Revolution was of no help: Armenia still losing population

Revolution was of no help: Armenia still losing population

Armenia's National Statistical Committee said that as of October 1, 2019, the republic's population declined by 11,700 people, compared to the same period in 2018, and by 22,100 people, compared to the same period in 2017. Thus, the republic's population stood at 2,957,500 people.

The urban population on October 1 stood at 1,893,200, having declined by 1,700 people in the first nine months. Some 1,083,600 people lived in Yerevan, up from 1.081,800 as of January 1, 2019. In rural areas, the population stood at 1,073,800, which was 6,100 less than at the beginning of the year.

Thus, the authorities of the republic cannot cope with the task set by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to raise the number of Armenian citizens to 5 million by 2050. At the same time, individual services report positive indirect demographic indicators.

According to the Migration Service, the number of people, which arrived in Armenia in January-September 2019, is 9857 more than the number of those who left, which radically distinguishes this year from the same period in 2018, when it was 15695 more, and from the same period in 2017, when it was 53,912 more.

The official haven't commented on the reasons for such statistics and its combination with the data of the National Statistics Committee.

Noteworthy is the remark by Nikol Pashinyan that the number of unemployed in Armenia fell by 29,200 people in the second quarter of 2019, although no major economic projects in the republic capable of giving jobs to almost 30 thousand haven't been launched.

Former head of the Central Bank of Armenia Bagrat Asatryan, speaking with the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, explained the Migration Service's statistics with a low base effect: so many people left the country over the previous years during the rule of the instigators of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, leaders of the "Karabakh clan" Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sargsyan that the return flow is quite natural. In addition, people leave the country at the beginning of the year to earn money, because they cannot find work at home, and return towards the end of the year.

"The current statistics show that we have a positive shift, while in the last decade, we had the difference between departing and arriving on October 1 of at least 40-45 thousand people, which is why the number of population declined," he said.

“Now there is every reason to believe that the population of Armenia will increase by January 1, 2020. If, according to data as of January 1, 2019, it was mainly due to non-citizens, then this year there is hope for a positive balance for the citizens of Armenia. In 10 years, which is now called the Serzh Sargsyan decade, we have lost about 400-430 thousand citizens," Bagrat Asatryan drew attention.

Director of the Armenian branch of the CIS Institute Alexander Markarov stressed that a decrease in population loss statistics is a positive thing. "The statistics of the National Statistical Service and the Migration Service contradict each other. But I would point out the positive dynamics, which can be observed even if the number of departed exceeds the number of arrivals. If before the population decreased by tens of thousands, this year it decreased by only 10 thousand people," he said.

As for the sharp reduction in the number of unemployed, it may be linked to a decine in the illegal sector of the economy. “Unemployment statistics are not always accurate, because people who represent themselves as unemployed can be employed informally or self-employed. Therefore, it’s quite natural to criticize statistics in the sense that it's not always about creating new jobs, sometimes it's about the fact that part of the employed simply gets out of the shadows," Alexander Markarov stressed.