- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
March 5, 2004

Counted In: Census reports final conclusions on Armenia 's population

The final results of independent Armenia 's first census have been released by the National Statistical Service.

It concluded that 3,213,011 people lived in Armenia at the time the census was conducted in October 2001. Only about 68,000 were not Armenian: 40,620 Yezidis, 14,660 Russians, 3,409 Assyrians, 1,633 Ukrainians, 1,519 Kurds, 1,176 Greeks, and 4,640 of various other nationalities.

The last census was conducted in Soviet Armenia in January 1989, but this was badly affected by the earthquake in the north of the country and the population movements caused by the crisis over Nagorno-Karabakh.

“In those days, the government of Armenia and statisticians were against conducting the census because of the economic and political conditions. The results objectively lost their topicality very quickly and they couldn't serve as a basis for current population estimates,” says Karineh Kuyumjyan, head of the Census and Demography Department at the statistical service.

The 1989 head count concluded that 3,287,677 people were living in Armenia , a figure widely regarded as an underestimate. In the past decade about 600 thousand people have left Armenia .

Based on a comparison with the flawed 1989 data, the census suggests that fewer than 250,000 people have left the country in the past decade, a figure that many in Armenia are likely to regard as an under-estimate.

The census is supposed to take place every 10 years. The National Assembly adopted the law “On Census” in 1999, but the Government lacked the necessary funds to carry out the count.

Kuyumjyan says the political and economic importance of having accurate population figures meant that “budget restraints were put aside and the Government began searching for alternative sources for conducting the census”.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Government, donor countries and international organizations in March 2001, which allocated just over 1.1 billion drams (about $2 million) for the census. Eighty per cent of the money came from the World Bank, the United Nations Population Fund, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom 's Department for International Development.

Kuyumjyan says accurate cencus is of political and economic importance for the country.

Kuyumjyan says in addition to the grant USAID provided technical and advisory services as well as computer technologies to the value of $1 million. Some 15,000 people were involved in carrying out the work in the republic.

The statistical service has published 3,000 copies of the census report in Armenian, English and Russian.

It shows that more than a third of the population lives in Yerevan , which has 1,103,000 residents. Those present during the census count were 1,091,000 – the rest were absent but considered resident. The population density is 4,861 people per square kilometer.

The data concludes that there are 1,542,000 males and 1,671,000 females in Armenia . Among those over 15, 621 of every 1,000 people are married, 264 have never wed, 85 are widowed persons, and 30 are divorced.

The educational level of the republic was characterized as follows: 170 in every 1,000 residents hold a degree or postgraduate qualification, 618 have secondary level education, 192 have basic or general elementary levels of knowledge.

Only 41,600 adults were found to have not even elementary education. A third of them, mostly aged 50 or over, was considered illiterate.

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