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Demographer predicts baby boom in Kazakhstan in coming years

Saturday 20 August 2011

ASTANA (Interfax) – In the years to come Kazakhstan will be experiencing a population explosion, but by the end of the 21st century the boom will turn to bust, says Kazakh demographer Makash Tatimov.

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Population of Kazakhstan from 1950-2009.

“The baby-boom will hit Kazakhstan in 2012-2015. However, the birth rate in the Russian ethnic group reached its peak earlier and has been on decline since. Asian ethnic groups, including the Kazakhs, are just approaching this benchmark. The forthcoming baby boom will be still significantly lagging behind the 1987 record high, when 417,000 newly born were registered,” he told the Karavan weekly on Friday.

In the forthcoming birth peak, fertility rate in the Kazakh ethnic group will reach 3 babies per woman. Irrespective of the robust population growth in a few next years, Kazakhstan will not escape the demographic crisis at the end of the century.

“[…] In 2023-2024 the birth rate will start moving downward […] The demographic shift will imply dramatic ageing of the population, when the low birth rate will fail to compensate for high mortality. By the end of the century, in 2090-2100, we will start dying out as all European nations,” he said.

The life expectancy in Kazakhstan is the highest for Uyghur and Uzbek women, 73-74, but it is the lowest for ethnic Russian and Ukraine men, 58-59.

“Men are more risk exposed, prone to bad habits and disregard of their own health. Smoking, alcohol abuse and bad nutrition do not help either. Asian women live longer due to the traditional values: most of them are housewives,” he said.

The demographer supported marriages under 30, referring to a 6%-7% decline in male population by the age of 40.

Official estimates put the population of Kazakhstan at 16 500 000 as of April, 2011, of which 46% is rural and 54% urban population. The 2009 population estimate is 6.8% higher than the population reported in the last census from January 1999 (slightly less than 15 million). These estimates have been confirmed by the 2009 population census, and this means that the decline in population that began after 1989 has been arrested and reversed.

The proportion of men makes up 48.3%, the proportion of women 51.7%. The proportion of Kazakhs makes up 63.6%, Russians 23.3%, Uzbeks 2.9%, Ukrainians 2.0%, Uygur 1.4%, Tatars 1.2%, Germans 1.1%, others 4.5%.

The population of Kazakhstan increased steadily from 6.1 million in the 1939 census to 16.5 million in the 1989 census. Official estimates indicate that the population continued to increase after 1989, peaking out at 17 million in 1993 and then declining to 15 million in the 1999 census. The downward trend continued through 2002, when the estimated population bottomed out at 14.9 million, and then resumed its growth. Kazakhstan underwent significant urbanization during the first 50 years of the Soviet era, as the share of rural population declined from more than 90% in the 1920s to less than 50% since the 1970s.

According to the Kazakhstan Demographic and Health Survey in 1999, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for Kazakhs was 2.5 and that for Russians was 1.38. TFR in 1989 for Kazakhs & Russians were 3.58 and 2.24 respectively.

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