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20 000 Georgians emigrated in 2007

By M. Alkhazashvili
Translated by Davit Kipiani
Tuesday, July 8
Over 20 000 Georgians left the country last year, nearly double the number in 2006.

The total official population at the end of 2007 was 4 382 000, a decrease of 0.3 percent on the 2006 figure. The total labor force decreased by 2.7 percent over this same period, according to the newspaper Rezonansi.

Officially, the unemployment rate was 13.3 percent in 2007, up 0.3 percent from 2006.

There is concern amongst some that Georgia is facing demographic crisis. National spiritual leader Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II has pledged to baptize every third newborn child in an effort to increase fecundity. Rezonansi quotes data that forecasts the population almost halving by 2050.