Ukraine's population could shrink by five million people by 2030, experts from the Berlin Institute for Population and Development predicted in their study of the demographic situation in the countries of the former Soviet Union, UKRINFORM reported.

According to projections, Ukraine's population in 2030 will be 40.19 million people. According to the institute, 45.43 million people lived in Ukraine as of early 2010. According to the report, since 1991, the country has been shrinking by almost 300,000 per year as a result of its high mortality rate.

The population in eastern Ukraine is shrinking faster than in the country's western regions, according to the report. German experts believe that the reasons for this are the outflow of residents from the country's eastern regions to the center and the west, as well as better birth rate figures in the west than in the east. In addition, the question of ageing will be urgent for Ukraine in the coming years, as the number of elderly people is expected to increase every year.

German experts advised Ukraine to take steps to stop or reduce the flow of labor abroad and focus on increasing the country's attractiveness for migrants. To this end, the Ukrainian leadership must undertake crucial reforms that will bring the country to EU standards, according to the study.

According to the State Statistics Service, Ukraine's population was 45.745 million people as of March 1, 2011.

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