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The 1989 Soviet census, conducted between January 12-19 of that year, was the last and alledgedlly the most comprehensive one conducted in the former USSR. It resulted in a total population of 286,730,819 inhabitants. Not only in that year, but during all its entire nearly seven-decade existence, the country clearly ranked as the third most populous in the world, above the United States (with 248,709,873 inhabitants according to the 1 April 1990 census), although it was well behind China and India.

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In 1989 about half of the Soviet Union's total population lived in the RSFSR, and approximately one sixth (some 18%) of it did so in Ukraine. Almost two thirds of it (some 65.7%) was urban, leaving the rural population with some 34.3%.[1] In this way, its gradual increase continued, as shown by the series represented by 47.9%, 56.3% and 62.3% of 1959, 1970 and 1979 respectively.[2]

The last two national censuses (held in 1979 and 1989) showed that the country had been experiencing a significant absolute average annual increase of about 2.5 million additional people, although it was a slight decrease from a figure of around 3 million by year period 1959-1970. This remarkable post-war increase had contributed to the USSR's partial demographic recovery from the significant demographic and brutal bleeding of some 20 million deaths that the USSR had suffered during the Great Patriotic War (the Eastern Front of World War II), and before it, a few million more during Stalin's Great Purge of 1936-38. The previous postwar census, conducted in 1959, 1970 and 1979, had resulted in 208,826,650, 241,720,134 and 262,436,227 inhabitants respectively. [2] Just for the purpose of a simple comparison, the US censuses carried out at similar dates, between 1960 and 1980, resulted in 179,323,175, 203,302,031 and 226,542,203 inhab.[3]

In 1990 the Soviet Union was still more populated than both the United States and Canada, having some 40 million more inhabitants than the USA. However, after the dissolution of the country in late 1991, the combined population of the 15 former Soviet republics stagnated at around 290 million inhabitants for the period 1995-2000. For 2005-2010 that figure has fallen to 285 million, compared to a growing US population of 295 and 310 million for those two respective years. In particular, in the period 1990-2005 there has been a slow but constant decreasing in the demographic weight of the old Soviet "Slav core" (comprising Russia, Ukraine and Belarus) and only the population of the some of the Central Asian republics (especially Uzbekistan) has experienced an important increase.

This significant slowdown may in part be due to the remarkable changes socio-economic that followed the disintegration of the USSR, that have tended to reduce even more the already decreasing birth rates (which were already showing some signs of decline since the Soviet era, in particular among the people living in the European part of the Soviet Union).

Population change in the USSR between the 1979 and 1989 censuses

Republic January
17, 1979
(rounded)
census
 % January
12-19, 1989
census[4]
 % Annual
average
growth
(%)
Annual
absolute
growth
July 1,
1990
projection
 %
1 Armenia 3,031,000 1.15 3,287,677 1.15 0.80 27,150 3,325,000 1.15
2 Azerbaijan 6,028,000 2.30 7,037,867 2.45 1.57 112,500 7,200,000 2.50
3 Belarus 9,560,000 3.64 10,199,709 3.56 0.68 67,000 10,300,000 3.55
4 Estonia 1,466,000 0.56 1,572,916 0.55 0.72 11,240 1,589,000 0.55
5 Georgia 5,015,000 1.91 5,443,359 1.90 0.87 45,400 5,510,000 1.90
6 Kazakhstan 14,684,000 5.60 16,536,511 5.77 1.20 201,500 16,830,000 5.80
7 Kyrgyzstan 3,529,000 1.34 4,290,442 1.50 1.99 87,300 4,420,000 1.50
8 Latvia 2,521,000 0.96 2,680,029 0.93 0.69 16,620 2,705,000 0.95
9 Lithuania 3,398,000 1.29 3,689,779 1.29 0.85 30,950 3,735,000 1.30
10 Moldavia 3,947,000 1.50 4,337,592 1.51 0.94 41,800 4,400,000 1.50
11 Russia 137,551,000 52.41 147,400,537 51.41 0.71 1,035,000 148,900,000 51.25
12 Tajikistan 3,801,000 1.45 5,108,576 1.78 2.99 160,100 5,330,000 1.85
13 Turkmenistan 2,759,000 1.05 3,533,925 1.23 2.49 92,000 3,665,000 1.25
14 Ukraine 49,755,000 18.96 51,706,742 18.03 0.42 200,500 52,000,000 17.90
15 Uzbekistan 15,391,000 5.86 19,905,158 6.94 2.61 539,000 20,650,000 7.10
- Soviet Union 262,436,000 100.00 286,730,819 100.00 0.90 2,585,000 290,500,000 100.00

See also

References

  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Book of the Year 1991, Soviet Union, page 720.
  2. ^ a b Census evolution census of the countries and territories in the world between 1948 and 1997, on the UN web site www.unstats.org
  3. ^ States of the United States, on the www.statoids.com website
  4. ^ Almanaque Mundial 1996, Editorial América/Televisa, Mexico, 1995, pages 548-552 (Demografía/Biometría table).

Further reading

  • John Christopher Dewdney, Population change in the Soviet Union, 1979-1989, 1990.
  • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, 1994-2009.

External links

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