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Russia's population will drop by about 25% by 2050

Russia's population will decline by almost a quarter, to 107.8 million people, by 2050, a United Nations report said.

The population drop, from 142.5 million people this year, will be the steepest of any country belonging to the Group of Eight industrialized nations, the report, from the UN Population Division, said today. The average life expectancy for a Russian male is 59, lower than in China, India and Bangladesh, according to World Heath Organization statistics. As many as 17% of Russian couples are childless, RIA Novosti said March 5, with deaths outpacing births by 50% in some regions.

Russia's population is falling by 700,000 a year, President Vladimir Putin said on March 7. He named alcohol abuse and smoking as exacerbating factors. Russia is also home to one of the most rapidly growing HIV epidemics globally, according to the WHO, which estimates there are as many as 1 million infected people living in Russia. The WHO also ranks Russia as having one of the highest suicide rates in the world. (Bloomberg)