Development of Koitajoki-Tolvojarvi
National Park
This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union.
The contents of this publication is the sole responsibility of the authors and
can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

Russian version Socio-demographic characteristics
About project
Project profile
Project objectives
Project activities

Economy. Population
Small-scale business


Lakes and Watercourses

Protected areas

Forest Resources
Berries and herbs
Hunting animals

Manual for Ecological Education
Survey of the Suojarvi District enterprises

About Website

European Union

The project is funded by
the European Union

City of Joensuu

A project implemented by
the City of Joensuu

Fig.1. Suojärvi District population
(1000 persons)
The Suojärvi District is a relatively large, but sparsely populated border district, quite remote from the centre of Republic of Karelia. Its area is 13,700 sq. km, and the population density is 1.7 persons per sq. km. Administratively, the territory is currently subdivided into the district centre - Town of Suojärvi, and eight rural administrations - Naistenjärvi, Porosozero, Vegarus, Veshkelitsy, Leppäniemi, Leppäsyrja, Loimola and Piitsjoki. The district now has a total of 26 settlements. The population as of 1.01.2004 was 23,600 persons (fig. 1), including 11,600 urban and 12,000 rural residents (fig. 2).

Fig.2. Suojärvi District urban and rural population
(1000 persons)

urban      rural
The urban/rural population ratio in the Suojärvi District changed mainly due to administrative reorganizations which transferred some urban-type communities into the rural category. On the other hand, most population loss since 2002 has been the result of a decrease in rural population, whereas urban population has even grown slightly.

Fig.3. Births and deaths among the Suojärvi District
(1000 persons)

births      deaths
The latest tendencies in the demographic situation in the district have been the following. The main one is a population reduction, mostly due to the natural population loss. There are fewer births than deaths, and the gap grows every year (fig. 3). In 2003, the death rate was 2.2 times greater than the birth rate, versus 1.8 - in 2002 and 1.7 - in 2001. This tendency has lead to "ageing" of settlements. Forest villages have become pensioner villages. The principal factors behind this are remoteness from the centre, lack of relevant social infrastructure, specific nature of the timber harvesting industry where jobs suitable for women are few.

A substantial proportion in the district population is older age classes. In 2003, 5369 district residents were of retirement age, the figure being slightly lower than 5 year ago (in 1998 there were 5811). Yet, given the decreasing numbers of younger residents (the number of children in 2003 decreased to 4725 from 5560 in 1998), the situation appears rather pessimistic. The population generally grows older. Yet, the working-age population has so far retained its position. Over the past three years, this age class has rested at a number of about 14,000 persons. The overall characteristics of the population structure in the Suojärvi District are as follows: working-age population contributes 58%, retirement-age population - 22%, the lowest proportion contributed by people below the working age - 20%.

Fig.4. Migration in the Suojärvi District (persons)

2002 in-migration
2002 out-migration
2002 migration growth (loss)
2003 in-migration
2003 out-migration
2003 migration growth (loss)

One of the factors shaping the population structure is migration. Migration processes in the district have now more or less stabilized. There are no drastic differences between migration growth and loss. The tendencies in the Suojärvi District are typical of many peripheral districts of Karelia. There is a balance between in-migration and out-migration, with the year 2003 showing a migration growth in the district centre and a migration loss in rural areas (fig. 4).

Fig.5. Unemployment and
demand for manpower in the
Suojärvi District

No of unemployed, registered at the
   Placement Agency
those with the official status of unemployed
Applications for manpower submitted by
   enterprises to the Placement Agency
No of unemployed per vacancy

As the labour market in the Suojärvi District is developing in a situation of instability and growing competition, employment tends to decrease. Compared with other parts of the republic, the district is not among the most problematic ones. Unemployment has however grown over the past several years. Where in the difficult 1996 unemployment was 1004 persons, the number in 2003 grew to 1563, of whom 1493 persons were officially registered as unemployed. The demand for manpower declared by enterprises being just 193 persons, the district has 8 unemployed residents per vacancy (fig. 5).

Employment distribution among sectors of the economy in the Suojärvi District is traditional. The main sectors are industry (49%), transport (13%), education (12%), health care (9%), municipal facilities (9%), trade (8%). This structure is mirrored in the distribution of employment among large- and medium-size enterprises of the district (fig. 6).

Fig.6. Mean listed number of employees at large- and medium-size enterprises of the Suojärvi District in December 2003 (persons)

1. manufacturing, forestry and extraction industries; 2. transport; 3. construction; 4. trade and public catering; 5. municipal facilities; 6. health care, sports and social services; 7. education; 8. art and culture; 9. government

The situation with mean salaries of employed population is relatively good in the district. It is among the top ten districts in the republic as regards this parameter. Salaries are the highest in the spheres of administration and transport (fig. 7). The levels there are comparable. Salaries in the industry are twice lower, although the leading sector providing the greatest number of jobs in the district is timber harvesting. Salaries in construction are nearly the same as in industry. Enterprises of the social sphere traditionally lag behind in salary levels.

Fig.7. Mean monthly salaries per employee at large- and medium-size enterprises of the Suojärvi District in December 2003 (RUR)

1. manufacturing, forestry and extraction industries; 2. transport; 3. construction; 4. trade and public catering; 5. municipal facilities; 6. health care, sports and social services; 7. education; 8. art and culture; 9. government

Experts: T.V. Morozova, G.B. Kozyreva

Project profile 

Last modified on July 7, 2005