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    Russia to hold nationwide census in 2010

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    Russia has allocated around 17 billion rubles ($470 mln) for a census to be carried out in 2010, an official with the state statistics service said on Thursday.

    MOSCOW, February 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has allocated around 17 billion rubles ($470 mln) for a census to be carried out in 2010, an official with the state statistics service said on Thursday.

    The census will be conducted in the vast majority of Russian regions on October 14-25, said Irina Zbarskaya, who heads the department of population and health statistics.

    The survey will involve 700,000 staff, including 450,000 census takers. Information will be gathered on respondents' ages and nationalities, as well as on their academic qualifications and sources of income.

    Most of the census takers will be students. They will receive around 5,000 rubles ($140) for the work, Zbarskaya said.

    She also said that while the funding for the census could be cut by up to 30% due to the financial crisis, there was no possibility of it being scrapped entirely.

    Russia held a trial census in October of last year in a number of districts in St. Petersburg, the Far East city of Khabarovsk and the Moscow Region. However, officials say that the majority of people were unwilling to answer questions about themselves.

    "A generation has grown up that feels no obligation to the state. They don't want to disclose anything about themselves, and have a negative attitude to censuses," Zbarskaya commented.

    Russia last held a nationwide census in 2002, and the population of the largest country on Earth was put at around 145 million. The census was originally planned to take place in 1999, but was rescheduled several times.

    Russia's population has been in steady decline since the market reforms and economic hardships of the 1990s, leading many experts to fear a potential demographic crisis. The current population of Russia is around 141.9 million.

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