Siberia is a vast region that accounts for around 75% of the surface area of Russia but the population of Siberia is, by contrast, incredibly sparse. The vastness of Siberia is somehow at odds with the emptiness of the land yet in its way, it makes the area somewhat mystical and fascinating to explore.
Latest population data
In simple numerical terms, there are around 38 million people living in Siberia and while the area itself makes for around three quarters of Russia as a whole, the population figures in the region only account for around 28% of the overall population of Russia.
As far as the surface area is concerned, Siberia contains 9,653,000 square kilometres (5,998,096 square miles) of land but only four people live, on average, in each of those square kilometres.
Largest cities in Siberia
Novosibirsk is the largest city in Siberia. It has a population of around 1.5 million people. Other major cities with a population of more than 1 million people are Yekaterinburg (1.3 million), Omsk (population 1.1 million), Chelyabinks (population 1.07 million).
Here’s a table listing the most populous cities of Siberia:
Siberia Ethnicity Demographics
Within Siberia itself the population contains a very diverse mix of nationalities and there are indigenous people living alongside many others that have travelled and set up home here – some of their own free will, others not.
By far the highest numbers are native Russian but alongside them there are Buryats, Tatars and Yakuts here as well as a large number of Russified Germans. Overall, there is a huge mix of cultures in the region.
Siberia isn’t a completely barren wasteland and there are many major cities here so the Siberia population is employed in every kind of industry that you can think of from manufacturing through to the financial sector.
The area as a whole is rich in mineral deposits so much of the population are employed in the mining industry. Diamonds, timber and gold are among the many natural resources that can be found all over Siberia and many of the people here make their livings within these industries.
Harsh and inhospitable land
While some parts of Siberia are highly developed, it is fair to say that much of the region is inhospitable to say the least and that’s why you get an overall figure of four people to every square kilometre of land.
These factors made Siberia an ideal location for the Gulags, prison camps where the inmates were forced to work in appalling conditions. In the unlikely event of escape, the area is so sparse that the likelihood was that you would die in the extreme temperatures before reaching civilisation.
Even in the densely populated regions, the population of Siberia has to withstand some excessively harsh temperatures so it’s probably no surprise to learn that the coldest city on earth can be found here.
Yakutsk is built entirely on permafrost and at the height of winter, average temperatures reach an unbelievable minus 40 degrees centigrade, proving that Siberian’s are a hardy population.
Across the region, the Siberia population shares its land with a fascinating array of flora and fauna and since the fall of the Soviet Union, there has been something of an increase in tourist activity here.
It’s a vast area with a small and friendly group of people and the best way to find out about them is to pay them a visit.