On Wednesday, September 20, 2006, AIPRG Yerevan office organized a public lecture entitled: “Armenia: Demographic Challenges”, which was conducted by Shavarsh Kocharyan (Member of the Parliament). The presentation was based on Mr. Kocharyna’s paper, presented at the AIPRG Forth Annual Meeting (January 2006), and was rendered as a part of the Post-Conference Outreach Program.
Mr. Kocharyan started his presentation with the outline of population growth up to our times, in particular, mentioning that from the point of view of growth rate the XX century was unprecedented. The examples of China and India with population of 300 million and 200 million respectively at the beginning of the 19the century and already more that 1 billion at the beginning of 21st century can be regarded as vivid acknowledgements of that. However, according to Mr. Kocharyan, population growth rates in future will decline though under different rates in different continents and countries. Of particular interest was the forecast for democratic countries, where the highest growth rate is expected for the USA, Israel, and Ireland and the negative growth is expected in Japan, Italy, and Spain. Then, Mr. Kocharyan noted about the aging tendencies in the societies, particularly in Europe, where the total number of people aged over 60 will make up 35 percent of total population in 2050.
While focusing on demographic changes in Armenia, Mr. Kocharyan noted that population growth up to 1989 was the same as the world average. However, this positive growth rapidly changed into a negative after 1989. Meanwhile, according to some estimates, by 2050 population in Armenia will sustain at 3 million, whereas in neighboring countries such as Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey there will be a 24-35 percent growth. Moreover, having the lowest fertility rate in the region, Armenia will record the highest figure for the median age (population age if the given area under and over which the number of population is equal) if compared with the regional and even European countries. Thus, Armenia is aging at rather high rate. Mr. Kocharyan also presented different demographic indicators for Armenia and other regional states and discussed possible factors effecting population growth decline in some countries.
The lecture was followed by an active question-and-answer session, during which among others the impact of dual citizenship arrangements and the main reason of low birth rates in Europe were discussed. One topic which raised particular interest among the audience was the question of Mr. Vardan Marakyan, advisor to the RA minister of Labor and Social Affairs on possible effects of introduction of small-family tax. Mr. Kocharyan’s expressed his position stating that such kind of measures are not acceptable for Armenia. According to Ruben Eganyan, president of the NGO Armenian Social-Demographic Initiative small-family tax for Armenia can be regarded as a crime - the situation in Armenia is that the main reasons for not having children is social and economic hardship, thus taking from those who have no means and give it to those who have money and children will not work. Moreover, Mr. Eganyan stated that as experience shows restrictive measures may have short-term effects but in long-term bring no success. The example was case of the restriction of abortions in Romania in 1960, as a result of which the low birth problem was solved for the further 2-3 years, but in the period of 25 years this effect was stultified.
The lecture was conducted with the support of Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) Armenia branch, the management of which kindly provided the premises.
The event was reflected by the following local media outlets:
Arka (http://arka.am/rus/archive/n09/n2009/200911.html), and
Noyan-Tapan (http://www.nt.am/eng/news/22.09.2006/All/) and Delovoy Express.
Attached Files: Lecture Presentation