Demography of Russia

Enlarge picture
Population (in millions) of Russia 1992-2006.[1]
Russia's area is about 17 million square kilometers (6.5 million sq. mi.). It remains the largest country in the world by more than 7 million square kilometers (2.5 million sq. mi.). Its population density is about 9 persons per square kilometer (22 per sq. mi.), making it one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Its population is predominantly urban.

Population data

According to the 2002 Russian Census, Russia had 145,166,731 inhabitants, including 106,003,702 in the four European federal districts, and 39,129,729 in the three Asian federal districts.

In 1911, Russia had a population of 167,003,000 (however, this includes territory not part of modern Russia, such as Ukraine and Kazakhstan which contributed significantly to the population of imperial Russia), or 66% of that of India. In 2006, Russia's population of 142,300,000 is only 12.6% that of India. It is expected that Russia will have less than 10% of India's population in the future.

Most Russians derive from the Eastern Slavic family of peoples, with Turkic (8.4%), Caucasian (3.3%), Uralic (1.9%) and other minorities.

Births: 1,476,300 (2006) [1]

Deaths: 2,165,700 (2006)

Population Growth Rate (2007 est. CIA): -0.484%[2]

Birth rate: 10.92 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate: 16.04 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.28 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.46 male(s)/female
total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Population structure:
0-14 years: 14.2%
15-64 years: 71.3%
65 years and over: 14.4% (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 15.13 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 67.08 years
male: 60.45 years
female: 74.1 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.39 children born/woman (2006 est.)

For detailed TFR by federal regions in 2005, see TFR Russia

In 2006, the regions with the highest population growth rate were Chechnya (1.79%), Aginsky Buryatia (1.19%), Ingushetia (1.16%), Yamalo-Nenets (0.73%), Daghestan (0.65%), Yugra (0.62%), Tyumen(0.48%), Altay Republic (0.45%), Tyva Republic (0.3%) and Moscow (0.22%). The regions with lowest growth rate were Koryakia (-2.68%), Magadan (-1.78%), Evenkia (-1.68%), Taymiria (-1.60%), Pskov (-1.56%), Smolensk (-1.25%), Tambov (-1.22%), Tula (-1.21%), Novgorod (-1.17%) and Kurgan (-1.16%). [3]

Suicide rate: According to the WHO, Russia has a yearly 38.7 suicides per 100,000 people, which is among the highest suicide rates in the world.

Population aging


Declining population

See also: Aging of Europe
Lower birth rates and higher death rates reduced Russia's population at a 0.5% annual rate during the 1990s. For every 1,000 Russians there are 15 deaths and just 10.7 births[1] leading to a population decline of about 750,000 to 800,000 a year. The UN warned that Russia's 2005 population of about 140 million could fall by a third by 2050. However the number of Russians living in poverty has halved since the economic crisis following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the improving economy has had a positive impact on the country's low birth-rate as it rose from its lowest point at 8.27 births per 1000 people in 1999 to 10.7 per 1000 in the first half of 2007.[1] For comparison the US birth rate in 2006 is 14.14 and the current UK birth rate is 10.71 per 1000).[3]

While Russian birth-rate is comparable to that of other European countries its population declines at much greater rate due to substantially higher death rate (especially among working-age males due to poverty, abuse of alcohol and other substances, disease, stress, and other afflictions) - according to the US Census Bureau the death rate in 1989 was 10.76 per 1000, the low point came in 2001 at 15.45 per 1000 and in the first half of 2007 the rate was 15.0 per 1000[1]. For comparison the current US death rate is 8.26 per 1000 and the UK death rate is 10.13 per 1000.

In many developed countries rates of natural increase have also dropped below the long-term population replacement rate and immigration accounts for the continued rise in population. Russians mostly disapprove of permanent or temporary immigration of working-age males from countries other than the Russian-speaking former Soviet states.

The crisis and planned government measures to halt it was a key subject of Vladimir Putin's 2006 state of the nation address.[4]. As a result a national programme was developed to reverse the trend by 2020. Already a new study published in 2007, shows, on the whole, that the rate of population decrease has stalled: Thus if the net decrease in January-Agust 2006 was 408.200 this year in the same period was 196.600. The death rate accounted for 357 thousand, that's 137 thousand less than in 2006. At the same time in 2007 period, there were 1.0456 million births in Russia (981.6 thousand in 2006 period), whilst deaths decreased from 1.475 million to 1.4023. In all the death:birth ration dropped from 1.5 to 1.3. 18 of the 83 provinces showed a natural growth of population (in 2006: 16). The Russian Ministry of Economical Development hopes that by 2020 the population stabilises at 138-139 million, and by 2025, to increase it again to its present day status of 143-145, raising the life expectancy to 75 years. [5]

While the rate of population decrease has stalled, this plan has failed to reverse the situation so far. Anatoly Vishnevsky, director of the Institute of Demography under the Moscow-based Higher School of Economics and one of Russias leading demographers, criticized the plan saying "I can’t understand how on earth the government is going to stabilize the number of the population at 140 million people by 2025 (now there are about 142 million people in Russia). Here is a bit of sheer arithmetic. There are approximately 1.5 million babies born every year in Russia. We’re likely to witness a decrease in birth rates in the future because of a sharp decline in the number of young women of childbearing age – fewer women were born in the 1990s. Let’s assume that 15 million Russians will be born within the next ten years. In the meantime, today’s Russia has 25 million people whose age is above 60, including 12 million aged 70 and above. Those people will be gone sooner or later."[6]


It is estimated that there are more abortions than births in Russia. In 2004, at least 1.6 million women had an abortion (a fifth of them under the age of 18) and about 1.5 million gave birth. One of the reasons behind the high abortion rate is the fact that the birth of a first child pushes many families into poverty. [7]

With the increase in the people's incomes in the 2000s Russia's demographic situation has started to turn around with families increasingly having a second and third child. Russia's fertility rate has climbed from a low of 1.2 to 1.39 in 2006. While still far below the 2.1 replacement rate, it continues to show signs of growing.

Ethnic groups

Further information: List of indigenous peoples of Russia
The Russian Federation is home to as many as 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples, referred to collectively as rossiyane. As of the 2002 census, 79.83% of the population (115,889,107 people) is ethnically Russian, followed by (groups larger than one million): Most smaller groups live compactly in their respective regions and can be categorized by language group The ethnic divisions used here are those of the official census, and may in some respects be controversial. The following lists all ethnicites resolved by the 2002 census, grouped by language: Some 1.6% of the population are ethnicities not native to the Russian territory. The census has an additional group of 'other' ethnicities of 42,980 (0.03%).

See also: Northern indigenous peoples of Russia, Detailed Table of 2002 census


The demographic structure of Russia has gradually changed over time. In 1970, Russia had the third largest population of Jews in the world, estimated at 2,150,000, following only that of the United States and Israel. By 2002, due to Jewish emigration, their number fell as low as 230,000. A sizeable emigration of other minorities has been enduring, too. Predominantly these are European peoples like Germans, Czechs, Greeks and members of their families. The main destinations are the USA (Jews, Meskhetian Turks etc.), Israel (Jews), Germany (Germans and Jews), Canada, Finland (Finns).

At the same time, Russia experiences a constant flow of immigration. On average, 200,000 legal immigrants enter the country every year; about half are ethnic Russians from the other republics of the former Soviet Union. In addition, there are at least 1.5 million illegal immigrants in the country. There is a significant inflow of ethnic Georgians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Tajiks, and Ukrainians into big Russian cities, something that is viewed very unfavorably by many citizens and even gives rise to nationalist sentiments. Some Chinese flee the overpopulation and birth control regulations of their home country and settle in the Far East and in southern Siberia. Many immigrant ethnic groups have much higher birth rates than native Russians, further shifting the balance.

Median age and fertility

Median ages of ethnic groups vary considerably between groups. Ethnic Russians and other Slavic and Finnic groups have higher median age compared to the Caucasian groups.

Median ages are strongly correlated with fertility rates, ethnic groups with higher fertility rates have lower median ages, and vice versa. For example, in 2002, in the ethnic group with the lowest median age - Ingush - women 35 or older had, on average, 4.05 children; in the ethnic group with the highest median age - Jews - women 35 or older averaged only 1.37 children. [8] Ethnic Jews have both the highest median age and the lowest fertility rate; this is a consequence of Jewish emigration.

Ethnic Russians represent a significant deviation from the pattern, with second lowest fertility rate of all major groups, but relatively low median age (37.6 years). This phenomenon is at least partly due to the fact that children from mixed marriages are often registered as ethnic Russians in the census.

The following table shows the variation in median age and fertility rates according to 2002 census. [9]
Ethnic Group Med Age Male Female Urban U.Male U.Female Rural R.Male R.Female Children/woman (age 15+) Children/woman (age 35+) Predominant religion of Ethnic Group
Russian 37.6 34.0 40.5 37.1 33.5 40.1 39.0 35.7 41.7 1.446 1.828Christianity
Tatar 37.7 35.3 39.6 37.2 34.7 39.1 38.8 36.5 41.1 1.711 2.204Islam
Ukrainian 45.9 44.7 47.3 45.6 44.5 46.8 47.0 45.2 49.0 1.726 1.946Christianity
Bashkir 34.2 32.1 36.2 32.9 30.6 34.7 35.4 33.3 37.6 1.969 2.658Islam
Chuvash 38.6 36.4 40.4 37.9 36.3 39.1 39.4 36.5 42.5 1.884 2.379Christianity
Chechen 22.8 22.1 23.5 22.9 22.5 23.4 22.7 21.9 23.5 2.163 3.456Islam
Armenian 32.8 33.4 32.0 33.0 33.7 32.2 32.1 32.6 31.5 1.68 2.225Christianity
Mordvin 44.4 42.1 46.9 44.2 42.3 45.9 44.7 41.7 48.5 1.986 2.303Christianity
Avar 24.6 23.8 25.4 23.8 23.4 24.1 25.1 24.0 26.2 2.09 3.319Islam
Byelorussian 48.0 45.9 50.2 47.7 45.8 49.6 49.1 46.1 52.4 1.765 1.941Christianity
Kazakh Kyrghiz30.229.43129.52930.130.629.731.42.015 2.964Islam
Udmurt 40.0 37.4 42.0 41.2 39.0 42.6 38.9 36.1 41.3 1.93 2.378Christianity
Azerbaidzhani 29.5 31.9 24.6 30.0 32.3 24.7 26.5 28.7 24.1 1.83 2.619Islam
Mari 36.7 34.5 38.5 36.4 34.6 37.7 36.9 34.5 39.3 1.917 2.493Christianity
German 39.7 38.2 41.2 39.6 38.0 41.0 40.0 38.4 41.4 1.864 2.443Christianity
Kabardin 28.2 27.1 29.3 28.8 27.4 30.2 27.7 26.9 28.4 1.799 2.654Islam
Osset 34.1 32.5 35.7 34.0 32.2 35.7 34.4 33.2 35.6 1.665 2.267Christianity
Dargwa 24.6 23.9 25.3 24.3 23.8 24.8 24.8 24.0 25.6 2.162 3.476Islam
Buriot 28.6 26.6 30.5 27.6 25.7 29.5 29.5 27.4 31.5 1.949 2.861Christianity
Yakut 26.9 25.1 28.7 26.9 25.2 28.5 27.0 25.1 28.8 1.972 2.843Christianity
Kumyk 24.6 23.7 25.4 24.8 23.9 25.6 24.4 23.5 25.2 1.977 3.123Islam
Ingush 22.7 22.4 23.0 22.9 22.5 23.4 22.5 22.3 22.7 2.325 4.05Islam
Lezghin 25.4 25.2 25.7 25.0 25.2 24.8 25.9 25.2 26.6 2.045 3.275Islam
Komi 38.8 35.8 41.0 39.4 35.5 41.6 38.3 36.0 40.4 1.869 2.363Christianity
Tyvin 23.0 21.7 24.2 22.3 21.4 23.3 23.6 22.0 25.1 1.996 3.407Buddhism
Jewish 57.5 55.7 61.1 57.6 55.7 61.2 53.5 52.0 55.3 1.264 1.371Judaism
Karachayev 29.5 28.3 30.5 27.6 26.4 28.9 30.5 29.5 31.5 1.86 2.836Islam
Kalmyks 31.3 29.2 33.3 28.6 26.3 31.3 33.9 32.6 35.1 1.853 2.625Buddhism
Adyghe 34.2 32.4 36.0 32.0 30.3 33.7 36.2 34.2 38.2 1.757 2.363Islam
Permyak 40.8 38.6 42.7 41.3 39.5 42.5 40.5 38.1 42.8 2.145 2.604Christianity
Balkar 30.1 29.5 30.7 29.3 28.8 29.8 30.9 30.1 31.9 1.689 2.624Islam
Karelian 45.7 42.4 48.6 44.7 41.3 47.2 47.0 43.5 51.2 1.823 2.108Christianity
Kazakhs 30.7 28.4 32.9 30.1 27.9 32.4 31.2 28.8 33.5 1.872 2.609Islam
Altay 27.5 25.5 29.4 22.7 21.5 24.2 28.9 26.9 30.8 2.021 2.933Christianity
Cherkess 31.2 30.1 32.3 29.7 28.3 30.9 32.1 31.1 33.3 1.807 2.607Islam


Russian is the common official language throughout Russia understood by 99% of its current inhabitants and widespread in many adjacent areas of Asia and Eastern Europe. National subdivisions of Russia have additional official languages (see their respective articles). There are more than 100 languages spoken in Russia, many of which are in danger of extinction.


Main article: Religion in Russia
The most widespread religion in Russia is Eastern Orthodox Christianity dominated by Russian Orthodox Church.

Since the end of Soviet rule, up to 60% of citizens of Russia, including up to 80% of ethnic Russians, have identified themselves as Orthodox, Even non-religious ethnic Russians mostly associate themselves with Orthodox faith for cultural reasons [10]. Second largest religion is Islam, whose followers are estimated to comprise 4-6% of the population.[11] Other branches of Christianity present in Russia include various Protestant faiths, Roman Catholicism, and Old Believers. There is some presence of Judaism, Buddhism, and Krishnaism, as well. These religions typically occur among minority groups and are quite rare among ethnic Russians and other Slavic peoples. Shamanism and other pagan beliefs are present to some extent in remote areas, sometimes syncretized with one of the mainstream religions.

Religion in Russian Federation based on 2002 Russian Census and Ethnic Group predominant religion
Religion Population(2002) % Population
Christianity 127,888,904 89.72%
Islam 14,340,794 9.85%
Buddhism 1,159,169 0.80%
Judaism 229,938 0.16%
Traditional Beliefs 123,423 0.23%


Main article: Education in Russia

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.4% (2002)
male: 99.7%
female: 99.2%[12]

Russia's free, widespread and in-depth educational system, inherited with almost no changes from the Soviet Union, has produced nearly 100% literacy. 97% of children receive their compulsory 9-year basic or complete 11-year education in Russian. Other languages are also used in their respective republics, for instance Tatar (1%), Yakut (0.4%) etc.

About 3 million students attend Russia's 519 institutions of higher education and 48 universities. As a result of great emphasis on science and technology in education, Russian medical, mathematical, scientific, and space and aviation research is generally of a high order.[13]

The number of physicians in relation to the population is high by world standards, although medical care in Russia, even in major cities, is generally below Western standards.

Labor force

The Russian labor force is undergoing tremendous changes. Although well-educated and skilled, it is largely mismatched to the rapidly changing needs of the Russian economy. Millions of Russian workers are underemployed. Unemployment is highest among women and young people. Many Russian workers compensate by working other part-time jobs. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the economic dislocation it engendered, the standard of living fell dramatically. The standard of living has been on the rise since 1999, and by 2007 about 15% of the population does not meet the minimum subsistence level for money income according to government statistics.[14]


As of 2004, the average life expectancy in Russia was 59 years for males and 73 years for females.[12] The biggest factor that contributes to low life expectancy is high mortality among working-age males due to preventable causes (violent crimes, traffic accidents, alcohol etc.) Some infectious diseases are also implicated, such as AIDS/HIV and tuberculosis. Both diseases became widespread in Russia in the 1990s. However, the underlying problems with healthcare in Russia pre-date the post-Soviet period. The Soviet Union had been increasingly lagging behind Western countries in terms of mortality and life expectancy since the late 1960s. By 1985, life expectancy for males was only 62.7 years in Russia, compared to 71.6 in Great Britain and 74.8 in Japan. The turmoil in the early 1990s and the economic crisis in 1998 caused life expectancy in Russia to go down while it was steadily growing in the rest of the world.


Russia and Ukraine are said to have the highest growth rates of HIV infection in the world outside Sub-Saharan Africa. In Russia HIV seems to be transmitted mostly by intravenous drug users sharing needles, although data is very uncertain. There is evidence of growing transmission between sex workers and their clients. Data from the Federal AIDS Centre shows that the number of registered cases is doubling every 12 months and by May 1, 2002 had reached 193,400 persons. When this number is adjusted to include people who have not been tested for the disease, estimates of the actual number of infected persons vary from 800,000 to 1 million.

Main cities

Moscow is the largest city (population 10.4 million) and is the capital of the Federation. Moscow continues to be the centre of Russian Government and is increasingly important as an economic and business centre. Its cultural tradition is rich, and there are many museums devoted to art, literature, music, dance, history, and science. It has hundreds of churches and dozens of notable cathedrals; it has become Russia's principal magnet for foreign investment and business presence.

St. Petersburg (population 4.7 million), established in 1703 by Peter the Great as the capital of the Russian Empire, was called Petrograd during World War I and Leningrad after 1924. In 1991, as the result of a city referendum, it was renamed St. Petersburg. Under the Tsars, the city was Russia's cultural, intellectual, financial, and industrial centre. After the capital was moved back to Moscow in 1918, the city's political significance declined, but it remained a cultural, scientific, and military-industrial centre.

Novosibirsk is the largest city in Siberia, a major industrial city and a transportation hub. The most prominent Russian university outside Moscow and St. Petersburg—Novosibirsk State University—is located in a suburb of Novosibirsk.

Vladivostok, located in the Russian Far East, is becoming an important centre for trade with the Pacific Rim countries.

Other large cities of importance include, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Samara, Rostov-na-Donu, and Chelyabinsk.

Notes and references

1. ^ Data from: Russian Federal Service of State Statistics (Rosstat)
2. ^ Российская газета. Где в России жить хорошо - Основные показатели социально-экономического положения субъектов Российской Федерации в I полугодии 2007 года. (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Rates of the socio-economic conditions of the regions of Russian Federation in the first half of 2007), 19.09.2007
3. ^ "Russia, the Sick Man of Europe""The Russian Federation at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century: Trapped in a Demographic Straightjacket" NBR
4. ^ Vladimir Putin’s State-of-the-Nation Address
5. ^ Newsru, Население России за пять лет уменьшилось на 3,2 миллиона до 142 миллионов человек, 19.Oct.2007 Retrieved same date
6. ^ Pravda, Russia still loses about 700,000 people every year, 19.Oct.2007 Retrieved same date
7. ^ More Abortions Than Births in Russia — Health Official
8. ^ 2002 Russian census, Женщины наиболее многочисленных национальностей по возрастным группам и числу рожденных детей по субъектам Российской Федерации
9. ^ 2002 Russian census, Население отдельных национальностей по возрастным группам и полу по субъектам Российской Федерации
10. ^ in Russian:Социология религии
11. ^ Newsru: Цифра в 20 млн российских мусульман и массовый переход русских в ислам являются мифами, считает эксперт 10 April 2007 Retrieved 19. Oct. 2007
12. ^ CIA World factbook, [ Russia]
13. ^ [4]
14. ^ Российская газета. Неравномерности роста - Между регионами остаются серьёзные различия. (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Unevenness of the growth - Significant discrepancies remain between the regions), 19.09.2007

See also


External links

Hymn of the Russian Federation

(and largest city) Moscow

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Russian Census of 2002 (Russian: Всеросси́йская
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Ще не вмерла України ні слава, ні воля  
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My Kazakhstan

Capital Astana

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Eastern Slavic can refer to:
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Turkic peoples are a group of peoples residing in northern, central and western Eurasia who speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. These peoples share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds.
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languages of the Caucasus are a large and extremely varied array of languages spoken by more than ten million people in the Caucasus region of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
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Uralic can refer to:
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TFR by Federal Subjects

This is a list of values of total fertility rates by federal subjects of Russia

Oblast Urban TFR Rural TFR
Belgorod Oblast 1.05 1.44
Bryansk Oblast 1.17 1.30
Vladimir Oblast 1.22 1.37
Voronezh Oblast 1.07 1.
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Чеченская Республик?
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Agin-Buryat Autonomous Okrug (Russian: Аги́нский-Буря́тский автоно́мный
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Республика Ингушети?
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Yugra (Russian: Югра) was the name of the lands between the Pechora River and Northern Urals in the Russian annals of the 12th–17th centuries, as well as the name of the Khanty and partly Mansi tribes inhabiting
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Tyumen (Russian: ) is a city in Russia, located on the Tura River 2,144 km east of Moscow.
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Республика Алта?
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Республика Тыв?
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Москв? (Russian)

Location of Moscow in Europe

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Koryak Okrug (Russian: Коря́кский о́круг, Koryaksky okrug
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Magadan (Russian: Магада́н), a port city on the Sea of Okhotsk and gateway to the Kolyma region, is the administrative center of Magadan Oblast (since 1953), in the Russian Far East.
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Evenk Autonomous Okrug (Russian: Эвенки́йский автоно́мный о́круг,
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Пско? (Russian)

Location of Pskov in Europe
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Smolensk (Russian: Смоленск) is a city in western Russia, located on the Dnieper River, the administrative centre of Smolensk Oblast.
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Tambov (Russian: Тамбо́в) is a city in Russia, the administrative center of Tambov Oblast.
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Places named Tula include:
  • Tula, Tula Oblast, Russia
  • Tula, Hidalgo, Mexico
  • Tula, Tamaulipas, Mexico
  • Tula, Mississippi
  • Tula, Sardinia, Italy
  • Tula, Kenya
Other uses:
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State Party Russian Federation
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iv, vi
Reference 604
Region European Russia

Inscription History
Inscription 1992  (16th Session)
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Kurgan (Russian: курга́н) is the Russian word (of Turkic origin[1]) for a tumulus, a type of burial mound or barrow, heaped over a burial chamber, often of wood.
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Suicide (Latin sui caedere, to kill oneself) or Self-murder, is the act of intentionally terminating one's own life. Suicide occurs for a number of reasons such as depression, substance abuse, shame, avoiding pain, financial difficulties or other undesirable fates.
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List of suicide rates by country according to data from the World Health Organization in which a country's rank is determined by its total rate of suicides. Male and female suicide rates are out of total male population and total female population, respectively (e.g.
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Population ageing or population aging (see English spelling differences) occurs when the median age of a country or region rises. With the exception of 18 countries termed by the United Nations 'demographic outliers' (see the Ud 2005 Human Development Report) this process is
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