Igor Efremov, Researcher of the International Department of Political Demography and Macrosociological Dynamics of the Gaidar Institute has commented to the RBK on Rosstat’s census which registered growth in the number of people living alone in Russian households.

Experts of the N.M. Rimashevskaya Institute of Socio-Economic Problems of the Population, FCTAS RAS have analyzed the data of the latest 2021 all-Russian census of population and come to a conclusion that over 40% of households in Russia are made up of a single person, while their share of such households has doubled over the past 20 years. The domination of single person households is registered for the first time during the entire history of censuses of population in the Russian Federation. Experts explain such growth in the number of single person households by later marriage trends.

Igor Efremov believes that the modern generation of young people approach the creation of a family more seriously and expect higher standards of a family life. “They have got plenty of time for creating a family because they may rely on a lengthier period of a healthy life both in a fertile age and after it, give birth to children and bring them up at later ages than the generations of their parents used to do,” notes Igor Efremov.

At the same time, the latest census has revealed a positive trend towards a rise in the average number of children under the age of 18 in families. According to the 2021 survey, this indicator amounts to 1.6 children, equaling the level of 1994. In 2002 and 2010 families used to have on average 1,4 children. According to Igor Efremov, in the latest census the average number of families with children have increased as compared with the previous one for two reasons. Firstly, during this period the number of large families has largely increased in Russia (owing in particular to the maternity capital program). Secondly, the age pattern of the population changed in the intercensal period. The most numerous age group “grew up” and shifted fr om the age of around 25 years old to the age of around 35 years old, that is, the age when Russians have already one or more children.

Another trend highlighted by the census findings is related with a decrease in the share of complete families with children over the past decades. If in 2002 complete families accounted for 39.7% of families, in 2021 their share fell to 20.7%.

Igor Efremov believes that the share of single person households may be considerably overstated as compared with the previous census because of a larger use of administrative sources, including the data on registration of tenants. “One person may be registered in the housing (and he/she is entered in the census as that single person in the household), but other unregistered household members may actually be living there with that person and might have been erroneously accounted for in administrative sources in other addresses wh ere they were registered, but did not actually live,” the expert explains.