics of the Caucasus and Siberia and is due to national traditions and a high number of traditional patriarchal families.
But over the past year, the rate of natural population growth has decreased even in regions such as Chechnya and Dagestan. In September 2018, in these regions, as in other Caucasian republics, the birth rate was higher than now. But, of course, in the Central Federal District, the situation with the birth rate is generally disastrous. Even the enormous at first glance flows of external migration help to slightly change statistics only in Moscow, in the remaining regions there are practically no Central Asian migrants, or they are present there without families.
Why is fertility declining?
The main reason for the deplorable demographic situation is the reduction in the average number of births per woman. In terms of fertility, Russia lags behind many countries and regions of the world. Of course, no one relies on the performance of West Africa (in Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, an average of 5-7 children is born per 1 woman), but in Russia they are insufficient even for simple reproduction of the population. By the way, fertility indicators are also declining: in the 2018 year in Russia they amounted to 1,58 per 1 woman, and in the 2019 year - already 1,55.
In Russia, the average age of marriage is gradually increasing, respectively, and the number of children born in a marriage is decreasing. This is connected not only with the socio-economic situation, and not even so much with it, but with general sociocultural transformations in the life of our country and the world as a whole. The duration of childhood and adolescence increases, their age boundaries shift up. Half a century ago, a young family did not surprise anyone, where the father of 21-22 was only years old and his mother was 18-20, but now, on the contrary, such families are more likely to surprise: we are seeing them more in a socially disadvantaged environment , and their existence does not last long.
On the other hand, the vast majority of young people of this age are now socially (rather than physiologically) - adolescents who study, less often - work in low-paid jobs. They are not able to support a family for financial reasons, to keep it - for moral, psychological and behavioral. Mostly parents of guys and girls also oppose marriage at a young age, since they understand very well that such a family with a probability of 60% will break up in the coming years, and then they will have to keep grandchildren in addition.
The decline in fertility in the younger category of childbearing age is at the fastest pace. Only in the last three years, Russians between the ages of 20 and 30 have begun to give birth at 15% less often than their peers even in the recent 2014 year. If we compare with the generation of parents, then now 20-29-year-old Russians give birth in 2,5 times less often than their peers in the 1990 year. The reasoning that in modern Russia the birth rate has increased in the age category older than 35-40 years does not stand up to criticism, since the total contribution of such "old-born" to the birth rate is still minimal.
More than half of all registered marriages break up. For most Russians, divorce has ceased to be a real life tragedy. In fact, this is only a banal change of partner, which before marriage, a woman could have more than a dozen. Women are used to divorces and prepare themselves for them even before they enter into an official marriage - both in legal terms, taking care of premarital property, and in psychological too.
But if more than half of the families break up, then who will give birth in the first marriage years to three or even two children? What to do a divorced 24-year-old woman with two or three children? The chances of getting married are reduced, financial problems are enormous and it is good if there is support from parents. The state, verbally caring for motherhood and childhood, actually invests little and a little in the way it should be invested in real support for families with children.
Of course, the undisputed conquest of the Putin era was maternal capital. Since Russia does not boil down to Moscow, St. Petersburg or Novosibirsk, in small towns and rural areas the amount of maternal capital is quite decent money, for which you can buy a small isolated apartment or a whole house, albeit without any frills. But housing is housing, but with financial assistance to young families in the country, everything is very bad. And it would not be worth the government to justify itself by saying that children's allowances supposedly can fall into the hands of some mysterious large families of young oligarchs who do not need money, or alcoholics and drug addicts who will inevitably drink and skip them.
For the vast majority of Russian families, the birth of a child, and especially two, three or four, is a serious blow to the budget. And you can make up for this blow only by paying normal children's allowances until the 18 anniversary of the child. Even if these benefits would be even half of the formal (not real, please note!) Living wage of the child, that is, thousands of 5 rubles per one, this would already be a huge increase. And a family with three children for an extra 15 thousand rubles could have lived much easier than now, when this money is simply not there.
It is clear that among Russian parents there are both wealthy people and finished alcoholics. But both those and others are an absolute minority in relation to the bulk of the population. And do not pay millions of normal families children's allowances out of fear that even 5% of their recipients will turn out to be dishonest people and they will drink these allowances, this, alas, is only a duty excuse.
How vicious is the point of view that people give birth to children supposedly for themselves. Of these "born for themselves" consists of the state as a whole. And the soldiers, factory workers, policemen, pilots, doctors, teachers and even librarians with cleaners do not serve and work for their parents, but for the state and society.
Is it possible to rectify the situation?
A decrease in the birth rate, a reduction in the number of marriages, and an increase in the real age at marriage are a worldwide trend. This is sad, but it is. However, the state on a national scale must take care of its security, and today the main threat to national security is not so much even the country's external adversaries as the banal extinction of the population. And this threat must be fought, the problem that caused it must be addressed.
How? It is clear that you cannot force people to marry and give birth at the stroke of a pen; a whole range of efforts is needed to popularize the family and procreation. And the main components of this complex are financial support and the creation of a sociocultural foundation for the popularization of the family and fertility.
Of course, the most important measure of real financing for raising the birth rate is to pay normal wages, which could support a family with three or more children. Such salaries, unfortunately, in modern Russia receive an absolute minority. If we take four children, an unemployed mother and father, then such a family simply will not be able to live on less than 100-150 thousand rubles (unless you talk about survival when you choose what to buy - socks for the eldest son or average cowards, potatoes or pasta) .
Financial support for childbearing should be provided at a high level by the state. Child benefits should be paid to all families with children and represent at least some real amount. For families with a large number of children or with one parent, such benefits should be paid at least in the amount of a living wage for each child. The birth of a large number of children, subject to their upbringing under normal conditions and by normal members of society (so as not to produce lumpenized layers), should be considered by the state as an honorable function that deserves maximum financial and social encouragement.
Families with many children should have the opportunity of real financial support from the state, provision of housing (even if they have their own, but not enough in area), and mothers and fathers with many children (if they live in the same marriage with their mother) should enjoy the right to early retirement, and not 2 years earlier, but significantly - 5-10 years earlier (depending on the number of children).
Much attention should be paid to measures to preserve the family, which should also be comprehensive - from financial support to a real fight against manifestations of domestic violence. If we talk about the sociocultural foundation, this is the propaganda of childbearing and family in the media, the neutralization of negative content that is destructive for family relationships. Young people should see that a strong and large family enjoys real respect and real privileges in society, and does not receive a “letter of honor” every two years from the deputy head of the municipality for social issues.
But the main question is whether it is possible to count on all the above measures of social and sociocultural support for the family, motherhood, fatherhood and childhood in the current conditions, given the socio-economic and political course that the leadership of our country follows? So far, unfortunately, the current government does not demonstrate a genuine desire to solve the social problems of the population.
Moreover, anti-people’s measures, such as raising the retirement age, most likely create a feeling that the state is indifferent to its citizens and their problems, and what kind of increase in the birth rate, what kind of overcoming the consequences of a demographic catastrophe can be discussed?