According to the national population census of 1999, the population of Vitebsk region was 1377,2 thousand people, which is 81% of the pre-war population; the ratio of urban and rural population is 67% (923,1 thousand people) to 33% (454,1 thousand people).
Within the years 1959 -1999, urban population increased by 2,3 times, while rural population decreased 48% within the same period.
By the end of 80s, life expectancy had reached the level of 71,3 years, but then it started to decrease gradually, and in 2002 it was 67,5 years (men — 61,9 women — 73,6 years).
There are 6480 rural settlements in the Region, 366 of them are deserted. The settlements are mostly small, with about 10 dwellers in each. At the beginning of 2006, the number of such villages was 4718 (73% of the total amount) with 19% of the rural population. The majority of the rural population concentrates in 116 villages with more than 500 dwellers in each. The biggest of them are the Oktyabr’skaya and Novka villages near Vitebsk, Farinovo near Polotsk, Kroolevshchina near Dokshytsy, Borovka near Lepel’, and Babinitchy near Orsha. At the beginning of this year, average population of a village is estimated at 58 dwellers. The population is mainly concentrated in Orsha and Vitebsk districts with least density in Braslav, Miory, and Postavy districts.