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Putin says Russia's population up for first time in two decades

01-21-2012 08:42 BJT

MOSCOW, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- Russia's population grew in 2011, the first rise in nearly two decades, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Friday.

Speaking during a government meeting, he said the population increased by 160,000 to exceed 143 million people.

Average life expectancy also rose, by 1.5 years to 70.3 years, he said.

"In 2011, the birthrate reached nearly 1.794 million while mortality dropped by 5.6 percent. This is the best figure for 19 years," Putin was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

However, he said the population increase had been reached due to migration rather than natural growth and admitted the ageing demographic remained one of the country's most acute problems.

The government has introduced several national programs to reverse the decline in the country's population. They include the so-called "mother's capital" and "birth certificates", intended to economically stimulate Russian families to have more children.

Russia's birthrate peaked in 1985. The persistent decline of the country's population has been underway since 1991.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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