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Demographic trends in Eastern Europe and Central Asia vary from some countries experiencing higher fertility rates and growing youth populations to those countries with fertility rates below replacement, population decline, and ageing. The effects of labor migration and high male mortality in some countries further complicate the situation. These trends have critical implications for development. Population dynamics are strongly inter-linked with development issues such as sexual and reproductive health (including maternal health, family planning and HIV), the needs of young people, gender equality and poverty reduction. Understanding of these inter-linkages is insufficient in the region and sometimes distorted, thus weakening the national response to development challenges.

The demographic and development policies governments put in place in response to the population challenges are not always based on evidence. National policies on youth are not well positioned in relation to population and development dynamics and lack robust linkages with sectors affecting youth, such as economic development, employment, education and health. The availability and quality of disaggregated data is a concern for the region. Lack of data and relatively weak national capacity to analyze and utilize statistical data undermines the integration of population and development issues into national policies. While it is critical to make census data available, it is equally important to ensure data is used for effective policy making.

UNFPA’s work in the region aims to further strengthen the capacity for quality data collection, analysis and utilization in policy making and programming around population issues, gender equality and reproductive health, including data in humanitarian settings. A special focus is given to analysis of data on vulnerable populations such as ethnic and sexual minorities, people living with HIV, international and internal migrants, aging, and others. To strengthen the capacity for analysis of population dynamics and inter-linkages and to support policy analysis, UNFPA collaborates with academia and regional institutions active in the population and development field.

Learn more about our work on population dynamics: