Population matters

UNFPA’s activity in the area of population and development in the long run serves to increase the quality and the standard of living of the people and achieve the sustainable development of the county. UNFPA assists countries upon their request in the planning, implementation and assessment of the comprehensive population policy, which is the key element of the sustainable development strategy.

UNFPA’s activity in the area of population and development in the long run serves to increase the quality and the standard of living of the people and achieve the sustainable development of the county. UNFPA assists countries upon their request in the planning, implementation and assessment of the comprehensive population policy, which is the key element of the sustainable development strategy. In Belarus the UN Population Fund assists the Government of the Republic of Belarus in the collection and analysis of population data, increasing the quality of population forecasts, various surveys, as well as use of population data for the development of socioeconomic, sectoral policy and programmes.

Population Dynamics. Executive summary

As of May 1, 2012 the population of Belarus was 9,458,500 people. For the republic, just as for the majority of European countries, depopulation is typical. It is due to the low birth rate and a relatively high death rate. The cumulative birth rate (showing how many children one woman would give birth to during the entire reproductive period) in 2011 amounted to 1.515. While to maintain the current population size it should be at least 2.15.

The change in the social norms and notions of the modern family have resulted in such situation that 67% of families limit themselves to one child, 28% of families have two children, and 5% of families have three or more children. The high mortality rate is due to the existing age distribution – increase of the number and share of senior citizens. Besides, there is still a high mortality rate among the people of active working age. The mortality rate for men is 1.3 times higher than for women, and with that a death in active working age accounts for each third death in the male population.

The reduction of the share of children in the population make-up, the increase of the number of seniors, and high mortality rate in the active working age cause population ageing in Belarus. According to UN forecasts by 2050 the number of country inhabitants over 60 would amount to 35.8%.

Life expectancy for both sexes combined in 2011 was 70.6 years (for men 64.7 years, for women 76.7 years). With that, for the men living in urban areas this value was 66.4 years, and in rural areas – 60.3 years; for women these values amounted to 77.8 and 74.1 respectively.

Migration

Today 76% of the residents of Belarus live in urban areas – this is the highest rate among the former Soviet republics. Virtually the same urban saturation is registered, for example, in Czechia or Switzerland

During a long time domestic migration flows have been from rural to urban areas. 55.8% rural migrants are represented by the young people who go to cities to study. The negative side of this phenomenon is the reduced demographic potential of rural areas. For instance, in all administrative districts of Belarus (except Minsk and Brest) there is a natural decline in the population, which is also due to the young people going to cities.

Another peculiarity of domestic migration is the urbanization – people go to large cities: Minsk, Oblast centres and cities with population over 100,000 people. This being said Minsk takes 19% of the domestic migration flow.

External migration is characterized by growth. According to 2011 data 17.5 thousand people entered Belarus for permanent residence. The same year 7.6 thousand people left the country. The major migration is with Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, which account for 74.5% of the people arriving in Belarus. However, these migration flows are not sufficient to compensate for the loss of population and labour forces.

Census

Population census is a primary source of information on the number and the qualitative characteristics of the population. A census takes account of the most important asset of a country – its human capital asset.

Today a population census is the main source of generating country’s information resources on the number and the location of the population, its structure in terms of sex and age, employment, sectoral and professional, national and language composition, education level, number and composition of households, sources of subsistence and other socioeconomic characteristics; the only source of such information for small geographical territories and communities, as well as the basis for calculating population size between censuses.

Population census in its contemporary form was first conducted in the mid-20th century as there was increased demand for information on the population. The international population census became possible with the creation of the United Nations and its statistical facility. Its establishment marked a new stage in the development of population censuses. The United Nations Statistical Commission along with the Commission on Population and Development with valuable contributions from regional statistical conferences developed the programmes of the first population census rounds – in 1950 and 1960. By the end of the 20th century virtually all countries of the world were covered by censuses.

The population census in Belarus in the framework of the 2010 Population Census Round was conducted October 14 – 24, 2009. This census became the second one in the history of independent Belarus. It was conducted by the census takers by doing a round of residential premises and the population survey. The National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus is the census organizer. The United Nations Population Fund provided technical assistance to the census conduct. For the first time census forms were processed by an electronic system, which reads, recognizes and classifies information.

The processing of personal data obtained in the population census was completed in December 2011. The results of the population census are posted at the website of the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus