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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Population Shrinks

MOSCOW -- Russia's shrinking population has fallen to 147.2 million people, down 277,000 for the first half of this year, the State Statistics Committee said Monday.

Russia's population has been in decline since the Soviet Union's collapse. It shrank by almost 500,000 people last year and looks set to fall by a similar number this year, according to preliminary figures from the committee, Interfax reported.

Demographers blame the soaring mortality rate and low birth rate on a protracted economic crisis, severe stress over the transformation to a market economy and a sharp deterioration in health care.