RBC has published the opinion of Igor Efremov, a researcher at the Gaidar Institute, on whether it is realistic to achieve population growth.

Rosstat has released its preliminary estimate of the population dynamics by 2030. According to the agency's forecast, Russia’s population, excluding new regions, may decrease by 3 million. The reasons are the growing share of the elderly and a decline in the number of births.

According to Igor Efremov, in recent years, the actual dynamics of demographic indicators has most often been between the medium and low variants of the Rosstat forecast. Therefore, the reduction in population by about 3.2 million people in the draft updated forecast, which is just between the medium and low variants of the previous version, looks realistic, he believes.

This being said, according to the expert, the government has the potential to significantly improve the demographic situation in Russia. Positive dynamics requires a reduction in mortality, growth in birth rate and an increase in net migration, the expert listed.

Thus, the growth of births is possible in cases of a significant increase in government spending to support families in the birth of second and subsequent children, says Efremov. To increase life expectancy, which after the COVID-19 pandemic quickly recovered to the level of early 2020, but since March 2023 has almost stopped growing, "aggressive restrictive measures" are needed with regard to the main factors of preventable mortality, especially consumption of strong alcohol and smoking. Finally, the dynamics of migration growth is largely related to the state and dynamics of the Russian economy, the demographer believes.

He observes that the regions that have become part of Russia introduce a great deal of uncertainty into the demographic dynamics of the near future: under current conditions, it is impossible to keep reliable demographic records there.

"If the existing approximate estimates are included in the all-Russian statistics, it will create a large error for all the all-Russian demographic calculations and will greatly reduce the quality of Russian demographic statistics," concluded Igor Efremov.