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Depopulation in Moldova: The main challenge in the context of extremly high emigration

Publication at Faculty of Science |


In Moldova, there has been a long-term decline in the population, mainly due to high levels of emigration. The article presents an analysis of population dynamics in Moldova over the last three decades, and estimates the contributions of fertility, mortality and migration to this process.

Using population censuses, data on the population with usual residence, vital statistics and data on Moldovan immigrants from the host countries' statistical institutes,we estimate population changes between 1991-2021, and present demographic projections up to 2040. The results show that migration outflows account for more than 90% of the depopulation trend, with high levels of premature mortality accelerating the natural decline.

The fall in births is associated with a decrease in the reproductive-age population. The total fertility rate has been decreasing gradually, while the cohort fertility rates have not fallen below 1.75 live births per woman.

Past migration and low fertility are projected to result in long-term population decline. Demographic ageing is expected to increase.

While population decline cannot be stopped, its scale can be limited through reductions in emigration and mortality. This study on population decline in Moldova helps to complete the demographic picture of Europe in the 20th century and into the 21st century.