Demographic situation in Ukraine.


The general social and economic situation in Ukraine and especially the consequences of the mass crisis in the CIS countries continue to affect negatively the demographic situation. Negative processes dominate in the sphere of the reproduction of population. Mainly this is a consequence of the social instability and fall of the living standard.

1.By 1 January 1999 the Ukrainian population numbered 50.1 million, consisting of 67.9% (34 million) of the urban population and 32.1 (16.1 million) of the rural population. The proportion of women to men is 53.5% (26.8 million) to 46.5% (23.3 million), respectively.

2.According to the data by the beginning of the current year, the mean population density in Ukraine is 83 persons per one square kilometer. This index is the largest in urbane industrial East regions, as well as in those West regions, where the agriculture is mainly privately owned.

3.During the last five years the population is annually reduced by about 0.4 million persons. So, the Ukrainian population has diminished by 394.3 thousand in the current year. The reduction of the population was first fixed in 1993. The main reason of this phenomenon was and is the natural decrease of population, which, for example, equaled 300.7 thousand in 1998.

4.The main reason of the natural decrease of population is the low birth rate compared to the high mortality rate. The general birth rate has diminished by 31.4% compared with the one in early 90s. In 1998 it already equaled 8.3%. The birth rate in the country is unsatisfactory, since it does not provide the simple reproduction of the population: the net-coefficient of the reproduction was 0.578 in 1997-1998, whereas it must be not less than unity. Almost half of the families, which have children under 18, have only one child. There are more and more families without children or with only one child.

5.The birth rate greatly depends on the ratio of marriages and divorces. In later years in Ukraine one can observe a distinct tendency to diminishing the number of marriages (in 1988 6.2 marriages per one thousand were registered, while in 1991 this number was 9.5). At the same time the number of divorces remains more or less stable since the 70s (3.6 – 3.9 divorces per one thousand). Unregistered marriages become more and more frequent. The number of children born outside marriage bonds grows steadily; hence, the number of single mothers becomes greater; about 90% of the divorced women are the women in the fertile age. Families cannot afford the desired number of children, which is easily explainable: the less socially protected families are the incomplete families (usually without fathers) and families with many children. The income per capita in families with three children is 3-4 times less than in the families with one child.

6.The second reason of the natural decrease of population is the death rate. During the recent eight years the mortality rate has grown by 10.9% and reached 14.3 persons per one thousand in 1998. The growth of the mortality rate has occurred in all age groups of men, and in groups of women older than 20. The death of people in the able-to-work age is especially alarming. There is a strange peculiarity: the death rate of men in 20 to 50 age groups is three times greater than in the according groups of women. The mortality in the rural areas substantially exceeds that of the urban areas: 18.2 vs. 12.5 per one thousand.

7.The reasons of the growth of deaths and diseases lie in the changes of social and economic relations and of social stratification. These changes influence the behavior of people and their attitude to their own health. The health of children and capable-of-work adults is especially alarming. The level of professional illnesses and traumas is grows steadily.

8.The death indices in all classes of the reasons that shorten life have grown. Every second dead dies of cardiac and vascular diseases. And this tendency is permanently growing: since early 90s this rate has grown by one third. Men from urban areas aged 30-45, suffer from such diseases most frequently.

9.The oncological diseases and the number of deaths caused by them grow in Ukraine rather fast. Both men and women suffer from this. Yet, the mortality among men is 1.5 greater than among women. Tumors of thyroid and prostate glands, bladder, mammal gland and uterus occur most frequently.

10.In the Soviet times the death rate caused by parasitic and contagious diseases steadily decreased. Unfortunately, since early 90s the tendency reversed, especially in urban areas. The most dangerous situation is connected with TB, the mortality caused by which increased by two times in urban areas and 1.5 times in rural ones. Tramps and other people conducting an asocial life suffer from TB most often, and they make a source of infecting other people.

11.The AIDS is a new mortal threat. The overwhelming majority of the infected are young people, 15% of them are children and minors. Recently VDs (such as syphilis and gonorrhea), as well as new VDs, spread rather fast.

12.More and more frequently people die of so-called unnatural causes: accidents, murders, suicides and other external factors. This class of reasons is the third for men and the fourth for women as their consequences. It should be noted that the death level as a consequence of psychic diseases has grown almost twice.

13.Almost by 25% the mortality level has grown caused by the diseases of the endocrine system, nourishment system, metabolism and immunity. This is the result of the environment pollution, in particular, by the Chernobyl catastrophe. The liquidators of the catastrophe consequences, people, especially children, who were evacuates from the polluted area or still live there, children of the parents, who were affected by the radiation – all of them require especial attention.

14.During the last three years a slight improvement of the mortality situation is observed, although it remains bad. This period is also characterized with the slight diminishing of children mortality. The mortality among children aged under one year decreased from 14.7 per one thousand in 1995 to 12.8 in 1999.

15.In spite of the mentioned improvement in the children mortality rate, the medical studies witness that there is a steady worsening in their physical, psychical and intellectual health. The number of inherited diseases and hereditary defects become more and more frequent. Chronic diseases and so-called diseases of civilization (vascular distonia, neuroses, allergic diseases) spread. A high level of children invalidity remains, the frequency of contagious diseases (diphtheria, TB, syphilis) steadily grows.

16.Children mortality greatly depends on maternal health, life and labor conditions, nourishment, quality of medical aid, qualified obstetrical conditions, etc. The existing data on maternity conditions testify that the situation in Ukraine will not improve soon. For example, in 1998 the level of maternity deaths was 27.2 per one thousand of born alive children.

17.The expected life span at birth has decreased by three years since early 90s and made 68.08 years, but during the recent few years this index has slightly grown. The expected life span for men is 62.74 years, for women 73.5 years. The growing difference in life span for men and women may be considered as an indicator of bad medical and demographic situation in the country. It is caused mainly by a greater mortality among young males.

18.Certainly, the processes occurring in Ukraine lead to ageing of the population. During the last decade the average age of the Ukrainian population grew by 1.3 years and now is 38 years. The proportion of people older than 60 years grew by 1.4% and equals now 20.1%. In the rural areas the age distribution is very alarming: persons older than the able-to-work age make one third of the population. The number of people from unable-to-work age groups for one thousand workers is 1019 in rural areas and 669 in urban areas.

Thus, the main tendencies of the demographic situation in Ukraine are: ageing of the population; decrease of the birth rate with the comparably stable mortality rate; degradation of health of the nation (including reproductive health); worsening of maternity, babyhood and family conditions; bad ecological situation. Besides, there is a significant emigration flow, mainly of the able-to-work people.

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