Russia has lost 2.3 million people in nearly a decade, according to the official results of the county’s second post-Soviet census, released on Friday.
Russia’s population declined from 145.2 million in 2002 to 142.9 million last year, the statistical agency, Rosstat, said.
Low birthrates and declining life expectancy have had the most effect on Russia’s heartland rural areas, with 8,500 villages said to be have been abandoned since 2002.
Of Russia’s 134,000 villages, 19,400 are now empty.
The new data also suggests that there are now 10.7 million more women than there are men – up from 10 million in 2002. The population’s average age is now hovering around 39 years – again up from 37.7 in 2002.
80.9 percent of respondents identified themselves as Russians. The second largest ethnic group was Tatars (3.9 percent). Ukrainians (1.4 percent, down from 2 percent in 2002) were in third place.
Preliminary results of Russian Census 2010