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Lowering conscription age to 20 could affect birth rate in Ukraine – Institute for Demography

Saturday, 13 April 2024, 16:35
Lowering conscription age to 20 could affect birth rate in Ukraine – Institute for Demography
The Armed Forces of Ukraine. Photo: Office of the President of Ukraine

Lowering conscription age to 20 might have a negative impact on the demographic situation in Ukraine.

Source: Oleksandr Hladun, Deputy Director of the Institute for Demography and Social Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, on Ukraine’s national 24/7 newscast

Quote from Hladun: "Wars are generally bad for demographics. People in all age groups are being killed. In 2001, we had the lowest birth rate in the history of Ukraine. If you take five years on either side of 2001, people born in that 10-year period comprise the smallest share of the population of Ukraine compared to other age groups. This age group will shrink even further when exposed to increased mortality rates [associated with the war]."


Details: Taras Chmut, head of the Come Back Alive NGO, brought up the idea of lowering conscription age to 20 in a recent interview with Ukrainska Pravda.

Oleksandr Hladun said that Ukrainian women’s average age at childbirth is 27-28 years old; men tend to become fathers slightly later in life.

Given that this group is in its peak reproductive age, lower conscription age could negatively affect Ukraine’s demographics.

However, Hladun said that the decision to lower the conscription age – or not – is ultimately for the Defence Ministry to make in light of the military’s present needs.

"What can we do if there’s no one left to fight? That’s why we see that Russian [authorities] in the occupied territories [of Ukraine] are issuing their passports, conscripting people in their army, and forcing our citizens to fight against [other Ukrainian citizens]," Hladun said.

"That’s why I think that in this case, the Defence Ministry has to make the decision given their needs. Otherwise our state will just cease to exist," he added.

A total of over 187,000 children were born in Ukraine in 2023, the lowest number since Ukraine’s independence in 1991. Birth rate has fallen by over 30% in comparison with 2021.

However, Hladun stressed that in 2022-2023, only births registered on Ukrainian-controlled territory were counted, and that territory has shrunk compared with the time before the full-scale invasion.

"So the [birth rate] decline is explained, first of all, by the fact that not every birth in Ukraine has been counted. Second, yes, there really is an overall trend of declining birth rate," Hladun explained.

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