A relative uniformity of population distribution on the territory of the country is of importance from socio-economic and strategic perspectives. It is especially important in the case of Russia with its densely populated West and underpopulated East. This paper considers changes in population density in Russian regions, which occurred between 1897 and 2017. It explores whether there was convergence in population density and what factors influenced it. For this purpose, it uses the data both at county and regional levels, which are brought to common borders for comparability purposes. Further, the models of unconditional and conditional β-convergence are estimated, taking into account the spatial dependence. The paper concludes that the population density equalization took place in 1897-2017 at the county level and in 1926—1970 at the regional level. In addition, the population density increase is shown to be influenced not only by spatial effects, but also by political and geographical factors such as climate, number of GULAG camps, and the distance from the capital city.
Keywords: population density, β-convergence, Russia, regions, municipal districts;плотность населения, β-конвергенция, регионыРоссии, уезды, муниципальные округа