Infographic “RG” / Rafael Zaripov
This situation is typical of the entire macro-region. In the last three decades, migration has ceased to be a source of demographic growth potential. For example, in the general decline in the population of the Khabarovsk Territory since 1991, the negative balance of migration accounted for about 63 percent of demographic losses. And the main such losses, of course, occurred in the 1990s, when the net decline in the population amounted to more than 120 thousand people, exceeding the natural one by about three times. Subsequently, the relationship was somewhat corrected, but so far this does not give grounds to say that the situation is stabilizing.
Yes, there were separate periods in which the region showed a positive migration balance. But it is more likely that this is due to the action of some external factors; in this case, it is not about the formation of a long-term positive trend.
In practice, such results, which are consistently negative regardless of the region’s level of socioeconomic development, create difficulties in choosing an appropriate model tool to assess migration mobility and forecast migration flows.
Today, the economy of the Khabarovsk Territory is showing growth, and theoretical concepts suggest that the main factor in migration is precisely the economic component. Therefore, it is fair to believe that we will observe positive phenomena in terms of migratory processes.
Our institute has tested an econometric model that is used in international practice and is used to model and predict migration flows based on macroeconomic indicators. Among the latter – the level of wages and the situation on the labor market, measured by the ratio of the number of vacancies to the number of unemployed.
In the original model, potential migrants were assumed to respond positively and regard higher wages, good job prospects, and the opportunity to find a place to apply as stimulants for moving. We tested this model for the economy of the Khabarovsk Territory, based on official statistics. As a result of the calculations of significant elasticity coefficients, when a change in one parameter causes an unambiguous response from another, it was not obtained.
The chosen model simply demonstrated once more that when studying migration processes in relation to the economic development of a territory, it is necessary to take into account a very wide range of different conditions. The conclusion to be drawn from this is that the presence of a high probability of employment does not by itself lead to net migration with a positive sign.
We have to admit that expectations regarding the cessation of migratory outflow from the territory of the Far Eastern Federal District are seriously overestimated.
The motives that shape migratory behavior, migratory mobility, cannot be limited only to economic indicators, they include a large number of other factors, including subjective ones. And they are often very difficult to quantify. In addition, the Far Eastern territory, the Khabarovsk Territory in particular, has huge spatial features; they must also be taken into account when building a model.
In the meantime, we must admit that the expectations about the cessation of the migratory flow from the territory of the Far Eastern Federal District are seriously overestimated. It will not be possible to reverse this trend overnight, since for many years the macro-region has consistently shown a negative migratory balance.
A reasonable question arises: “What can we do?”. Answer: “Scaling down the output of the population, using the new tools offered today.” It is important to create conditions to change the migration motives of the population living here and to encourage the most active and qualified part of potential migrants to move to the Far East.
Now, in fact, we have grown a generation of active youth who were born, studied and lived in those conditions when it was customary to leave the Far East. It was believed that it was impossible to realize oneself here. It is very important to change this image of the world so that the boys who graduate from schools, colleges, universities see and understand that today there is a real opportunity to apply their efforts in the economy, to obtain a decent standard of living.
Yes, it’s not easy to do. In fact, the problem is multifaceted and complex, which is confirmed by numerous debates and economic evaluations. It is necessary to comprehensively assess the current state of affairs from different perspectives and jointly develop mechanisms that will help, if not to completely solve the problem, then at least to identify directions for improving the situation.