Soviet Census (1989)

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1989 Soviet National Census
State Emblem of the Soviet Union.svg
Soviet State Emblem
1989 Cccp census.jpg
Census Logo
General information
CountrySoviet Union
Date takenJanuary 12, 1989 (1989-01-12)
January 19, 1989 (1989-01-19)
Total population286,730,819
Percent changeIncrease2.svg 9.3%
Most populous republic Russia
Least populous republic Estonia
1989 Soviet census information pamphlet Perepis1989 banner.jpg
1989 Soviet census information pamphlet
1989 census form Perepis1989 list.jpg
1989 census form

The 1989 Soviet census (Russian : Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989, "1989 All-Union Census"), conducted between 12-19 January of that year, was the last one that took place in the USSR. The census found the total population to be 286,730,819 inhabitants. [1] In 1989, the Soviet Union ranked as the third most populous in the world, above the United States (with 248,709,873 inhabitants according to the 1 April 1990 census), although it was well behind China and India.



In 1989, about half of the Soviet Union's total population lived in the Russia, and approximately one-sixth (18%) of them in Ukraine. Almost two-thirds (65.7%) of the population was urban, leaving the rural population with 34.3%. [2] In this way, its gradual increase continued, as shown by the series represented by 47.9%, 56.3% and 62.3% of 1959, 1970 and 1979 respectively. [3]

The last two national censuses (held in 1979 and 1989) showed that the country had been experiencing an average annual increase of about 2.5 million people, although it was a slight decrease from a figure of around 3 million per year in the previous intercensal period, 1959-1970. This post-war increase had contributed to the USSR's partial demographic recovery from the significant population loss that the USSR had suffered during the Great Patriotic War (the Eastern Front of World War II), and before it, during Stalin's Great Purge of 1936-1938. The previous postwar censuses, conducted in 1959, 1970 and 1979, had enumerated 208,826,650, 241,720,134, and 262,436,227 inhabitants respectively. [3]

In 1990, the Soviet Union was more populated than both the United States and Canada together, having some 40 million more inhabitants than the U.S. alone. However, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in late 1991, the combined population of the 15 former Soviet republics stagnated at around 290 million inhabitants for the period 1995-2000.

This significant slowdown may in part be due to the remarkable socio-economic changes that followed the disintegration of the USSR, that have tended to reduce even more the already decreasing birth rates (which were already showing some signs of decline since the Soviet era, in particular among the people living in the European part of the Soviet Union). The next census was possibly planned for 1999.

Largest cities of the USSR according to the 1989 census. Largest cities USSR 1989.svg
Largest cities of the USSR according to the 1989 census.

SSR Rankings

Soviet Republic
Population as of
1979 Census
Population as of
1989 Census [4]
1Flag of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.svg  Russia 137,551,000147,400,5379,849,537 Increase2.svg7.2% Increase2.svg
2Flag of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.svg  Ukraine 49,755,00051,706,7421,951,742 Increase2.svg3.9% Increase2.svg
3Flag of the Uzbek SSR.svg  Uzbekistan 15,391,00019,905,1584,514,158 Increase2.svg29.3% Increase2.svg
4Flag of the Kazakh SSR.svg  Kazakhstan 14,684,00016,536,5111,852,511 Increase2.svg12.6% Increase2.svg
5Flag of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (1951-1991).svg  Belarus 9,560,00010,199,709639,709 Increase2.svg6.7% Increase2.svg
6Flag of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.svg  Azerbaijan 6,028,0007,037,8671,009,867 Increase2.svg16.8% Increase2.svg
7Flag of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic.svg  Georgia 5,015,0005,443,359428,359 Increase2.svg8.5% Increase2.svg
8Flag of Tajik SSR.svg  Tajikistan 3,801,0005,108,5761,307,576 Increase2.svg34.4% Increase2.svg
9Flag of Moldavian SSR.svg  Moldova 3,947,0004,337,592390,592 Increase2.svg9.9% Increase2.svg
10Flag of Kyrgyz SSR.svg  Kyrgyzstan 3,529,0004,290,442761,442 Increase2.svg21.6% Increase2.svg
11Flag of Lithuanian SSR.svg  Lithuania 3,398,0003,689,779291,779 Increase2.svg8.6% Increase2.svg
12Flag of the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic.svg  Turkmenistan 2,759,0003,533,925774,925 Increase2.svg28.1% Increase2.svg
13Flag of Armenian SSR.svg  Armenia 3,031,0003,287,677256,677 Increase2.svg8.5% Increase2.svg
14Flag of Latvian SSR.svg  Latvia 2,521,0002,680,029159,029 Increase2.svg6.3% Increase2.svg
15Flag of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic.svg  Estonia 1,466,0001,572,916106,916 Increase2.svg7.3% Increase2.svg
 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union 262,436,000286,730,81924,294,8199.3%

See also

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  1. This is the total "de facto" population (nalichnoye naseleniye – наличное население); the "permanent" population (postoyannoye naseleniye – постоянное население) was about 1 million persons fewer. Over time, the State Statistics Committee changed its method of reporting population totals in censuses. In the 1959 and 1970 censuses, it used the permanent population; in 1979 and 1989 it used the de facto or present population. See Barbara A. Anderson and Brian D. Silver, "'Permanent' and 'Present' Populations in Soviet Statistics," Soviet Studies , Vol. 37, pp. 386-402, July 1985.
  2. Encyclopædia Britannica Book of the Year 1991, Soviet Union, page 720.
  3. 1 2 United Nations: Demographic Yearbook, Historical supplement - Population by sex, residence, and intercensal rates of increase for total population, each census: 1948-1997, on the UN Statistics Division website ( Archived 2010-06-16 at the Wayback Machine ).
  4. Almanaque Mundial 1996, Editorial América/Televisa, Mexico, 1995, pages 548-552 (Demografía/Biometría table).

Further reading