Working for growth: Gaidar Forum experts discuss improvement of demographics in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin began his Address to the Federal Assembly with discussing demographics and called for raising the birthrate by 2024, ensuring natural population growth. An expert assessment of Russia’s demographic outlook was presented the 11th Gaidar Forum at the Presidential Academy on January 15.

Sergei Scherbov, Head of the International Laboratory for Demography and Human Capital at RANEPA, presented a report comparing the demographic indicators of various Russian regions and assessing the long-term trends in the numbers and structure of the Russian population at the session on Population Projection in Russia: Regional Perspective.

The expert noted that some of the Russian regions can boost the birth rate to the level indicated by the President (1.7 children per woman). However, it is almost impossible to predict the birthrate fluctuations with absolute accuracy because this indicator depends on many factors.

“Around 30–35 years ago, Iran boasted one of the highest birthrates in the world: 7 children per woman. And then it fell below the replacement level. I mean uncertainty is extremely high here, and accurate forecasting is virtually impossible. All we can confidently use is probabilistic forecasts,” Shcherbov said.

Valery Yelizarov, director of research at the Laboratory for Population Economics and Demography, Department of Economics at Moscow State University, commented on his colleague’s report, saying that the measures proposed by the President to support families can help achieve some upward demographic dynamics. Vladimir Putin, in his Address to the Federal Assembly, instructed to create 255,000 jobs by 2021, extend the maternity capital program until December 31, 2026, and raise the benefit for the birth of a second child to 616,600 rubles.

A comprehensive plan for improving the demographic situation is laid out in the data sheet for the Demography National Project launched in 2019. According to a number of indicators, it is being implemented ahead of schedule. Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova last summer spoke of a statistically significant increase in life expectancy and a decrease in infant mortality to the level that was intended to be achieved by 2023.

The 11th Gaidar Forum, Russia and the World: Challenges of the New Decade, held at the Presidential Academy on January 15 and 16, 2020, focuses on discussing national and global development goals and finding practical answers to the most pressing challenges of our time. The forum is attended by Cabinet ministers of the Russian Federation, members of the Federal Assembly, governors of Russian regions, major international experts, and representatives of foreign states.

11th Gaidar Forum Organizers:

The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA);
The Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (Gaidar Institute);
The Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR).

Forum partners:

General partners: Gazprom, Gazprombank. Strategic partners: Coca-Cola, Mastercard, Russian Railways, Pharmstandard group, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Novartis Group, MSD, ACIG Group, EF Education First. Partners: Prosveshcheniye Group, EY, Huawei, RVC, Russian Agricultural Bank.

General information partners: Rossiya 24 TV Chanel, TASS, RBC, Business FM; strategic information partners: Kommersant Publishing House, Interfax, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Invest Foresight online business magazine, RIA FederalPress; main information partners:,,,, Profile; international partners: RT, Thomson Reuters, Sputnik, EFE, Cision, Pan Pacific Agency; information partners: Snob media project, PRIME economic news agency, RNS, Expert magazine, Parlamentskaya Gazeta,, Radio Ekho Moskvy, PRO Business TV channel, FINAM.RU agency, Davydov.Index, Strategia magazine, Ekonomika i Zhizn newspaper, ECONS.ONLINE website, Gosudarstvennaya Sluzhba magazine, TV BRICS.