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Soviet Union Table of Contents

Soviet Union


Seven official censuses have been taken in the Soviet Union (1920, 1926, 1939, 1959, 1970, 1979, and 1989). Both the quality and the quantity of the data have varied: in 1972 seven volumes totaling 3,238 pages were published on the 1970 census. In contrast, the results of the 1979 census were published more than five years later in a single volume of 366 pages.

According to the census of 1989, on the day of the census, January 12, the population of the Soviet Union was estimated to be 286,717,000. This figure maintained the country's long-standing position as the world's third most populous country after China and India. In the intercensal period (1979-88), the population of the Soviet Union grew from 262.4 million to 286.7 million, a 9 percent increase.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, the Soviet Union experienced declining birth rates, increasing divorce rates, a trend toward smaller nuclear families, and increasing mobility and urbanization. Major problems associated with such factors as migration, tension among nationality groups, uneven fertility rates, and high infant and adult mortality became increasingly acute, and various social programs and incentives were introduced to deal with them.

Data as of May 1989