On the Question of Fixing the National-Language Composition of the Population in the All-Russian Population Census 2020–2021

On the Question of Fixing the National-Language Composition of the Population in the All-Russian Population Census 2020–2021

Gabdrakhmanova G.F.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Head of the Department of Ethnology, Institute of History named after Sh. Mardjani, Kazan, Russia medi54375@mail.ru

Alòs i Font H.

External Collaborator, Center for Sociolinguistics and Communication Research, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain hectoralos@gmail.com

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Gabdrakhmanova G.F., Alòs i Font H. On the Question of Fixing the National-Language Composition of the Population in the All-Russian Population Census 2020–2021. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2024. No 1. P. 28-39


The article carries out a critical analysis of the quality of the results of the questions of the 2020–2021 Russian population census on nationality, native language, knowledge of Russian and other languages, and language use. The study reveals the uneven distribution of “non-answers” by regions, between urban and rural areas, and age groups. The interpretation of the published census results is hampered by the quality of answers, lack of distinction between non-answers and negative answers to questions, and questionable grouping of nationalities and languages. Therefore, it is not possible to use the results of Russian language proficiency and knowledge of other languages in several of Russia’s federal subjects. The situation is aggravated by a sharp increase in the number of non-responses to the questions on nationality and language in the 2020–2021 census compared to the previous censuses. This hinders the analysis of these questions of the 2020–2021 census and the understanding of the dynamics of national and language processes in Russia using census statistics. The article reveals foreign experiences of conducting censuses and statistical survey of the national and linguistic sphere. Many countries resort to various methods (including the use of surveys as a source of census), ways of assessing national, cultural affiliation, knowledge and proficiency of languages, ensuring the efficiency of fieldwork, and evaluating the quality of census data. They pay more attention to the methodological support of the national and language block of the census. The authors call for a balanced use of the results of the national and language issues of the 2020–2021 Russian population census in research work and in decision-making in the government national policy, since national and language relations in Russia are very sensitive for the country’s numerous ethnic communities.

2020–2021 Russian population census; nationality; language; data; critical analysis


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