According to the UN, Ukraine is among the leaders in reducing rates of urban population. By 2025, the population of several cities in eastern Ukraine has significantly reduced.
In the latest report of the UN Human Settlements Programme UN-HABITAT "Condition of cities 2012/2013," the condition of 600 cities in the world with a population of over 750,000 inhabitants is analized. In the series "Prosperity of Cities" Ukrainian cities recevied unfavourable forecasts in comparison with other cities in the world and are among those with the most shrinking population.
According to the UN report, by 2025 in Dnepropetrovsk there will be 967,000 people. This is 16.8 percent less than in 1990. Population of Donetsk by 2025 will be approximately 941 000 residents, which is 14.2 percent less than in 1990. In Zaporizhzhya, respectively, 758,000 people (reduction – 13.2 percent), in Kharkiv – less than 1.5 million (8.9 percent).
The main reason for reducing of the population of Ukraine has not changed over the past 20 years, said Kateryna Pryshchepa, coordinator of public relations of the United Nations Population Fund in Ukraine. According to her, since 1992 the mortality in Ukraine has been exceeding the birth rate. According to the latest report from the country’s State Statistics Committee, with 100 deaths only 77 infants are born.
Reducing of the population in eastern Ukraine is directly linked to the economic crisis, says sociologist Yulia Bidenko. Most noteworthy it is manifested in Dnipropetrovsk. Previously there were many enterprises of the military-industrial complex there, most of which were closed after the collapse of the USSR. "Young people are forced to leave the city in search of work" – said Bidenko.
In the Donbas and Kharkiv, where Soviet chemical processing, metallurgical, coal mining, and power generation companies are more in demand, the rate of population decline is less noticeable because of the influx of people from rural area and district centers. Kharkiv, a former leader of machinery, instrument and aviation industries, according to the sociologist, has become a "shopping center and city of universities." Students who come to study in Kharkiv "save" its demographics.
From January to August 2012 alone, according to the State Statistics Committee, around 100,000 people died in Ukraine. The main causes of death are circulatory diseases and tumors.
According to environmentalists, the population of small cities of Ukraine is declining much faster than in metropolitan areas. If the quality of life in Ukraine does not improve and economic conditions to improve fertility are not created, then, according to the sociologist Bidenko, in 20-30 years Ukrainian society risks becoming a "society of retired": "The average age of men is now barely more than 56 years. Females live up to 70 ".
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) are hoping that the census scheduled for 2013 will allow to receive more accurate data on the population of Ukraine.