Education and employment structure of the Yamal Nenets in the 20th early 21st century

Volzhanina E.A. (Tyumen, Russian Federation)



                  page 169180


This article analyses data collected by the 1959 All-Union Census and the 2002 and 2010 All-Russian Censuses on the education and employment levels of the Nenets having lived and living in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, the Northern part of Western Siberia. We use statistical analysis methods, such as statistical observation, the summary and grouping of materials, the calculation of absolute and relative values in order to characterize the level of respondents’ education, as well as differences between the age groups of men and women. The gender approach is also used to analyse the structure of employment. We draw attention to diffe-rences in education and employment levels among the Nenets residing in urban and rural areas. An analysis of the census data has allowed us not only to confirm and clarify some of the sociological survey conclusions, but also to obtain new results. Due to the efforts of the state, illiteracy among the Nenets was almost completely eliminated in 50 years. Such a coercive approach has led to a gap in the educational levels between urban and rural groups, thus resulting in a peculiar division of labour between them. It is shown that city dwellers can find jobs in the spheres of education, public health, public administration, etc.; however, the rural economic branches, such as reindeer husbandry, fishing and hunting, are still the only sources of work for rural dwellers. According to the mass statistics data on urban Nenets, there is no significant difference between the educational levels of pa-rents and children. It is highly alarming that middle-aged people and older generations among the Nenets seem to be more educated than the youth. Another worrying trend is the growing gender gap in the education between men and women. It might be predicted that such trends would result in an increase in the number of interethnic marriages, migration of Nenets women to urban areas and a subsequent decrease in the number of female Nenets in the tundra areas. In general, our results indicate a significant change in educational levels among the Nenets, which occurred in the second half of the 20th century. This population is shown to possess a substantial educational potential, which could potentially be realized in various economic sectors. Nonetheless, the data on the distribution of the main sources of subsistence for the Nenets shows that this potential remains largely unfulfilled. The Nenets cannot compete successfully with Russians in the labour market. A possible solution to this problem is reliance on the resources of their traditional households, where the Nenets have no competitors.


Key words: the Nenets, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, All-Russia censuses, All-USSR censuses, educational level, population distribution by sex, age and educational level, economic activity, population employment, sources of livelihood.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2018-42-3-169-180




E.A. Volzhanina

Tyumen Scientific Center of Siberian Branch RAS, Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation