In the most recent official statistics, the All-Union population census of 1989, the Chuvans were officially counted as an individual ethnic group after having been assigned to the Chukchi for six decades. According to the census, 1511 Chuvans lived throughout the Soviet Union, of which 1384 lived in Russia and 944 in the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug. Almost half of all Chuvans (46.8%) lived in rural areas.

Historical records mention 520 people in the early 1700s, and 600 around 1750. Early censuses indicate 452 individuals in 1897 (of which 40% were nomads) and 707 in 1926-1927 (of which 45% were nomads). From the 1930s to 1980, the Chuvan had no official indigenous status because of their mixed ethnicity. The large population increase during the 20th century is partly due to a natural increase, but partly also due to the modern trend that people of mixed blood prefer to assign themselves to some native origin in order to gain benefits such as the subsistence quota.

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