Demographic processes in Yerevan at the beginning of the 21st century

The socio-economical and political changes taken place in the Republic of Armenia (hereinafter RA) in the last decade of the 20th century had significant impact on the demographic picture of Yerevan: the population decreased, the ethnic, linguistic, religious composition of the population underwent some change and so on. As a result of such changes the present demographic characteristic of Yerevan has significant peculiarities in comparison with Yerevan in the Soviet period.

So, which are the main features of the demographic description of Yerevan at the beginning of the 21st century? To solve the problem set before us, first of all it’s necessary to analyze the demographic features of Yerevan one by one (he number of population, vital statistics, migration, composition, resettlement), so it’s necessary to present the problem from the points of view of demographics, history (particularly anthropology and historical demography), sociology, geography, ethnic psychology and others. The statistical data and analysis of each component are presented below.

1. The number of population and vital statistics

In 1990-2001 the population of Yerevan decreased by approximately 200 thousand, which wasn’t caused by vital statistics but by mechanical movement, i.e, by migration. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union the population of Yerevan exceeded 1.3 million, however, in the 1990s, as a result of social and economical hardships sharp decrease of the population of Yerevan occurred: thousands of people emigrated abroad and those who resettled from the RA provinces and a part of refugees from Azerbaijan replaced them. In the 2000s the volumes of emigration decreased, and the inflow of people from provinces to Yerevan continued. As a result, in 1991-2011, totally 500 thousand people emigrated from Yerevan, and about 300 thousand people who weren’t born in Yerevan settled in the capital. While in 1990-2001 the change of Yerevan population was mainly caused by migration processes, in 2001-2011 it was caused by vital statistics. This is the reason why the population of Yerevan hasn’t undergone sharp changes in the recent decade. Below we present the population change in the period from 2001-2011.

The number of resident population of Yerevan in 2001-2011 (by January 1; thousand people)

2001 – 1 103,5 ( RA population census 2001 ): 2006 – 1 103,8 ( “Yerevan, the RA capital in numbers 2009” statistical catalogue, RA National Statistical Service, hereinafter RA NSS, Yerevan, 2009, page 60). 2007 – 1 104,9 (The same source): 2008 – 1 107,8 (The same source): 2009 – 1 111,3 (The same source): 2010 – 1 116,6 (“Yerevan, the RA capital in numbers 2010: statistical catalogue, RA NSS, 2010, page 60. 2011 – 1 121,9 ( The social and economical situation of the RA in January-December 2010, monthly information report, RA NSS, Yerevan, 2011, page 134).

It should be noted that in recent 3 years the birth-rate in Yerevan has been the highest in Armenia, particularly in 2009 it made up 1.38 %, in 2010-1.39%, in January-September 2011-1.4%, and in Armenia in average it made up 1.31% for the period of January-September,2011. Such a rate certainly can’t provide expanded reproducibility of the population; however, it can be considered normal for a city with the population over 1 million. At the same time the mortality rates are low-0.81% (January-September 2011), which states the absence of “demographic winter” in Yerevan. In fact, the vital statistics in Yerevan is positive-0.59%. However, the present demographic situation in Yerevan is in danger of “demographic winter” (“Demographic winter”, or depopulation is the annual condensed reproduction of the local population; it means annual decrease of population because of mortality rates being higher than birth rates. See Medkov V.M, Demography, 2nd edition, Moscow, 594). Presently, if low birth rates remain for a long period they can cause “demographic winter”. So, which are the reasons for low birth rates? Below we pointed out the main reasons of low birth rates:

a) 1.1256 million people live in Yerevan (RA resident population at the moment of October 1,2011, statistical bulletin, Yerevan 2011, page 3), and in large city areas, and particularly in the cities with the population of over 1 million, the level of birth rates is usually low (high level of education, specifics of social institutions, socio-psychological thinking);

b) In Yerevan the level of women’s education is high, and their social position and role are conditioned by it. The women realizing their certain role in the society and rapt in their work mostly don’t want to have more than one child (In European countries some women don’t have even one child because of their social position, but in Armenian society having a child is still considered to be an obligatory condition). The RA National Statistical Service, RA Ministry of Health and “ICF Macro” Maryland,USA made a special research into RA demography and health issues. While carrying out the research they made a survey among the women who already had a child asking if they would like to have another child ( Demography and health research in Armenia 2010”, preliminary report, RA NSS, RA Health Ministry and “ICF MACRO” USA, Yerevan 2011, page 22). The research showed that 58% of the women having one child and 70% of those who have 2 children didn’t want to have more children. By the way, this statistics is typical not only for Yerevan but for the whole republic.

c) In Armenia, particularly in Yerevan the problem of children’s welfare occupies a significant place in social thinking. In Western Europe the level of welfare doesn’t have serious positive influence on the birth-rate growth among local ethnic communities while in Yerevan everything is the other way round: parents plan the number of their children taking into account the level of material welfare. As the main part of Yerevan population has to overcome economical hardships many families have to give up the idea of having the second, and particularly, the third child.

d) In the 1990s a significant part of young male population emigrated from Yerevan because of infavourable economical condition, thus the balance between the sexes has been broken because of the emigration of the young of reproductive age causing decrease of marriages (In January-September 2011 the number of marriages in Armenia grew by 13.5% in comparison with the same period of 2010 (“The socio-economical situation in Armenia in January-September 2011”, page 124). A part of the growth refers to Yerevan, but here we have to do with reduction of the number of marriages: the number of population capable for reproduction requires more marriages, but the disbalance between sexes doesn’t make it possible to reproduce a big new generation by those who were born in the 1970-1980s). In 2001, according to the population census, 46.54 % of Yerevan population was male, and 53.46%-female. In 2010 the situation was almost the same: women-53.2%, men-46.8%.

e) In the 1990-2000s in Armenia, particularly, in Yerevan active process of reformation of social institutions and social thinking was going on, and that fact directly influenced on the demographical processes. In such conditions the tradition of having many children is kept in monoethnic environment and under the influence of the national church.

f) The RA demographic policy doesn’t managed clearly which is another result of social and economical hardships.

g) The population of Yerevan is gradually becoming old. Only 19.3% of men and 15.2% of women are at the age of 0-14, and the age group of 65 and older makes up 8.8% and 12.3 % respectively. This point is both cause and effect as it is tightly connected with the mentioned points. So, a number of circumstances hinder birth rate increase in Yerevan. Simultaneously, the mortality rate is also stable which is conditioned by satisfactory level of health care institution and the stressful city life. The mentioned above demographic processes caused “Demographic winter” in two districts of Yerevan- in Arabkir and Nor Marash districts the situation lasts for about ten years:0.17% (2010) and 0.2 % (2009) vital statistics. Fortunately, in 2010 depopulation in Nork Marash has been overcome, but in Arabkir the problem is still there. In fact, for the first time in the contemporary history of Yerevan there is a negative vital statistics in one of its parts. According to the data of the Territorial Passport Service of the RA Police adjunct to RA Government, emigration prevails in migration processes, but with insignificant difference -0.05% in 2009 and 0.12

2.Population placement in administrative districts

At present Yerevan is divided into 12 administrative districts. The placement of population in administrative district is presented below. We presented the number of population in accordance of the data of population census of 2001 and October 1, 2011

2. Placement of resident population of Yerevan in accordance with administrative districts (at the moment of October

Administrative district

The number of population (thousand people)


(RA census of 2001)


(  “RA Resident population number on the moment of October,2011” page 8)

Malatia Sebastia



Nor Nork


















Kanaker Zeytun









Nork Marash







1 103,5

1 125,6

3. Ethnic, language and religious composition of the population

In accordance with the data of 2001 census, more that 98.6% of the population of Yerevan (more than 1.088 million people) was Armenian. About 15 thousand representatives of national minorities lived in Yerevan as well: Russians, Ezidis, Ukrainians, Greeks, Assyrians, Jews. Here is the ethnic composition of Yerevan in accordance with the census of 2001.

Ethnic composition of Yerevan resident population in 2001

Ethnic society Number %
1 Armenians 1 088 389 98,63
2 Russians 6 684 0,61
3 Ezidis 4 733 0,43
4 Ukrainians 876 0,08
5 Greeks 308 0,03
6 Assyrians 239 0,02
Others 2 259 0,2

The ethnic composition of Yerevan population in 2001-2011 actually didn’t change significantly. Only not permanent settlement of a few hundreds of citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran is noticeable, but they and the tourists visiting Yerevan aren’t taken into account as residents. According to the results of the census of 2001, about 98.12 % of Yerevan population is Armenian-speaking. There are also a lot of students (1.36%). Of the native languages of the ethnic minorities of Yerevan population the Ezidi language is spread (0.32%), as well as Ukrainian (0.03 %). The sociological surveys made in 2009-2011 state that about 90 % of the population can use Russian as the second language. English users make up a significant number too. About 95% of Yerevan population follows the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church, more than 10 churches function in Yerevan: St Gregory the Illuminator Church. St Sargis Church, St Hovhannes, St Katoghike, St Zoravor and other churches. There is a big number of Protestants, as well as followers of other religious organizations which have their own assembly places. There are some followers of the Russian Orthodox Church, for whom there is a church and another one is being built. There is also one Persian Mosque (Blue Mosque) and one Jewish Synagogue. So, summarizing our demographic research we can state that at nowadays about 34.4% of the RA population lives in Yerevan, 53.7 % of the RA urban population is in Yerevan, 33.9 % of the Armenians of the Republic of Armenia and 11 % of the world Armenians. We should point out the circumstance that Yerevan which still has numerous demographic problems keeps on being the socio-economical, cultural, educational and political center of Armenia. In fact, each morning a few hundred thousand people Arrive in Yerevan and leave it in the evening. If we take into account those who live here temporally and the tourists it would become clear that at busy daytime (about 14:00) about 1.5-1.6 people are in Yerevan.

Mikael Malkhasyan
YSU, Faculty of History