For the record

New census statistics on Ukraine

JERSEY CITY, N.J. - Detailed results of the 1989 census in Ukraine were recently made available in Kiev, in the weekly Ukraina (No. 33), in an article by Irena Prybytkova.

The current figures indicate that Ukraine's population has grown to 51.7 million persons, 72.6 percent (that is, 37.5 million people) of whom are Ukrainian; Russians comprise 22 percent of the population (11.37 million); and the remaining 5.4 percent (2.8 million) represent varied ethnic backgrounds.

Statistics of language usage seem to indicate that the Russification process has abated since Ukrainian was named the native language by 87.7 percent of Ukrainians (32.8 million); among the non-Ukrainian citizens (27.1 percent of the total population), 13.3 percent said they speak Ukrainian fluently.

A further breakdown shows that almost half of the Jews (46.5 percent), a third of the Russians, a quarter of the Greeks and a fifth of the Germans who reside in Ukraine speak Ukrainian language well.

Russian is spoken fluently by almost half of the total population, with a similar ratio reflected among ethnic Ukrainians. Only 0.5 percent of the republic's population speaks other languages; among Ukrainians, a mere 0.001 percent are proficient in any language other than Ukrainian and Russian.

Of the total number of Ukrainians in the USSR, 84.7 percent reside in Ukraine, while the remainder live in other republics. Of the latter group, 4.4 million live in Russia; 900,000 in Kazakhstan; 600,000 in Moldavia; 290,000 in Byelorussia; and 154,000 in Uzbekistan.

Of the Ukrainians living in Russia, 42.8 percent have retained the Ukrainian language; in Kazakhstan, the figure is even lower: 36.6 percent.

With respect to published materials, the 1989 census figures find that 70.3 percent of the newspapers in Ukraine are written in Ukrainian, 29 percent in Russian, and the remainder (six titles, in all) in various other languages. However, only 20 percent of books and brochures are printed in Ukrainian, with the overwhelming majority appearing in Russian.

Of interest also are statistics concerning mixed marriages in the Ukrainian republic, as well as in the Soviet Union. A total of one-third of Ukrainian men and women marry outside of their ethnic background. Details show a fairly even male/female split in that aspect: 22.4 percent of Ukrainian women and 20 percent of Ukrainian men choose non-Ukrainian spouses.

In 1988, the number of children from mixed marriages grew to 16.1 percent of the total number of offspring born to Ukrainian mothers. Ms. Prybytkova notes that "having married far away from their native homes, Ukrainian women demonstrate exceptional adaptibility to their surrounding traditions and way of life."

Migratory patterns demonstrated by the census show that of the 1,000 newcomers to Ukraine, 634 were Ukrainian, 287 were Russian, 13 were Byelorussian, seven were Moldavian and seven were Tatars. These statistics are more or less mirrored by emigrant numbers; 624 Ukrainians, 296 Russians, 12 Byelorussians, six Moldavians, and four Tatars comprise the total who left the republic last year. While Ukrainians migrate to all regions of the USSR, they settle most often in Latvia, Estonia and Russia.

Of interest to note is that the number of Ukrainians in Latvia has grown to 11 percent of the republic's total population; 6 percent of Russia's inhabitants are Ukrainian.

In accordance with the 1989 census figures, 79 percent of leaders in the fields of business and industry, agriculture, transport and communications, and construction are Ukrainian.

Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, December 30, 1990, No. 52, Vol. LVIII

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