Staunton, October 31 – Only 50 percent of Russians now live in the city or village in which they were born, far lower than at any point in their national history, according to VTsOM poll results published today. Men are slightly more likely to have moved than women, and young people significantly more likely than those in older cohorts (wciom.ru/index.php?id=236&uid=9976).
The survey also found that a quarter of all Russians are now thinking about moving to another location and that among those between 25 and 34, the share rises to 40 percent. Russians named St. Petersburg their preferred destination with 15 percent saying they would like to move there. Only eight percent listed Moscow as where they wanted to move.
Among residents of the two capitals, VTsIOM reports, 84 percent say they do not want to move anywhere else, although perhaps some of them other surveys suggest would like to move from these cities to foreign countries. Respondents said they were motivated to move by unemployment, a higher standard of living and a more favorable climate.
Commenting on these results for Nezavisimaya gazeta, Natalya Zubarevich, an economic geographer at the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service, said that Russians had moved in the 1990s, primarily because they were coming from the now independent former Soviet republics (ng.ru/economics/2019-10-30/4_7715_migration.html).
She said that St. Petersburg is more popular as a destination than Moscow now because incomes in the two cities are not that different but the cost of living in Moscow is far higher. Zubarevich said that two regions are suffering from very high rates of outmigration: the Far North and the Far East where salaries are high but jobs scarce, and regions not too far from the two capitals.
The latter include “almost all of the Volga region (except Tatarstan), Mordvinia, and Ryazan and Saratov oblasts. These federal subjects find it hard to hold residents who can most easily move to the capitals. The depopulation of much of Russia began in Soviet times. Some areas are resisting but most follow this general pattern.