January 23, 2020 20:58 GMT
A so-called electronic census found Ukraine’s population has dwindled by almost a quarter since 2001, driven by migration, death rates exceeding birth rates, but also because it was impossible to count residents in Russia-occupied Crimea and the territories in the country’s east that Kyiv doesn’t control.
“There are 37.3 million people living in Ukraine,” Dmytro Dubilet, the minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, said at a briefing in Kyiv on January 23.
Dubilet said the electronic census data was gleaned from a variety of sources, including mobile phone operators, sociologists, the statistical research of households, public registries, and the pension fund.
The new figures as of December 1 represent a decrease of 11.2 million or 23 percent since 2001 — the last year an official census was conducted.
In 1991, when Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union, Ukraine had close to 52 million inhabitants.
In the past decade, 3.8 million Ukrainians left the country and didn’t return, Dubilet said.
Ukraine had 9.4 births per 1,000 people and 14.5 deaths per 1,000 people in 2017, according to the most recent data available from the World Bank.
Currently, there are 20 million women and 17 million men in the country. About 20 million people are of active working age at 25 to 64 years old.
Before Russia’s seizure of Crimea in 2014, the peninsula had 2 million inhabitants, whereas the densely populated easternmost Donetsk and Luhansk regions had nearly 6 million people before the Donbas conflict erupted.
The census’s margin of error doesn’t exceed 2.86 percent, Dubilet said.
© RFE/RL 2020