Ukrainians fear demographic decline


Eastern Europe


Photo AFP, Jens Schlueter

That the Ukrainian population will shrink due to the war may come as no surprise. However, an expert fears that a post-war period will unlikely encourage Ukrainians to have more children.

Ukraine is on a path of irreversible demographic decline, reported the Joint Research Centre in January. According to researchers, the country could lose over a third of its population by 2052. In an optimistic scenario where Ukraine recovers from the war quickly and becomes a country with more inward than outward migration, the results suggest a population decline of 21 per cent. On Monday, a Ukrainian demography expert confirmed these grim forecasts.

According to Ella Libanova, Ukraine will face an unprecedented decline in birth rates this year. That might come as no surprise, but she also is pessimistic about the long term. Libanova fears that older children who receive professional education abroad will unlikely return. "They are offered greater opportunities abroad, including diplomas according to European standards and the possibility of working in the European labour market with high salaries", writes Slovo Pro Slovo.

Libanova thinks it would be difficult for children to return to Ukraine "if we do not offer them interesting prospects." Libanova believes this should include competitive wages, decent working conditions and respect for their profession. However, this may not be realistic for a post-war Ukraine with destroyed infrastructure and limited resources.



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