Demographics of Cyberia
Before and during the formation of Cyberia, practically half the people present on the Antarctic continent adhered to a Soviet-Russian nationality, and the other half held onto an American nationality. These nationalities have since coalesced into a singular, shared national identity, which was further perpetuated by an increasingly nationalistic government that encourages applying one's self to the betterment of the country as a whole. In the present day, the government's encouragement of the nationalistic identity has done little to actually imprint its ideals onto the beliefs of the civilian public; however, the identity is quite strong within the Antarctic State Military. This has created a palpable divide between military society and civilian society.
In Cyberia, the ASC Department of Civilian Affairs is de jure responsible for collecting census data for the whole of the country once every ten years. The Census Bureau, a division within the Civilian Affairs Department, is the specific wing of the department that records and permanently stores such information, which includes data such as population, population growth, age groups, species groups, spoken languages, etc. The latest official census data reflects statistics accurate as of 1 March 2200.
Generations in Cyberia are calculated mathematically on an official level, in that any person born between two set years is considered to be in a certain generation. The most commonly used method of determining one's generation is the 25-year method, wherein each generation is 25 years long, and starts at "Gen 0", or "Generation Zero", which begins at the year 2000. After every 25 years, the named generation of people born increases by one, and are indicated by roman numerals. For example, people born in 2025 or in any year between 2025 and 2050 are said to be from Generation I, people born on 2050 up to but not including 2075 are Generation II, and so on. In the present day, Cyberian newborns are being placed into Generation VIII. Other methods of generational sectioning do exist, such as being born between popular trends, however these are not officially recorded, unlike the 25-year method.
Taking into account the entire area of the country, Cyberia has a population density of just 97.77 per square mile (37.75 per square kilometer). This statistic, however, does not appropriately illustrate the living conditions of the average citizen in the country. As a consequence of clustering buildings and residential spaces together in the nation's extremely frigid climate, the population density a person is normally subjected to can range between 1,000 and 13,500/mi2 (400 and 5,200/km2). Well over 95% of the civilian population in Cyberia live in eleven cities dotted along the coast and further inland. Very few civilians traverse the land outside city limits, let alone live in such places, due to the infamous inhospitable nature of the ice desert. A great majority of people don't even travel between cities by land, due to the dangers involved in potentially getting lost in temperatures dropping to several tens of negative degrees Celsius.
Nationality in Cyberia is officially considered separate from both ethnicity and citizenship. Nationality in the country is based on what country a person is documented to have been born in, and what country, or countries, a person has been legally transferred to. The AS Census Bureau keeps a permanent record of these labels and the order they progress in. For example, if a person was originally born in Bulgaria, then later was afforded citizenship in Cyberia, the person's documented nationality would specifically be listed as 'Bulgarian→Cyberian'. If that person was not afforded citizenship in Cyberia yet still legally lives in the country, then their documented nationality would simply still be 'Bulgarian'. This can occur when a foreigner stays in Cyberia for an extended period of time without permanent residence, such as a temporary worker, or a member of a foreign military engaging in joint training with the Antarctic State Military.
A person born in Cyberia or upon territory belonging to it, including military bases and warships, is legally, automatically granted Cyberian nationality, but is not necessarily permitted immediate citizenship at the same time. Obtaining Cyberian citizenship at birth technically requires a number of extra conditions to be met, namely a valid Cyberian citizenship held by at least one of the parents.
The AS Census Bureau does recognize a number of distinct ethnicities, in that it recognizes groups of people who share a certain culture, and/or kinship, identity, religion, etc. This census data is majorly self-reported, where census takers answer a multiple-choice question asking what ethnicity they best identify as. The prevailing answer to this question tends to be 'Slavic', with 'Cyberian' being nearly as common. Local sociologists often find that the reason for this split is due to the latter choice not appearing on the census list until fairly recently.
Originally, there were only two dominating ethnicities on the Antarctic continent in the mid- to late-1950's. These were the Soviet-Russian identity and US-American identity, both of which were mostly contributed to only by members of their respective armed forces. Over time, and as the country matured and progressed, the two identities melded together to create a singular Cyberian ethnicity which perpetuated a culture of hardiness against nature (e.g. surviving and prospering in the Antarctic desert), as well as varying degrees of militarism and nationalism, and preserving bilingualism between the Russian and English languages.
Species & Breeds
A grand majority of Cyberian locals are winterized species variants or otherwise species that are well-suited to frigid temperatures, such as siberian huskies, bengal tigers, and polar bears. Despite being built for cold environments, those whose fur coats are naturally dense and/or long generally still wear winter clothing like hoodies, jackets, and other thick fabrics. Though the local and urban environments are incredibly cold, many non-winterized species and breeds have made the country their home as well. A not-insignificant portion of the population are short-haired species and breeds, as well as a smaller portion of near-furless and totally furless peoples. These people are highly susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia without thick layers of clothing, or specialized insulation embedded in their wardrobe.
Alongside recognizing the specific species and breed of each individual denizen upon birth or entry, the AS Census Bureau also categorizes them into seven major species groups, officially dubbed 'species families', to list people under. Data collected by the Census Bureau indicates that the species categories are labeled as follows, ordered from most common to least common, and including examples:
- Ex. Komodo Dragon
The average height in modern Cyberia is 6 feet 2 inches (188 centimeters), which has gradually increased from 5 feet 10 inches (178 centimeters) in roughly two hundred years since the country's founding. Interior architecture and building code has slowly but surely adjusted to fit this average, but some especially old buildings have been known to be slightly uncomfortable to walk in when directly compared to more recent ones.
The Cyberian people enjoy a reliable average life expectancy of 97 years. This is calculated without regard to gender or sex, and does not include what are considered non-natural deaths. Some statisticians and scholars suggest the officially recorded life expectancy should more detailed data, including the likelihood of suicide at a given age, the life expectancy of those with mental illness, and other studies.
- Main article: Cyberian Society
A popular stereotype associates the Cyberian people with a culture of depression and dullness. According to quality of life studies and surveys, much of the Cyberian public indeed feels a general sense of apathy in day-to-day life. Relatively few citizens enjoy a high amount of life satisfaction, yet most do not possess the urge to seek progressive personal and professional gain. As a result of this societal apathy, the average citizen's social mobility often stagnates by the time they reach their mid- to late-twenties, through a combination of disinterest, complacency, and a lack of optimism and/or inspiration. Young adults are especially prone to perpetuating the Cyberian culture of apathy, as they are likely to feel as though achieving economic independence as a working class citizen is "good enough" of a stopping point in their lives, wherein higher level goals are not sought after. This short outlook on life has developed into a number of other negative behaviors in youths and adults alike, including a poor work ethic, indifference toward the needs of others, and marked selfishness. Many citizens have caught on to the existence of the apathy stereotype. Some will readily acknowledge it, others choose to ignore it, and some people make sure to live their lives more driven than the average Cyberian.
Throughout the country, the general public holds mixed feelings in regards to its military and the operations therein. The average civilian thinks of the military as an integral and necessary component of a government, but does not feel the urge to give themselves to the service, except tentatively in potential times of necessity and/or crisis. Depending on the job field, members of the Antarctic State Military can carry a similar form of civilian apathy and 'good enough' attitudes, especially at the lower enlisted ranks such as Junior Sergeant (E-4) and below, where there exists a high demand yet little supply of the urge to go above and beyond. Enlisted ranks such as Sergeant (E-5) and above, as well as warrant officer and commissioned officer ranks will often vocally and administratively frown upon such passive attitudes being present under their command. Indeed, in order to even be considered for promotion to these higher ranks, a drive to seek progressive professional growth and an ability to influence such behavior in subordinates is required and emphasized. In practice, this shows in the form of genuine competency and professionalism usually, but not always, proportionally increasing with respect to rank.
The State Military quite regularly considers itself to be a separate society from civilians. Official terms include 'military sector' to refer to the military and/or its servicemembers, and 'civilian sector' to refer to the general civilian public. Civilians and servicemembers alike think of joining the military as leaving, or in some circumstances, 'escaping' the civilian sector in favor of living in and working for the military sector for a time, potentially never to return. Whereas either society considers themselves to be normal, civilian society generally considers military society to be difficult, draconian, and a high-risk high-reward system; and military society generally considers civilian society to be soft, lenient, and ungrateful. These stereotypes form the basis for a noticable divide amid the two societies in the country, including physical and mental barriers being reinforced between civilian and servicemember.
Contrary to most, if not all other nations, there is more than one official language in Cyberia, Russian and English, both of which are taught to developing schoolchildren as a standard part of public schooling. As was the state's intention, this has resulted in a large majority of Cyberian locals being fluent in both languages. Furthermore, somewhat as an unintended side effect, a significant part of the population is also fluent in a third or fourth language on top of the official two, since many parents and other such heads of households often keep their ancestral languages alive by continuing to speak them at home, and passing them onto their children. Families and people who are less than fluent in at least two languages are considered to be in a statistical minority in the country. This includes people who only know Russian fluently, or are in a similar circumstance with English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, etc.
Before Cyberia's founding, religion was in some parts a societal norm, and in other parts completely banned. During the late 1950's through to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the most abundant religion in the Antarctic continent was Christianity in its various denominations. This religious majority was nearly completely dominated and encouraged by members of the United States Armed Forces at the time. In stark contrast, the Soviet Union and its own armed forces at the time were experiencing a resurgence and an intensification of anti-religious propaganda, anti-religious education, and anti-religious persecution. These movements altogether resulted in the harsh suppression of religious belief in the Soviet-Antarctic territories, in favor of "scientific atheism", otherwise known as Marxist–Leninist atheism, which asserted that religion is a psychological manipulator that robs a person of their free will, like an addictive drug, and that freedom from religion means freedom from spiritual control.
Modern Cyberian society bears marked similarity to its pre-21st century roots, insofar that part of society allows religious practice, and part of society disallows religious practice. Religious belief and practice within Cyberian civilian society is seen as a natural product of social togetherness and fear of the unknown. Therefore, adherence to any given religion or the absence of one is considered a common aspect of a person's personality and lifestyle. However, in the Antarctic State Military, religious activity is prohibited through an strict adherence to a section of the Constitution of the Antarctic State, which states that the government shall observe complete and total separation of church and state; a strong state secularist policy built to remove and prevent the influence of religious beliefs in government affairs.
With this, a servicemember or similar government actor is legally required to suspend their religious practices, and refrain from allowing it to guide the hand of government, for as long as they serve or represent the State. In reality, this is understood to mean that mere belief in a particular religion does not often result in persecution, though engaging in religious practice is generally a punishable offense if done in-uniform or otherwise while representing the government. Put briefly, religion in government is treated as a "don't ask, don't tell" issue, in the interest of avoiding criticism and discipline. All recruits are informed of this expectation before enlistment, and some are even educated about it and the reasons for its existence, as is the case in military academy.
Contemporary statistics on religion in Cyberia are wholly self-reported by census takers. After the fall of the Soviet Union, and throughout Cyberia's past, the state military's historical influence on the general public, plus its rather harsh stance on the practice of religion led to a steady decline in the percentage of believers in the population as a whole, due to a combination of direct lack of religious habit, and an indirect support of atheism or agnosticism. Those who do feel the need to seek spiritual guidance have most often turned to the Russian Orthodox Church, which owes its current popularity to the the last of its many resurgences near the founding of Cyberia. A significant portion of the population also adheres to Christian beliefs, yet rejects the teaching of the Russian Orthodox; instead sticking to one or more of a number of other denominations as their prime devotion, the most common of which is Catholicism.