Russia ranks seventh in the largest countries in terms of population. According to an official estimate of Federal State Statistic service for 1 January 2015, permanently 146.3 million citizens reside in Russia.
It is not surprising that most of the population (78%) are the Russians. According to the census 2010 ten largest ethnicities are follows: the Tatars (3.7%), the Ukrainians (1.4%), the Bashkirs (1.1%), the Chuvashs (1%), the Chechens (1%), the Armenians (0.8%), the Avars (0.6%), the Mordvins (0.5%), the Kazakhs (0.4%), the Azerbaijanis (4%). The Tatars, the most numerous nation after the Russians, live mostly in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan. They represent the largest group in Russia professing Islam.
Russia is an ethnically diverse country. There are more than 180 different ethnic groups in Russia. The small nationalities inhabit certain areas of the country and generally speak their own languages.
Ethnographers unite indigenous peoples of Russia in several regional groups that are close not only geographically, but also culturally and historically:
- Peoples of the Volga and the Urals – the Bashkirs, the Kalmyks, the Komi, the Mari, the Mordvins, the Tatars, the Chuvashs and the Udmurts.
- Peoples of the North Caucasus: the Abazas, the Adyghe, the Balkars, the Ingush, the Kabardins, the Karachays, the Ossetians, the Circassians, the Chechens, people of Dagestan (the Avars, the Aghuls, the Dargins, the Kumyks, the Laks, the Lezgians, the Nogais, the Rutuls, the Tabasarans and the Tsakhurs).
- Peoples of Siberia – the Altay, the Buryats, the Tuvans, the Khakas, the Shors, the Yakuts and nearly three dozen of small-numbered indigenous peoples of the North (0.6% of the total population).
Each nation speaks its own language. In total there are 27 languages considered official in different regions of Russia, along with Russian and 180 more other languages that don’t have official recognition. Some of them are close to extinction.
Most believers in Russia profess Ortchodox Christianity (41%). Interestingly, the majority of people indicated themselves as Orthodox believers don’t attend church regularly.
Islam is the second largest religion in Russia (6.5%). It is the prevailing religion amongst some Caucasian ethnicities (the Chechens, the Ingush and the Adyghe), and amongst some Turkic peoples (the Tatars and the Bashkirs).
Other common religions of Russia are Buddhism (0.5%), Judaism and Protestantism (0.2%).
Three-quarters of the total russian population live in cities, and, what is more, over 10% live in the two major cities, Moscow (8%) and St.Petersburg (3,5%). 13 other big cities have a population of more than a million people.
Russia is considered one of the most multinational state in the world. Despite this fact the Russian population density is low (8,4 people per sq km/22 per sq mi) partly due to the country’s vast size and its harsh climate. Most of the population is concentrated in European Russia, near the Ural Mountains and in southwest Siberia.