Moldova has slowest rate of population growth

According to the latest estimates, Moldova’s population tends to decline annually. Intense migration and high mortality are two of the reasons for such a demographic state, as specialists say. The annual population growth rate is minus 1.7%, according to the provisional data for 2019. With such an indicator, Moldova comes last in the world rankings. Moldova’s neighbors are several spots up - Ukraine – minus 0.5%, while Romania – minus 0.6%, IPN reports.

In an event organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA Moldova) before World Population Day that is marked on July 11, head of the Censuses Division of the National Bureau of Statistics Valentina Istrati said that Moldova’s population on January 1, 2020 was 2.640,4 million, a decline of 45,000 on last year. Net migration is the main reason for the decline. This rather intense phenomenon equally implies women and men. The decline is the largest in the 20-24 age bracket. The birth rate decreased from 12.8 live births per 1,000 people in 2018 to 12 live births in 2019. The death rate fell from 13.8 to 13.7 deaths per 1,000 people.

National Bureau of Statistics director general Vitalie Valcov said the size of population until 2019 was overestimated, while migration was underestimated and this didn’t allow working out of policies based on evidence, which would have produced the expected result and would have allowed improving people’s lives. Together with the modernization of the national statistical system, by implementing the new standardized statistical methodology and instruments adjusted to the current social and economic needs of the country, it was possible to implement the qualitative assessment of the population with ordinary residence, which is an important indicator of demographic statistics.

He said the necessity of calculating the population with ordinary residence derives from the status of Moldova, which is a member state of the UN and a signatory of the Association Agreement with the EU. This status obliges the country to obey the fundamental principles of official statistics adopted by the UN and the European Statistics Code of Practices so as to align the national statistical system to the European norms and standards.

UNFPA Moldova Resident Representative Nigina Abaszada underlined the importance of high-quality statistics for designing policies, assessing the National Bureau of Statistics’ efforts in this regard. The high-quality demographic data play an important role in managing crises, including the crisis caused by COVID-19. “We continue to experience the difficult pandemic period and demographic variables are critical and should be taken into account when it goes to the management of disease spread and control, including the defining of the population in situations of risk, hotbed models and necessity of intervention measures in the public health sector,” stated Nigina Abaszada.

Demographic Research Center director Olga Gagauz said the existing data about the previous crises allow us to forecast a
decline in the birth rate amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in seven-nine months. Moldova has witnessed a decline in natality since the 1980s, but the number of births towards 2035 can decrease to 20,000. Only the return of the diaspora can help save the situation.

Lars Johann Lonnback, Head of the IOM Mission to Moldova, noted that a study carried out by the World Health Organization during April 17 – May 17 shows 30% of the respondents had plans to return home for good at the end of summer or the start of autumn as they lost their jobs or place of stay in the countries to which they emigrated. The good side is that a lot of people will return with different skills acquired there and even with possibilities of investing in Moldova. But the remittances will diminish and 38,000 households that depend on them could be affected by poverty. The economic and social programs for the migrants who return home should be thus extended.

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