Soviet Union 1939 Census


Soviet Union 1939 Census


The identified source that presents a statistic regarding as aspect of Soviet life in the 1930s is the article written by Barbara Anderson and Brian Silver. The authors point out that according to the report on the Soviet Union census of 1939, the country had 170.6 million people (Anderson & Silver, 1988). The census report also indicated that 33% or 56.1 million of all Soviet citizens lived in urban areas. Russians made up the biggest ethnic group at 99.5 million people followed by Ukrainians who were 30.1 million people, Belarusians at 5.2 million, Uzbeks at 4.8 million people, and lastly Kazakhs at 3.1 million (Anderson & Silver, 1988).

This statistic should not be considered as true since the 1939 Soviet Union census figures were fake. The census was organized is such a manner as to have certainly inflated data on the numbers of the population of the country. In essence, the figure of 170.6 million Soviets was manipulated and falsified in order to exactly match the population figure that Josef Stalin had mentioned in his report to the eighteenth Congress of the Communist Party. It is of note that the 1937 Soviet census revealed a population of just 162 million, but this figure, which was correct, was denied by the Soviet authorities and kept secret (Miller, Vandome & John, 2010). The statistical personnel and organizers of this 1937 census paid with their lives for adhering to professional standards. They were killed during the 1937 to 1939 Great Terror period and many others arrested (Miller, Vandome & John, 2010). A new census was then carried out that showed a much higher figure, meaning that they were falsified in order to meet the approval of the regime.




Anderson, B., & Silver, B. (1988). Tautologies in the study of excess mortality in the USSR in the 1930s. American Quarterly of Soviet and East European Studies, 45(2): 307~313

Miller, F., Vandome, A., & John, M. (2010). Soviet census (1937). Albany, NY: VDM Publishing.