In 2003, there were approximately 65,000 registered residents in Chukotka; however, the population has fluctuated dramatically since World War II. At the time of the 1989 Soviet census, the civilian population reached a peak of 164,700, not including large numbers of military personnel. Since then, Chukotka has experienced the highest rate of outmigration of any subject in the Russian Federation. In 2003, the population density was roughly 0.085 per square kilometer and falling. Official population statistics typically overstate the actual population, as many registered residents in fact reside outside Chukotka: the difference may be as high as 15% . However, increasing numbers of nonregistered shift laborers and specialists now live in the okrug temporarily. The indigenous population presently comprises 22% of the population, a growing proportion as mainly nonindigenous residents migrate out (Goskomstat, 2002).

Over 70% of the population live in urban areas, including the okrug capital, Anadyr (population about 7000 in 2002), at the mouth of the Anadyr River on the Bering Sea, and a series of Soviet-built industrial settlements: Pevek, Bilibino, Egvekinot, Ugolnye Kopi,

Location and main cities and rivers in the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug.

and Provideniya. Most town-dwellers are nonindige-nous settlers and their descendants, mostly Russians, Ukrainians, and Byelorussians, but also migrants from the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Baltics. While natives are migrating to urban centers, the rural population remains mostly indigenous. The Chukchi are the largest indigenous group, living in inland reindeer-herding and coastal sea-mammal hunting communities. There is also a significant population of Yupik (Eskimosy) in settlements along the Bering Strait, as well as Even, Koryak, and Chuvan, the M├ętis descendants of early Cossack settlers.

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