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Georgian Population Rapidly Aging, Finds Euromonitor Study

Written by Mariam Papidze, The FINANCIAL

03/02/2013 20:28 (438 Day 11:30 minutes ago)



The FINANCIAL -- In 2030, the population of Georgia will reach 4.4 million, an increase of just 0.2 percent from 2010 and a decrease of 15.2 percent from its peak in 1992, according to Euromonitor International. Despite that however, the population already reached 4,497,000 in 2012. But as Georgian demographers explain, a reduction of the population is expected in future years, till 2015, after which there will be a sharp increase again.

Nowadays, 2,391,000 people live in urban and 2,105,000 in rural places according to the National Statistics Office of Georgia.

Euromonitor International forecasts that in 2030, the population aged 35-45 will account for 16.8 percent of the total, and will see an increase of 17.8 percent from 2010. 14-34 year olds will see a significant decline in numbers, with the number of Georgians in this age range expected to fall by 24.2 percent between 2010 and 2030. With the number of births in decline, there will also be a sharp fall in the number of children aged 0-6, with a projected decline of 13.8 percent. These trends are being driven by the baby boom in the 1980s, the fall in births during the turmoil following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and large flows of outwards migration.

Both male and female parts of the population are aging rapidly, the research shows. The median age of females will be 45.6 years in 2030 - 5.5 years greater than in 2010. The median age of males will rise by 4.9 years in 2010-2030 to 39.8 years. The difference in median age is quite large due to higher life expectancy of women, a greater number of male births and greater migration of men.

The fertility rate fell dramatically in the 1990s following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It first fell below replacement rate (2.1 children) in 1991 and reached a low of 1.39 births per female in 2005. Although it has since begun a steady climb it is not expected to regain replacement level by 2030.

“The population is gradually decreasing in Georgia,” said Giorgi Tsuladze, demographic expert of the Institute of Demography and Sociology. “This tendency will be maintained in upcoming years as is proved by the research of the United Nations Population Fund, World Bank and US Census Bureau. Here are several reasons for the decreasing Georgian population out of which the most important is that women have become more active on the labour market in Georgia. After giving birth, women used to leave their jobs and raise their children at home. But nowadays, women prefer to have only child and to continue their activities at work,” he added.

Demographers explain that the initiative of Georgia’s Patriarch about baptizing every third and subsequent child was physiological motivation that has already lost its momentum. “50,000 children were born in 2007 in Georgia and more than 56,000 in 2008. About 7,000 more children were born in one year, which was really very surprising,” said Salome Tsnobiladze, demographer. “After the Patriarch’s initiative lost its force a decreasing trend has been observed. We would have had very bad conditions in terms of the demographic situation in Georgia by 2015. The result of a decreasing rate of childbirth is that the share of the population under 15 years of age is declining. Accordingly, it is increasing the share of the population over 60 years of age. This is called demographic aging in other words. If the number of 60 and overs exceeds 7 percent of the population then that means that demographic aging is obvious. 7 percent was observed in Georgia in 1959 and nowadays we have 14 percent of 60 year olds and over,” she added.

“It is good that we are seeing very positive changes in demography but it still does not mean that every problem has been solved. Compared to developed countries infant mortality still remains high in Georgia and life expectancy is low as well. There are some positive changes, though many negative tendencies still need to be improved,” Tsuladze said.



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