By Hill Kulu, Sarah Christison, Chia Liu, Júlia Mikolai
This study analyses the effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 on the future of Ukraine’s population, and suggests Ukraine’s population could decline by a third over the next two decades as a result of the Russian invasion.
The authors conduct a series of population projections with different assumptions on the number of casualties and refugees, and the refugees’ likelihood of return by different political scenarios. Their projections show that if current demographic trends continue, Ukraine’s population is projected to decline by 16% over the next two decades and to become older. These trends are largely driven by past and current demographic developments: continued very low fertility and large-scale emigration at the turn of the century.
Adding war casualties and a large portion of the Ukrainian population seeking safety abroad from the conflict to the previous trends, the country’s population is projected to decline by 33%. The decline would be even larger among the working-age population and children. Russia’s invasion will not only lead to immense human and economic costs in Ukraine in the present but also carries long-term demographic repercussions.
NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: To arrange an interview please contact Professor Hill Kulu, of the School of Geography and Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews - Hill.Kulu@st-andrews.ac.uk