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USSR: Demographic Trends and Ethnic Balance in the Non-Russian Republics
A RetMrca Piper
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USSR: Demographic Trends and Ethnic Balance in the Non-Russian Republics
A Research Paper
USSR: Demographic Trendshnic Balance in Ihc Non-Russian Republics
Information avatlablt asied Im Mi rtport.
9 population growth and internal migration trends led to changes in the balance between ethnic Russians and the titularethnic groups for which the Soviet republics areall of theon-Russian republics. These republics, in all of which ethnic Russiansinority, contain nearly half of the totalpulabor;.
According9 Soviet census data, the total population of the USSR grew at an average annual rate of just4 millionillion. The southern republics (in the Caucasus and Centralowever, grew byercent annually, largely because birthrates among tbe Muslim titular nationalities were over two times the Soviet national average. The western republics (the Bailies, Moldavia, Belorussia, and ihey contrast, grew by an average annual rate ofercent, reflecting low birthrates among the titularThe southern republics aboet ouunigration of morerulbon people, while the Baltic republicset immigration ofuarterillion. Both of these migration flows were made up predominantly of Russians.
Shifts in the ethnic composition of the Centra) Asian and Baltic republics were among the largest, fn Central Asia (including the Kazakhhe proportion of Russians declined byercentage points9uring that time, the proportion of Russians in lhe Tajik SSR fell belowercent; now, only the Kirghiz and Kazakh SSRs have proportions that are above ihis level. Also. Kazakhs surpassed Russians as the largest minority in the Kazakh SSR. In the Baltics, the ethnic Russian proportions grew byercentage pointsesult, Latvians are in jeopardy of losing their niajority status in the Latvian SSR; their proportion fell fromercent9 toercenthe other two Balticandnoi in danger of losing their majority standing.
Duringhe titular nationality proportions will continue to grow in the south but remain near current levels in the west while the Russian proportions grow slightly:
The most significant changes could occur in ihe Baltics. Estonian and Lithuanian leaders are considering setting quotas on immigration,only Estoniaraft law. If the immigration quotas arc successfully established they would slow Russian immigration and the decline of the titular proportions,esult, the titular nationality proportions in their respective republics could be near or even above current levelsn the other hand, if immigration docs not abate, Latvians couldinority in their republic.
The Muslim republics will continue to grow the fastest, because of the high rates of natural increase among the titular groups. If outmigration of ethnic Russians accelerates or remains near current levels, as is likely, Russian proportions will decline even more precipitately than during. In fact, the Kirghiz couldajority in their republiceaving the Kazakh SSR as the only republic in which the titular nationality isajority.
Significant changes in tbe balance between the titular nationalities and ethnic Russians in the Belorussian, Ukrainian, and Moldavian SSRs are unlikely. The collective proportion of Belorussians. Ukrainians, andlargest Slavic groups in thehowever, drop fromercent9 toercent or less of the total Soviet population
In the Caucasus under any reasonable demographic scenario, the strong proportional domination of the titular groups is not likely to change and ethnic Russians will remain small minorities.
Summary In (rod uct ion
Overview of Demographic Change Purine
High Rates of Natural Increase
Outnugration of Ncfliiidigcnousoups
Urban to Rural Migration
The Western Periphery
Low Rates of Natural Increase
Immigration of Noniodigenous Ethnic Groups
Ethnic Balance in the Peripheral Republic*
Outlook: Ethnic Balances in
Sutrstics for tbe Soviet
Fertility Rate* of the Titular
USSR: Demographic Trends and Ethnic Balance in lhe Non-Russian Republics
trod uc linn
Theon-Russian republics that surround tbeSoviel Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) make up about one-fourth of tbe Soviel land mass but contain nearly half of the USSR's total peculation, according9 Soviet census data (secussiansinority in these "pwiphcraPeven though they are the largest ethnic group that occupies the Soviet Union. Moreover, the titular nationalities that occupy these republics have, for the most part,trong sense of regional and cultural identity.1
Tbe data alio show that the ethnic mu of the peripheral republics is changing, in part because of differences in population growth rates and ia pan because of migration. In some places these changes favor ethnic Russians; in others they favor non-Russian nationalities, In either case, theseshifts arc contributing to growing nationality problems in the USSR: the growing Russianin the Baliica, for example, has been usedolitical issue by Baltic nationalists to fuel secessionist sentiment, while in Central Asia, Russians areolitical and cultural climate that has grown hostile toward ibem. This paper9 Soviet census data, which are being released piecemeal, lo examineand explore their implications for then.
f Demographic Change During
Overall, the Soviet population grewinyear ihe last Soviet census wasillionhis amountsn average annual growth rate of justerceni. aboui the same as fornd roughlyto lhat of lhe United States. The predominantly
1 The term "titular nanonility" refers toethnic aroup for which ihc alien Sonet republic it ruined. For ciamt-k, (be Tajik* are the liiuUr nationality in tbe Tajik SSR.
Soviet Population in Core Versus
ISg Core 'HA i'enpbery
non-Russian periphery grew more rapidly, however: in the aggregate these republics grewercent annually,9 millionillion, while ibe core Russian Republic grew byercent annually,illionillion (see foldout at end oflthough these rates are more balanced than in past decades, the proportion of the Soviet population living in the peripheral republics continues to grow (sec
Changes in tbe ethnic compcnalwo of tbe Sonet population reflect this geographic pattern of growth. The recent census data show that, collectively, Ihe
Ethnic Composition ol Soviet
oo Russian titular Olher
non-Russian titular nationalities are growing more rapidlyonic Russians and that their share of lhe tout Soviel peculation ii expanding (tee figureuringhe titular rationalitiesroup grewcrcenl annually and their proportion of the total Soviet population grew to aboutercent. Meanwhile, the ethnic Russian population grew by an annual raleercent and its proportion of tbe total population declined to just underercent. Collectively, ibe remainder of lhe nationalities in the USSR held atercent of tbe total population during.
These aggregate figures mask an importantcomrast between tbe souih and west. In the Caucasus and Central Asia, for example, population growth remains as high as in tome neighboring Third World countries, while lhe Ukraine, Belorussia,and the three Baltic republics more closely resemblen some cases population growth rales in the western ncc-Russian republics are below those of many developed nations
Tbe Southern Periphery
The southern republiea, which historically have led the Soviet Union io population growth, continued to do to during, growing by an averaie annual rate ofercent. This is rnore than twice lhe national average and has remained constant since lhe. Tbe six predominantly Muslim republics (the five Central Asian republics and Azerbaijan) had the highest rales of population growth of lheoviet republics.
Higk Ham of Natural Imcrtau. Rapid population growth In Use south it due largely to high rates of naturalexceeding deaths Duringirthrates in the predominantly Muslimwere about twice the national average, while death rates remained naar the average. Fertilitynumber of children being borne by women during their childbearingthesetitular groups declined slightly.*
The combination of rising birthrates and declining fertility indicates lhat demographic momentum mayriving force behind lhe rapid population growth
1 For Hit putpoees ol Ihis ptptr,are incMing Uie Kiukh. SSR in Central Asia, ilibaugb cattyKlrtali. Uzbek. Turkmen, and I SSRi mile up ibe Central Awen economic region ii dclired by UMaw aSMlataWaticn rttncii Ibe eeatocrape* andI ntojtartije* at Una* fivere-KB Tbe rrpkblKt Jtdude ibe Georpin. Ai menus, aad Arerbniinnii driiili in :mic i'its arend K
(.haul? In Number of H, Ages'
the Muslimndeed, duringM number of Muslim women in tbe chvldbearing ages (IS ioears old) grew by substantially more than among the other titular nationalities, according to current estimates (secn the basis of experience in Third World countries, where thistypically occurs, countering this momentum willignificant reduction in fertility for several decades. Muslim fertility rates declinedduringut still remain high by both world and Soviet standards, because
' OeaMtrsplixinio lhe tendency oJpopoljim la coaUBMnr becaoie lie number of mm of rtilcn.raftUKMUn B( .ontnu. dunjo ii tenia, rile* detente Ik* etiew toeachcrrasa more orWm-i
rural Muslims iraditionally hare large families and because birth control programs in Central Asia have been ineffective.
Outmigratitm of fVonindigruota Ethnicentral Asia and the Caucasusombined net outmigratlon of moreillion people (seehe oulmlgra-tion from Central Asia probably began in thend has been accelerating, according to Soviet statistics. It reverses the experience of earlier decades when Russians migrated into the region, encouraged
Ruvum Population in the -Soothem
HT? IW FtrajMiiiM
tihemjtmdi) fikinumht imutam
Turin and Stalinist policies (continued byand Brezhnev) that were designed tothe agricultural and industrial base of the region Ovtmif,ration from the Caucasus started in.
Moat of the people who left were from oonindncoous ethnic groups and probably ethnic Russians:
99 the number of Russians declined in all but the Kazakh and Kirghiz SSRs. This means that tbe exodus was ao large lhat the natural increase ofillion Russians who remained was not enough to keep pace (sec
Thef Russians in the Kazakh and Kirghiz SSRs grew un average byercent5 percent annually. On average, the Russiannationwide grewercent annually, so these low growth rates suggest lhat ouimigration held down the growth of tbe Russian population in these republics as well.
At tbe same lime, none of the titular nationalities from these regions have increased in substantially large numbers elsewhere in the USSR.
Much of this migration was probably the result of poor economic conditions and rising ethnic tension Economic condition* in Central Asia have been
deteriorating for some time, and ethnic Europeans ind nortindigenous Muslims face increasing hostility and violence from lhe titular nationalities, according lo Soviel press reports. Recently, their uneasincsa has been intensified by the implemenution of newlaws requiring official use of the indigenous languages in republic governments and some industries.
Vrbmn to Rural Migration.9 census data indicate that, except for the Kazakh SSR. theof the population of tbe Central Asian republics residing in urban areas declined or remained about the same during, while in the rcst-of the USSR, the urban proportion grew (seehese data, along with press reports suggesting that some indigenous people are returning to the countryside to be self-sufficient, indicate that urban-lo-niralis occurring.
Ihe Western Periphery
Populations in the western republics grewercent annually (or about half lhe national average)9he Ukraine, "breadbasket" of
Percent of Republic Populations Living bi Urban and Rural
(national aver age)
tbe USSR, had the lowest growth rate of tbe IS Soviet republics. The three Baltic republics alsoslow growth during. althoughrates for these three republics were only slightly less iban for the entire USSR.
Low Rain af Natural laerwt. The slow population nrnwib in the west is largely the result of low -Duringll of the westernexcept Moldavia experienced birthrates below tbe Soviet national average Moreover, low fertility rates compounded the tow birthrates: except for Moldavia, women had barely enough daughters to "replace" themselves in the nest generation.
In the Baltics, growth rates of tbe titular nationalities were much lower than the overall republic rates Estonians and Latvians in particular grew94 percent per year, respectively. In absolute terms the number of lUtonian* in Estonia grew by0 during the past decade, while the total
population of the republic increased by. Thus, the increase in the number of Estoniansfor someercent of the republic's total population increase. In Latvia the increase iu the number of Latvians accounted for someercent of that republic's total growth.
Tbe Ukrainian SSR experienced the lowest rale of natural increase of all Soviet republics during most of. Unlike the Baltics, where the titular nationalitics exhibit very low growth rates, however, the ethnic Ukrainian growth rate was about tbe same as for tbe republic overall. In fact, during tbe pastears tbe number of Ukrainians increased by someabout half of tbe republic's totalthough some Ukrainians moved to the Baltic and Russian republics. This reflects aregional variation within the republic: birthrates in the predominantly Ukrainian west were aboutcrcenl higher than the more ethnically diverseregion.
Immigration of Nomiatlittnems Etkmie Growpl.accountedignificant proportion of tbe growth reported in Ihc Baltic republics during.99 the regionet immigration ofeople (see rJcurc
or aboutercent of the overall population growth of the threen the Latvian and Estonian SSRs. migration accounted for more than half of the population growth. Moscow used its system of work and residence permits, which controls the movement of Soviel cilizcm. to redress laborin the Baltic republics -lhe result of pastto locale labor-intensive industries there despite low rates of natural increase among Baits.
Ethnic Russians and Ukrainians made up much of the influx into this region, although the proportion of each is not known. The Soviet census reports thai the Russian population in ihe three republics grew at an average annual rale ofercent,illionillion, and lhat Ihc Ukrainiangrewcrcent average annual rate, from,99
Western Republics Pitt'
(seelthough some of this growth results from the natural increase of Russians and Ukrainians already living in the Baltics, the fact that these growth rates are well above the national average for the two ethnic groups suggests that many immigrated,
Leaders inStVania and Estonia are considering immigration laws that would set quotas on permanent moves into these republics from other parts of the USSR, according to Soviet press reports. To date, however, only Estoniaraft law. The most recent draft providesuota to be reset annually but does not specify an exact immigrationrevious draft, however, indicates that the desired level may be aboutercent9 immigration. In the meantime, resolutions have been passedenterprises in all three Baltic republics loax000) for each immigrating worker and member of bis family.
Key Provisions of she Estonian Draft Law on Immigration
The Estonian Draft Law on Immigration concerns entry into Ihe Estonian SSR; it does not address outmigraiion or movement within the republic. Among its key provisions are lhat it:
Defines immigration to Include residence or work of at least one month in ihe republic by persons who previously resided outside the republic.
Establishes an Estonian SSR Migration Service to administer the law.
Establishesuota on lhe number ofwill be set each calendar year by theSSR Supreme Soviet at the recommendation of the Esionian SSR Government. Although the most recent draft does notpecificrevious draft sei the quotaercent of lhe republic's total population per year.
Requires potenlial immigrants to obtain residence and work permits through the Esionian SSRService. There will be three types ofpermits: temporary (whichpecified period ofixed term (which covers Ihe termpecificnd permanent (which are Issued to "personslose relative tn theor particularly necessary labornd two types of work permits: fixed term and permanent.
Immigration is far lessactor in the other three western republics. The Ukrainian SSR did, however,etthe fact that some Ukrainians moved in search of jobs and others fled after the Chernobyl' nuclear accident. The net influx ofeople, however, accounted forercent of the republic's total population growth9elorussia and Moldavia experienced slight net outmigraiion.
Russian and Utaioian Population in lhe Baltic
of Kuui.ru MawMM
ef Ukriuujni (fAouiamii)
Balance In the Peripheral Republics
The census data released to date indicate that, except ror the Kazakhs, titular nationality groupsajority in their respective republics (seeithuanians. BeJorussians,eorgians, Armenians, Azeris, and Uzbeks account for at leastercent of iheir republics'side Iran the RSFSR, ethnic Russians do notajority in any republic but do account for at leastercent of the population Ui ibe EsttauaiS,amian, Kazakh, and Kirghiz SSRs.
ll Soviet republic* have experienced changes in the ethnic composition of their populationsesult of the combined effects of differences in natural growth rates and the migration tendencies of the titular nationalities, including Russians (sec figurehe shifts that occurred in Central Asia and the BBdB were the largest. Generally, the proportion of Russians droppedercentage points in Central Asia, while the titular proportions grewercentage points:
> Tbe proportion of Russians in the Tajik SSR fell belowercent; only the Kazakh and Kirghiz SSRsroportion of Russians above lhat
The Kirghiz areajority in iheir republic; Iheir proportion grew fromercent of thepopulation9 toercent
Elhnic Russians also lost ground in Kazakhstan. Although no ethnic groupajority in tbe Kazakh SSR. Kazakhs surpassed Russians as the largest minority in tbe republic.
In tbe Baltic republics, demographic trends resultedise lhat rangedercentage point* in tbe proportion of Russianseclineercentage points in the proportion of titular nationalities:
native majority in the Latvian SSR is now threatened. Latvians declined7 percent of tbe republic's population90 percentt ihe same time, the Russian proportion grew8 percent0 percent.
Estonians now make5 percent of Estonia's population, down7 perceni
urknicii Si K.
Change In KlhnJe Proportions In SovietS9
titular proportions in some urban areas are even lower. Press reports indicate that they are below SO percent in all three republic capitals, for example.
Outlook: Ethnic Balances in
Although it is difficult to predict with any precision tbe ethnic composition of the non-Russian republics at tbe end ol, we can project probable trends. Significant changes could occur In Ihe Baltics. If immigration laws similar to the Estonian model are enacted in tbe next few years, the decline of the titular nationalities relative to Russians could be reduced significantly perhaps allowing titularto grow slightly above current levelsepending on variations in fertility rates among the various nationalities. Conversely, if Russianis not slowed, Latvians couldinority in their republic by the end of the decade; Estonians and Lithuanians, however, would maintain majorities in their republics
Muslims will continue to be the fastest growing of tbe titular nationalities during. At the same time, Russian outmigraiion from Ihe south willcontinue to accelerate Thus, high rales ofgrowth, along wilh accelerating outmigraiion of Dcnir.dije.ious populations, are likely to strengthen the Muslim demographic preponderance in lherepublics by al least as much as during. Even if outmigraiion slows, titular proportions would still rise because of natural increase.
Growth trends also suggest that the MuslimIn the USSR overall will become younger in the next decade. Based on current trends, the proportion of tbe Muslim populationsoears old will probably rise aboveercent in thedevelopment that has been associated wilh heightened societal unresl elsewhere in the world.
Significantbe ethnic balance of theUkrainian, and belorussian Republics appeur less likely, however. This is mostly because ncilhcr migration nor natural increasearge role in the
ethnic balance of Ibe republics. Birthralei among the titular nationalities arc near the level of the nonindi-fcaoDS peculation, and net nugratioo rates have been low. The titular groups alreadyemographical-lyition in these republics. Overall, bow-ever, the combined proportion ofUkrainians, andtbe USSR's total popo-lation will fall fromercent9 toercent or less by the'
' The ethnic Russia* proportion of lhe Soviet population mil (allticsm bj ihc mid-tyvOi
Finally, in the Caucasus region we cannoteasonable scenario thai would alter tbe strongdomination of the titular groups. Elhnic Russians there will remain l'relatively insignificant minority, particularly in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Even in the cilremely unlikely event that ethnic Russians began migrating into this region in Large numbers, we cannotignificant increase in the Russian proportion
Growth Statistics for IhoRepublics,
"The Armenian death rale doubledrobabl, due at least in parehe8 earinauake. In previous yean Ihe death rale warapulation.Original document.