Uncharted Territory: Emerging Population Issues in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

9 April 2010
Author: UNFPA

NEW YORK – The combination of extremely low birth rates, migration losses and moderate mortality is leading to both rapid population decline and ageing in many countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Because this is an unprecedented phenomenon, the international community cannot provide these countries with policy advice or reference to best practices elsewhere.

These are findings of a new UNFPA publication entitled, Emerging Population Issues in Eastern Europe and Central Asia : Research Gaps on Demographic Trends, Human Capital and Climate Change.

The report, which is being issued in conjunction with the upcoming Commission on Population and Development, notes that the decline in population size over the coming decades in Eastern Europe is certain. The remaining questions are how rapidly and by how much the population will contract. Due to a much younger age structure and current high fertility levels, demographic trends for Central Asia are expected to diverge from those in Eastern Europe. This demographic heterogeneity will likely impact future migration patterns. The report suggests that if the population of Eastern Europe declines by half while Central Asia experiences a 50 per cent population growth, significant migration of Central Asians, who speak Russian, into parts of Eastern Europe is likely.

The number of people over age 60 is expected to accelerate in Eastern Europe, stabilizing after 2050. This rapid ageing will certainly almost certainly impact individual families and society and place enormous pressure on national social services to provide support for older persons. The report notes that because this new phenomenon has so far affected only a limited number of countries in Eastern Europe, it has not yet received much attention. The report calls attention to the need for multi-disciplinary research on a range of demographic challenges.

Russian Federation
Population : 143.9 mil
Fertility rate
Maternal Mortality Ratio
Contraceptives prevalence rate
Population aged 10-24
Youth secondary school enrollment
Boys 94%
Girls 95%

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