By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Armenia’s population dropped to record 2,965 million in 2019 as the number of people leaving this country is increasing every year. The country has been losing its population since the beginning of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan and its occupation of Azerbaijan’s territories in the early 1990s, which was followed by its economic degradation.
According to the latest demographic data published by the Armenian Statistical Committee, the Armenian population began to decline since 1992 but hit the lowest rate in 2019.
"If in 1992, 3,633 million people were registered in Armenia, in 2019 this figure decreased by 668,000 inhabitants," the Committee noted in its report.
Earlier, Yerevan developed a large-scale repatriation program to remedy the problem.
Sisak Gabielian, a member of "My step" Faction and "Standing Committee on State and Legal Affairs," shared a post on Facebook on January 8 about a new project designed to increase the number of returnees.
"Zero taxes on personal belongings and cars. As they say, we get together with our family, pick up things and return to our beloved homeland..." wrote the parliamentarian.
According to the project, all sorts of benefits are provided for those wishing to return or move to a place of residence in Armenia. In Yerevan, it is expected that as a result of the implementation of the program, an impressive quantity of Armenians will return to the homeland.
Meanwhile, according to the data from the website of the U.S. State Department, in 2018, 110,725 citizens applied for participation in the U.S gaming visa or Green Card lotteries, which is 14,336 more than in 2017 and 38,871 more than similar applications in 2016. That is, in two years the number of people wishing to flee from Armenia has grown by almost by three times.
According to the Armenian Statistical Committee report, only in 2018, 18,500 people emigrated from Armenia. As of October 2019, the population of Armenia decreased by another 11,700 people.
Local demographers are already talking about a real demographic crisis in a country. According to unofficial data, the number of Armenian residents barely reaches 2 million, and the population decline over the years of independence exceeded one million people.
Repatriation program of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is designed to fill the gaps formed by the Armenians of the Diaspora, but experts doubt its feasibility, even despite numerous benefits. Moreover, Armenian citizens with almost 50 percent poverty are unlikely to understand their authorities, which provide benefits to returnees with acceptable social situation, that the local people could not even dream of.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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