Why do people move in, out and around Siberia?

Researchers looked at the ‘impact of environmental and anthropogenic factors on the migration of the rural Arctic population of Western Siberia’. They focused on the Yamal–Nenets Autonomous Okrug. They analysed long-term migration data collected from surveys and interviews between 2012 and 2021, Rosstat and other Russian databases including open-source platforms. Districts included Nadymsky, Yamalsky, Tazovsky, Krasnoselkupsky, Shuryshkarsky, Priuralsky and Purovsky.

Socio-demographic data included researchers from YNAO Arctic Scientific Centre, Northern Arctic Federal University and the regional Association of Reindeer Herders. Semi-structured interviews and survey data between 2012-2021 was also reviewed. The datasets were statistically analysed for additional verification.

The population increased by 9.7% between 2000 to 2020, which was not reflected in similar Arctic regions. The female population increased faster than the male population. Young professionals including those with higher education tend to leave for other areas. When surveyed, it was perceived this was due to overall quality of life, social infrastructure and fewer job opportunities.

Traditional economic activity from Indigenous groups such as reindeer herding became less popular. However some have found that less transport infrastructure provides economic opportunities. Geopolitics and Covid-19 were not among reasons given for migration. Access to natural resources, food security and combatting environmental pollution were considered important.

The researchers recommend a series of measures to increase the sustainability of the population

Short-term measures:
1. To develop state programmes for subsidising and compensation of logistics costs of delivery and storage of goods and food in the rural areas of YNAO;
2. To introduce state programmes for digitalisation of educational, medical, and social services;
Medium-term measures:
3. To improve the quality of housing (primarily, providing houses with a water supply and sewerage systems);
4. To introduce the programmes for developing social infrastructure (for example, increase in the number of feldsher-midwife stations in remote settlements);
5. To improve the logistics infrastructure of rural areas (enhance the logistics between the settlements);
6. To develop innovative high-tech bioproduction industries in the region (livestock, poultry, aquaculture), including traditional economic activities of local communities;
Long-term measures:
7. To identify and develop the settlements that can become the “models of rural cities”

Bogdanova et al, 2022, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su14127436

Bogdanova E, Filant K, Sukhova E, Zabolotnikova M, Filant P, Raheem D, Shaduyko O, Andronov S and Lobanov A (2022) The Impact of Environmental and Anthropogenic Factors on the Migration of the Rural Arctic Population of Western Siberia Sustainability 14 7436 Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su14127436

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