Almost 1/3 of Russian children are born out of wedlock

Almost one-third of all children in Russia - 28,3% - are born out of wedlock, Russian Nationalities Minister Vladimir Zorin told journalists on Thursday, citing results of the recent population census in Russia.

He said the 2002 census was the country's first real chance to get to know about the actual marital status of its citizens, since it was not necessary to produce marriage certificates.

Birth rate data, too, did not have to be confirmed by documents. "This was meant to help reveal the actual state of domestic affairs," explained the minister.

By September 30, 2003, census organizers will have summed up the results of the census as to the size of the country's population, the age and gender ratio, national composition, marital status, etc.

Final results of the census will be drawn up by December 30 and will include rates dealing with economic activity, births, migration, housing conditions, and education.

Zorin reminded journalists that so far only preliminary results of the census had been published. For instance, it was said that the size of Russia's permanent population reached 145.2 million people.

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