Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in his speech at a meeting on the development of single-industry towns in Ekibastuz noted: "There are 89 cities in Kazakhstan. Of these, 27, or 30%, are single–industry towns. 1 million 400 thousand people live here. This is 8% of our population. Today, single-industry towns make a significant contribution to the development of our economy. They produce about 40% of industrial products... We still do not have a clear position and a common opinion on the development of single-industry towns"
The study of demographic trends of single-industry towns plays a primary role in building a clear policy for their development.
The first group of single-industry towns includes the cities of Altai, Serebryansk, Ridder (East Kazakhstan region), Zhitikara, Lisakovsk, Rudny (Kostanay region), and Shakhtinsk (Karaganda region). In these single-industry towns, the population decreased in 2021 compared to 2011. The share of the population of retirement age exceeds 17%, that is, the population is relatively old. The mortality rate exceeds the birth rate, which indicates a natural decline in the population.
The second group includes two single-industry towns Arkalyk and Karazhal (Karaganda region). Despite the fact that in these cities the population showed a decrease in the surveyed ten-year period, other demographic indicators are favorable. The share of the elderly population is about 10%. The birth rate significantly exceeds the death rate, which indicates a natural increase in the population. The population decline in these single-industry towns is due to the migration outflow of the population.
The third group includes Stepnogorsk (Akmola region), Saran, Temirtau, Abai (Karaganda region), Aksu, Ekibastuz (Pavlodar region), Tekeli (Almaty region). During the observed period, there was an increase in the population in these single-industry towns, especially in the cities of Abai and Tekeli. But the demographic indicators in these cities are less favorable. The share of the elderly population exceeds 13%. In the cities of Stepnogorsk, Saran, Abai, mortality exceeds the birth rate, which indicates a natural decline in the population. In the surveyed period, the positive balance of migration contributed to population growth in these single-industry towns.
The fourth group includes Aksai (West Kazakhstan region), Balkhash, Zhezkazgan, Satpayev (Karaganda region), and Kurchatov (East Kazakhstan region). In these cities, the proportion of the elderly population varies from 10.8% to 13.4%. The birth rate significantly exceeds the death rate, which indicates a natural increase in the population.
The fifth group includes the cities of Khromtau (Aktobe region), Kulsary (Atyrau region), Zhanaozen (Mangystau region), Kentau (Turkestan region), Zhanatas, Karatau (Zhambyl region). In these single-industry towns, the population has grown by more than 10%, the share of the elderly population varies from 5.9% to 10.4%. The value of the fertility rate exceeds 23.1 per 1000 people, and the mortality rate is lower than 10.7 per 1000 people.
It should be noted that when classifying single-industry towns, the migration balance is not taken into account as an indicator, since it is negative in almost all single-industry towns in the last two years (except for the city of Kurchatov). Below is a separate classification of single-industry towns by the period when a negative migration balance was continuously observed (the number of departures exceeds the number of arrivals).
Negative migration balance
As noted above, in the last two years in all single-industry towns, the number of departures exceeds the number of arrivals. And this trend may continue in the coming years.
Based on this, single-industry towns with demographic potential can be called cities of the second, fourth, and fifth groups. These are single-industry towns where the age structure of the population is relatively young, the birth rate exceeds the death rate, thus, there is a natural increase in the population.
Single—industry towns with an unfavorable demographic situation are cities of the first and third groups in which the age structure of the population is relatively old. Mortality exceeds the birth rate, so there is a natural decline in the population.
— With the limited potential of a city-forming enterprise in single-industry towns, it is necessary to diversify the economy (city features, human capital, entrepreneurship).
— Development of entrepreneurship among the urban population. Accordingly, a separate effective package to encourage entrepreneurship is needed. For example, preferential lending to entrepreneurship, free advisory support for start-up entrepreneurs in their fulfillment of tax and other obligations in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan, simplification measures for their participation in local public procurement, and others.
— It is necessary to study the migration mood and social well-being of the population in single-industry towns. This will allow us to study the social problems of the population, the social attractiveness of single-industry towns. For this purpose, the Center of JSC "Institute of Economic Research" (ERI) will conduct a sociological survey of the population of single-industry towns of Kostanay region. The results of the survey will expand the recommendations for improving the demographic situation of single-industry towns.
— The introduction of a separate package of social measures that encourage the birth rate and the influx of young people from other localities. For example, preferential mortgage lending, the provision of work in the specialty, the wage supplement coefficient, maternity capital for young families and others.