Igor Yefremov, a Researcher of the International Research Department of Political Demography and Macrodynamics at the Gaidar Institute, commented on the Rosstat statistics proving the rise in births in Russia for the first time since 2021. The RBC published the expert’s opinion.

Rosstat reported the following: in January 2023 the number of births increased by 0.4% compared to January 2022. The last time the indicator grew in November 2021. Natural decline in January was 64.200. According to Rosstat, in January 2023, 104.200 children were born in Russia, that is, 417 babies (or 0.4%) more than in the same month a year earlier. The last time a monthly increase was recorded in November 2021. Then, it evidenced 1.8%.

The rise in births was recorded in 43 RF regions. The highest rates were registered in the Republic of Dagestan (+19.2%), the Komi Republic and the Republic of Sakha (+14.8%), as well as in Kabardino-Balkaria (+12.8%) and Karachay-Cherkessia (+11.9%). At the same time, the number of newborns declined by more than 21% in the Altai Republic, by 20% in the Jewish Autonomous region, and by 18% in Kaliningrad region and Sevastopol.

Igor Yefremov noted that growth in the number of registered births in January 2023 against January 2022 was tiny, i.e., only 417 people. These fluctuations in such a short period are normal and they may not reflect any trend changes, he said. It is also important that it is not about the number of births in that particular month but the number of birth registrations, which may not coincide with the actual month of birth, the expert believes. Moreover, in January 2023, registries worked one extra day compared to January 2022. This fact could also assist to some increase in the number of registrations.

The expert believes that January 2022 compared to the number of births in January 2023, may have had a low-base effect: babies born then were conceived in the months of 2021 when one of the big waves of coronavirus was just subsiding. This could have delayed conception by several weeks or even months, Yefremov suggests. However, he cited a different principal reason.

“One of the factors in the growth of births could have been a shift in the birth calendar. In January 2023, there were probably many children born planned for conception by their parents back in February-March 2022, however, due to a shock after active hostilities began in Ukraine and the ensuing sanctions, a spike in inflation, sharp fluctuations in the ruble rate of exchange and acute uncertainty in the labor market these conception plans were realized only in April 2022, when the financial and economic situation in Russia has relatively stabilized”, the expert said.