Russia faces a demographic crisis, as its population shrinks and ages year-on-year and the number of deaths exceeds the number of births. By 2035, the Russian median age was forecasted to reach 44 years. The increasing migrant outflow and the so-called 'brain drain' from Russia also contribute to the population decline. When surveyed in 2020, only one fifth of top university graduates did not plan to leave the country.
Over the past two decades, the perception of marriage and childbirth changed significantly in Russia. The average age of mothers at childbearing increased by nearly three years between 2000 and 2018. The majority of mothers in the country give birth aged between 25 and 29 years. An increasing share of Russians believe that marriage is not necessary.
One of the potential threats stemming from the demographic crisis is a workforce shortage, which could result in the inability of the government to pay out pensions to the next generation of retirees, a decline in labor productivity, armed forces recruitment, and a long-term economic slowdown. In addition, the increasing internal migration to Central Russia raises fears of depopulation of the country's Far Eastern and Siberian Federal Districts.
The country's government has implemented several measures to increase fertility. One of them, referred to as the maternal capital, is a payment to Russian mothers or, in exceptional cases, fathers, that can be spent on improving living conditions, education for a child, social adaptation and integration of disabled children, or the mother's retirement savings. While the program was initially designed for mothers giving birth to or adopting a second or further child, it was modified to include first children in January 2020.