Quick Takes: Natural Increase in Ukraine; Foreign Births in the U.K.; Two African Censuses; Births in Russia Still Rising
by Carl Haub, senior demographer
Natural Increase in Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian website en.for-ua.com (Aug. 27, 2012), the country’s Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov, said that births will exceed deaths in 12 to 18 months. He also said that increasing the population size is a task for the government. Natural decrease, that is, more deaths than births, reached its low point in 2000 when deaths exceeded births by 373,000 and the total fertility rate (TFR)  was just 1.1 children per woman. But by 2011, natural decrease had been more than halved to -162,000 and the TFR had risen to 1.46. In the first half of 2012, births totaled 248,520, 7 percent more than in the first half of 2011; and deaths declined to 340,428, 1 percent less than in 2011. Azarov implied that “state aid programs for births and the development of medicine” will cause natural decrease to turn into natural increase. But increasing births in 1.5 years seems like a tall order given the remaining gap between births and deaths.
Foreign Births in the U.K. Just over one-fourth of births in England and Wales in 2011 were to foreign-born women, reports the Telegraph (Aug. 30, 2012). Births rose slightly to 723,913 but all of the increase was attributed to immigrant women because births to British women fell by 0.4 percent. The data are from the Office for National Statistics. In London, over half of births were to non-British women. Poland was the leading country of origin for immigrant mothers giving birth. Other countries in the “top 10” were Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Somalia, Germany, South Africa, China, and Lithuania. The total fertility rate for immigrant women was 2.29 compared to 1.90 for British women.
Two African Censuses. The 2012 census of Tanzania began on Aug. 26 and will run for a week. Press reports, however, suggest that the process may be marred (The Citizen, Aug. 31, 2012). Some local politicians replaced teachers trained as enumerators with their untrained relatives, and funds allocated to pay census workers’ salaries cannot be located. Lack of funds is also given as a reason for equipment often failing to reach the workers who need it and for sending untrained workers to the field. A particular problem is a shortage of uniforms to identify census workers, allowing criminals to pose as census enumerators. The last-minute replacement of workers has alienated district officials who are said to have spent more time criticizing the census process than informing the public on the need for a quality count. The census process is also intended as a basis for a new national ID card system. In Zimbabwe, the 2012 census has ended. People reportedly refused to cooperate and were also arrested. Some enumerators are reportedly holding back census forms until they get paid; the government has begun disbursing payments but the amounts are far less than the enumerators expected. (The Financial Gazette, Sept. 5, 2012)
Births in Russia Still Rising. According to the Russian State Committee for Statistics the number of births in Russia in the first half of 2012 rose to 1,076,688 compared to 997,800 in the same period in 2011, an increase of nearly 8 percent. The number of deaths dropped to 1,120,328: 17,068 less than in the same period in 2011. As a result, natural decrease was just -43,640 in the first half of 2012 compared to -139,596 in the same span in 2011. In 2000, deaths exceeded births by a whopping -958,932: a loss of almost 1 million population due to a low birth and comparatively high mortality for a developed country. Russia’s population peaked at just under 149 million in the early 1990s and stood at 143.1 on June 1, 2012. Population size has been increasing since 2010, primarily due to a resurgence in immigration. However, it now seems that the country may yet turn natural decrease into natural increase.
 The total fertility rate is the average number of children a woman would bear in her lifetime if the rate of childbearing of a particular year were to remain unchanged.