Dagestan census data

The demographic database of Dagestanian villages takes the form of a search engine which draws from several sources: rural registers of 1886 and 1895, and national censuses of 1926 and 2010.

  • VI. Cities and districts of Dagestan oblast // Corpus of statistical data of the population of the Transcaucasian territory, taken from the household registers of 1886. Tbilisi: Transcaucasian Statistical Committee, 1893.
  • Notebook of Dagestan oblast / compiled by E. I. Kozubsky. Temir-Khan-Shura: “Russian Printing House (Russkaya tipografiya)” V. M. Sorokina, 1895.
  • Materials from the All-Union National Census of 1926 for the Dagestan ASSR. 1st Edition. List of population centers of the Dagestan ASSR. Makhach-Kala: Publication of Dagstatupravleniye, 1927.
  • Census microdata. All-Russian National Census of 2010. Main Interregional Center of Rosstat.

The ethnic composition of every population center is given in the data sources used: for 1895, only the dominant nationality (occasionally data of other large groups is given in the commentary); for 1886, 1926, and 2010, exact numbers of every nationality in a given village are provided.

The first work is made up of the most important information from household registers gathered in 1886 by decree of the State Council mainly for army drafts and tax collection. This collection includes data of the general size of the population of each town, as well as divisions by nationality, religion, and class.

The second work (the 1895 notebook) contains population data of villages which was taken from official sources dating to 1894, and data on nationalities which was collected from literature and archives, as well as in part from the testimony of local experts (in the Avarsky, Andiysky, Gunibsky, Darginsky, Kazikumukhsky, and Temir-Khan-Shurinsky districts). In addition, many local versions of place names and information about affiliation with traditional communities and landholdings are given.

The third source is compiled on the basis of the results of the first all-union census of 1926. The official day of the census throughout the entire USSR was December 17. Due to weather conditions, however, the census in Tlyaratinsky and Echedinsky regions and in the village of Kurush (Samursky district) was held significantly earlier, and the census in the village of Kusur (Samursky district) was not conducted until the summer of 1927. This census is considered to be the most precise and impartial in comparison with both earlier censuses and with later Soviet censuses. In the 1926 census Andi-Tsez nationalities still had not been merged with the Avar, nor the Kaytagians and Kubachinians with the Darginians.

Finally, material from the 2010 census was taken from the database of microdata of the Main Interregional Center of Russia, which provides information on ethnic composition, native language, and first and second languages in every population center. A downside of these data is the artificial skewing of all numerical data within a small range (±5 people) for the purpose of preserving anonymity.

The registers of 1886 and 1895 and the 1926 census were digitized by students of the School of Linguistics and then reviewed, completed, and brought up to date by senior research associate Yu. B. Koryakov (Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences), before they were equipped with search capabilities and infographics by programmers D. Staferova and A. Belokon (with financial support from the Linguistic Convergence Laboratory).

Territory. It is important to understand that the area of Dagestan was considerably smaller at the end of the 19th century than it is today. In the beginning of the 1920s Kizlyarsky and Khasav-Yurtovsky districts and Achikulaksky region were added to it. Later, part of Achikulaksky region was returned to Stavropol Territory. Only those towns which were within Dagestan in 1886 and 1895 are in the database, including a few towns which today (as in 1926) are located in Chechnya (Chamalinsky town of Kenkhi and neighboring villages) and Azerbaijan (Lezgian towns on the southern slopes of the Caucasus).

The administrative system of Dagestan also changed. At the end of the 19th century (data from 1886 and 1895) Dagestan was divided into districts, districts into areas governed by naibs, and these areas into village communities. In 1926 Dagestan was divided into districts (whose borders and composition differed from their pre-revolutionary regime), and districts into rural and urban soviets. Finally, by 2010 Dagestan was divided into regions, and regions into rural and urban centers.

Particulars of data processing. During the review process towns from all four sources were tied together by a single index. The basis for matching towns from different years was geographic location. Thus, if a town moved partly or completely to a new place (at a distance of more than 2-3 kilometers), we considered them to be two different towns, even if their names were the same. A few villages match with two villages in past censuses and vice versa. More often than not this occurs with “Upper” / “Lower” village pairs, but occasionally two closely located villages merge into one. Sometimes for two old villages one contemporary town is indicated and vice versa (especially when they are located very near to one another geographically), but more frequently the modern merged town is matched with just one of the old villages, and merely the coordinates are given for the second.

Many villages no longer exist and their names may be indicated on maps along with “des.” (deserted), with a symbol with the label “ruins,” or simply by the word “landmark [name]” without an indication of the exact location in those cases when the settlement did not leave even a trace behind with the exception of the topographical place name. Along with other sources, old topographical military maps of the Worker-Peasant Red Army were used. Nonetheless, it was impossible to match many places (about 350) with a point on the map and establish coordinates for them. In general this was true for small farmsteads, hamlets, corrals, railroad booths, barracks, and other temporary or small structures and locations, which made up 316 of the roughly 350 unidentified places.

Several orthographic errors in the names of villages were corrected.


Our work is supported within the framework of the Basic Research Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) and supported within the framework of a subsidy by the Russian Academic Excellence Project '5-100'

Team Members

  • Yu. B. Koryakov
  • D. A. Staferova
  • A. A. Belokon
  • N. R. Dobrushina
  • D. A. Bikina, A. A. Kozhukhar, and M. A. Kustova also participated at different times.

How to cite the database:

Koryakov Yu. B., Staferova D. A., Belokon A. A., Dobrushina N. R. 2019. Population of Dagestan from data of different census years. Linguistic Convergence Laboratory, HSE University. (https://multidagestan.com/census)
Koryakov Yu. B., Staferova D. A., Belokon A. A., Dobrushina N. R. 2019. Naseleniye Dagestana po dannym perepisey raznykh let. Mezhdunarodnaya laboratoriya yazykovoy konvergentsii, NIU VShE. (https://multidagestan.com/census)