Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 99

Arctic Yearbook 2014 99 regions except for the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug have had out-migration. Eleven of the fifteen northern regions have had one-quarter or more of their populations migrate out since 1989. The only exceptions in addition to the Khanty-Manisy okrug were the Yamal-Nenets okrug and the Karelian Republic and Archangelsk oblast. The rates of out-migration increased to the east and in regions with smaller populations. At the extreme are Magadan, which saw an out-migration of 62 percent of its population and Chukotka, from which nearly three of every four persons migrated out causing the population to fall from 164,000 in 1989 to just 51,000 currently. The population of the entire Russian North declined by 20 percent between 1989 and 2013, from 9.4 million to 7.6 million. Migration has been the main driving force of population change over the period of the economic transition, with a 22 percent population decline from migration. Pointing to the fact that two distinctly northern economies have developed during the post-Soviet, only two northern regions, the Khanty-Mansiy and Yamal-Nenets okrugs have had population increases since 1989. These are the two oil and gas producing regions of Russia. For the Khanty-Mansiy region, its population growth of 24 percent consisted of a natural increase of 19 percent and positive net migration of 4 percent. For Yamal-Nenets, its growth of 10 percent consisted of natural increase of 21 percent offset by outmigration of 12 percent. These two regions had by far the highest percent natural increase in the North because of the young age structure of their populations which result from having such large populations of in-migrants. There was also a clear trend towards population concentration across the North as in all but three of the northern regions, the regional center increased its share of the region’s population between 1989 and 2010. At the other extreme was the closure or abandonment of many smaller settlements in the North. Between 1989 and 2002, the number of settlements in the North declined by ten percent. At the time of the 2002 census, when census takers arrived, they found that 12.2 percent of villages were discovered to be ghost towns. These were settlements that had been previously been populated but which on census day were bez naseleniya (without population). An extreme example is that of Magadan, a key gold producing region. In the 2002 census, Magadan had the highest share of villages without people in Russia, 42 percent. In Magadan, the urban population declined from by slightly more than half from 326,000 in 1989 to 150,000 in 2010, while the rural population declined spectacularly from 60,000 to just 7,000 over the same period. While the population of the city of Magadan declined by a third from 152,000 in 1989 to 96,000 in 2010, its share of the region’s population increased from 39 to 62 percent. Thus, now two-thirds of the total and urban population resides in the regional center of Magadan, with much of the rest of the large region very sparsely populated, an example of how the withdrawal of state support has caused the settlement structure to contract. While this large migration represents an adjustment to the counterfactual size and distribution of a population in the Russian North that might have been if the region had been developed under market conditions, there was considerable path dependency in terms of both infrastructure and settlement structure as a result of decades of northern regional development under central planning. As with any migration stream, those who left tended to be young, more educated, and more capable,   Migration in the Arctic