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Динамика населения центров и вторых городов регионов в России: проявляются ли тенденции к полицентризму?

The article analyses the dynamics of the population of 75 regional centers and second by population size cities
of the regions in Russia. The analysis is based on the population census data from 1959 to 2010 and on the
current recording data for 2011–2017. In the vast majority of regions, there is a significant dominance of the
regional center over the second city. It manifests itself both in the absolute parameters of the population size
and in the shares of regional centers and second cities in the population sizes of their regions. In 31 regions of
the country, the share of the regional center by 2002 already reached 35% and continued to increase. Fifteen
years later, in 13 regions of the country, it exceeded 45%. The maximum bar of possible concentration of the
population in the regional center is not yet visible. Over time, the prevailing of regional centers over the second
cities of the regions is increasing. The analysis showed that the opportunities for population increase in
the second cities depend on their population size: gradually, between the second cities with a population of
more than 250 000 people, the number of growing cities is increasing; between second small cities, the share
between depopulating and growing cities is practically unchanged. Thus, the tendencies of centrism in the regions
take precedence over polycentricity. The population is increasingly concentrated in separate points,
vested with power. These processes are based on historical and evolutionary (history of settlement, development
and urbanization), functional-economic, administrative-territorial and demographic determinants. An
increasingly important factor contributing to the concentration of the population is institutional factor (associated
with the performance by the regional centers of the capital functions and reducing the costs of business
and consumers).