Some were born, some became more mature and some grew older
By Yevgenia Platova
“Since 1990, the average age of the Belarusian population has been rising,” notes Yelena Kukharevich, the Deputy Chair of the National Statistical Committee of Belarus. “Over the last decade, residents here have become older by 1.9 years (men by 1.7 years and women by 2.1 years). Over the same period, the average urbanite has become older by 2.5 years while the average rural resident has become older by 1.5 years.”
According to Ms. Kukharevich, the Vitebsk Region has the oldest population (average age of 41.1 years) while the youngest are in Minsk (average of 38 years). The average age of Belarusian men is 36.9 years while that of women is 42.1 years.
She adds that 60 percent of the total population are of employable age: as of early 2012, totalling 5.8m (down by 55,000 on last year). “The share of those of employable age is declining — and likely to continue doing so. The trend is due to fewer people having been born in the early 1990s, resulting in a shortfall of those of working age. Meanwhile, those born in the post-war years, when there was a ‘baby boom’, are now reaching pensionable age,” explains Ms. Kukharevich.
She notes a 9,000 rise among those below employable age. As of January 1st, 2012, this group amounted to 1.5m (16 percent of the total population). The rise is connected with women born in the 1980s (when there was a rather high birth rate) entering child-bearing age.
Those above employable age have risen in number (in 2011, by almost 30,000). The share of the aging population is rising in Belarus. According to UN classification, if those aged over 65 account for 7 percent of the population, the population of a country is considered to be old. “Back in the 1950s, we had already exceeded this figure and, by early 2012, this had neared 14 percent. Against our background of low birth rates and rising average life expectancy, the population of Belarus will continue to grow older,” Ms. Kukharevich admits.