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    Despite Russia's natural population decline, immigrants ensure the country's overall growth, the health and social development minister said on Thursday.

    Despite Russia's natural population decline, immigrants ensure the country's overall growth, the health and social development minister said on Thursday.

    Tatyana Golikova said as of November 1, Russia's population was 141.9 million and that by January 1, 2010, it would be 15,000 to 25,000 more than for the same period in 2009.

    She said although natural decline continued, the birth rate was 3-3.5% higher than a year ago and that 1.76-1.78 million babies were expected to be born this year.

    Mortality was also down 3.-3.5% on last year, but still rather high - a total of 1,985,000.

    According to the Russian Federal Migration Service, 333,474 foreign nationals and stateless individuals received Russian citizenship in January through November 2009.

    MOSCOW, December 30 (RIA Novosti)

     

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