A demographer has said that Ukraine’s population will decline to 35 million by 2030 and in the “worst-case to 30 million” at the end of the war. The expert added the country currently is hurting mostly from emigration.
Ella Libanova, the director of the Institute of Demography and Social Sciences in Ukraine, predicted that the war will lead to “declining birthrates, further lowering our country’s population of children.”
“Besides direct combat casualties, which aren’t published, at least 4,000 civilians have been killed so far in the Russian invasion, and 5 million people have fled abroad. Some of these emigrants won’t come back,” Libanova told The New Voice Of Ukraine.
As of 2021, the population of Ukraine is 43.47 million. According to the government data, since May 10, the net border crossings have been at 5,000-6,000 per day. This means that the cumulative net number is positive at 200,000 people, Libanova added.
Though there are reports that many are returning home, the expert doesn’t believe they are the same people who fled the country earlier in the war. “Perhaps, it could be migrant workers returning home, or people who cross the border back-and-forth for other reasons. It’s certain that some women and children who have evacuated from Ukraine will settle down abroad, never to return. On top of that, their husbands and fathers of their children will join them, as soon as it becomes possible,” she told the news outlet.
The country will have to attract a foreign workforce to properly develop as few women would want to get pregnant until living standard improves.
Rejecting the conventional wisdom that there will be a baby boom after the war, Libanova said children now are born mostly when their parents want them.
“Any potential significant increases in birth rates would depend on very active and effective pro-natalist policies, increased living standards, the availability of affordable housing, and so on. All that could be possible only after the war ends for good. Until then, few Ukrainian women would choose to get pregnant,” she added.
Libanova added that Ukraine’s paramount focus should be on increasing life expectancy by combating premature mortality wherein 30-40-year-old Ukrainians die from causes unheard of in developed countries.