As the largest country in the world, it’s probably no surprise to learn that Russia also has one of the highest populations at the same time.
However, it may be curious to learn that the population density of Russia is quite sparse and much of this vast area remains uninhabited.
The figures in full
For the latest in depth demographic data, visit our article – Population of Russia.
The country wide 2010 census produced a final population figure of 142,946,800. This may be an impressive figure to some but it falls short of the national high point of just over 146,000,000 which was recorded in 1991.
As far as population density is concerned, when you take into account the vast surface area in the country, the figures tell an interesting story. Overall, 142,946,800 equates to 8.4 people per square kilometre (22 for every square mile) and this means that Russia becomes one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world today.
When it comes to the population density of Russia, you have to consider some of the harsh terrain and weather conditions that exist here and a clue to the figures can be found when taking Siberia as the main example.
This vast region accounts for around three quarters of Russia’s surface area yet the population density figures are less than half the national average. In total, the surface area accounts for 9,653,000 square kilometres (5,998,096 square miles), however, only three people on average are currently living in each square kilometre.
The reasons for this are obvious and across Siberia, extreme temperatures and inhospitable terrain means that few settle here by choice. Vast areas of forest, too large to even comprehend also help to render some parts of the region as uninhabitable with large mountain ranges and lakes also helping to provide a harsh landscape.
Outside of Siberia
Elsewhere in Russia, there are many natural features that contribute to the overall sparseness of the population. The Ural Mountains stretch for over 1500 miles in the western half of Russia, providing another vast region that is clearly short on permanent inhabitants.
Changes in population figures
The 2010 census recorded a drop of around four million people from the figures circulated in 1991 and there are clear reasons for that. Essentially, the birth rate has declined while the life expectancy of Russian’s has dropped.
For Russian men in particular, life expectancy figures dropped to an alarming rate at one stage, giving the male population the shortest life span in Europe. As present, estimates put male life expectancy at around 63 years which is in stark contrast to Germany, where its menfolk can look forward to an average life span that could take them to the age of 77.
There are many factors in this including poverty, alcoholism and others that President Medvedev is looking to address but for now, they remain a factor in the overall sparseness of the Russian population.
Russia is a land of contrasts and as such, it shouldn’t really be surprising that the largest country in the world is also one of the most sparsely populated.