- NBR - The National Bureau of Asian Research

Russia’s Peacetime Demographic Crisis: Dimensions, Causes, Implications

Nicholas Eberstadt

Modern Russia is in the throes of a prolonged depopulation which, according to the report’s author Nicholas Eberstadt, qualifies as “nothing short of a humanitarian catastrophe.” This population crisis is marked by disastrous mortality levels and an eroding human resource base and will present serious challenges for Russia’s future domestic and international policy priorities. This report represents the culmination of a three-year research project on Russia’s political economy, as examined through the unique prism of that country’s demographic profile.

The report starts with an examination of the “arithmetic of Russian depopulation” by examining how the country’s trends in births, deaths, and migration reveal the drivers behind the massive and unprecedented depopulation. The report then looks beyond the numbers, examining less-explored aspects of Russia’s population profile such as population aging, education and labor productivity, and social capital, which are key to a society’s prosperity. This report sheds new light on the challenges presented by Russia’s depopulation, with critical implications for U.S. policy and international politics.

Report Launch Event Video and Audio

On August 12, 2010, the Hudson Institute and the National Bureau of Asian Research held a panel discussion to mark the launch of Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt’s report.

Download the event audio or view the video below.



Russia’s Demographic Crisis: Not a “Normal Country” Problem


Fewer but Not Better: The Demographics of Russia’s Depopulation

Chapter 1
Depopulation, with Modern Russian Characteristics

Chapter 2
Russia’s New Patterns of Fertility and Family Formation since the End of Communism: Shock or Transition

Chapter 3
Russia’s Ominous Patterns of Mortality and Morbidity: Pioneering New and Modern Pathways to Poor Health and Premature Death

Chapter 4
The Terrible Mystery of Extreme Mortality in Modern Russia: Searching for Explanations and Answers to a Deadly Puzzle

Chapter 5
Migration: Russia’s Unfamiliar New Dilemmas of Personal Choice


Russia’s Human Resources in Disarray: The Demographic Crisis beyond the Population Count

Chapter 6
Population Aging: Toward a Russia That Is Gray, Sick, and Poor

Chapter 7
Education and Labor Productivity in Russia: High Levels of Schooling, Low Levels of Human Capital

Chapter 8
“Social Capital” in Russia: An Attitude Problem, on a National Scale


A Demographic Reckoning for Russia