By Anush Dashtents
The Armenian government’s main statistical agency released on Tuesday fresh, slightly revised results of last year’s nationwide census that again put the number of people living in Armenia at just over 3 million.
The National Statistics Service also declared that the country’s “permanent population,” which includes “temporarily absent” citizens, currently stands at more than 3.2 million. That figure comprises some 209,000 people who the authorities say left Armenia less than a year before the holding of the census on October 10-19, 2001.
“For the first time, we have registered a substantial difference between the size of the existing and permanent populations,” the head of the agency, Stepan Mnatsakanian, told a news conference.
The first preliminary findings of the census were released on February. They were also the first official estimate of the scale of post-Soviet emigration. The government survey concluded that some 950,000 Armenians have out-migrated from the country since the Soviet collapse in the face of worsening living conditions. Officials said only half of them could be covered by the census.
Some unofficial estimates put the number of people who have left the country since independence at more than one million, and opposition politicians have said that the official population figure is inflated.
Mnatsakanian said that the information collected by some 15,000 census officials has since been computerized and is now being process. He said the final results will be made public next year. He claimed that the data is being processed slowly because of a lack of government funding and necessary equipment.