بهطور رسمی این ناحیه همهٔ یاقوتستان، استان ماگادان، استان کامچاتکا و استان مورمانسک را پوشش میدهد همچنین بخشهایی از شهرهای آرخانگلسک، کومی، استان تیومن، سرزمین کراسنویارسک، استان ایرکوتسک، استان ساخالین، سرزمین خاباروفسک و همهٔ جزیرههای اقیانوس منجمد شمالی و دریاهایش: دریای برینگ و دریای اختسک در پوشش این منطقه است. دیگر جاهای روسیه که اقلیم خشن دارند را هم از نظر شرایط کار برابر با «شرایط ناحیهٔ شمالگان» در نظر میگیرند.
The Extreme North or Far North (Russian: Крайний Север, Дальний Север) is a large part of Russia located mainly north of the Arctic Circle and boasting enormous mineral and natural resources. Its total area is about 5,500,000 square kilometres (2,100,000 sq mi), comprising about one-third of Russia's total area. Formally, the regions of the Extreme North comprise the whole of Yakutia, Magadan Oblast, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Kamchatka Krai and Murmansk Oblast, as well as certain parts and cities of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Komi Republic, Tyumen Oblast, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Irkutsk Oblast, Sakhalin Oblast, Khabarovsk Krai, as well as all islands of the Arctic Ocean, its seas, the Bering Sea, and the Sea of Okhotsk.
Due to the harsh conditions of the area, people who work there have traditionally been entitled by the Russian government to higher wages than workers of other regions. As a result of the climate and environment, the indigenous peoples of the area have developed certain genetic differences that allow them to better cope with the region's environment, as do their cultures.
Yakutsk (311,760), Murmansk (pop. 295,374), Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (181,216), Norilsk (179,554), Noyabrsk (110,620), Novy Urengoi (104,107), and Magadan (92,782) are the largest cities within the Russian Far North proper. The larger and more southern Arkhangelsk (349,742) is the largest among cities and territories "equated" to the Far North.
The Far North is known for its extremely harsh climate. People who work there, other than indigenous populations involved in traditional occupations and inmates of labour camps (e.g., the gulags of the Soviet Union), receive an extra grade of payment, referred to as the "Northern Bonus" (severnye nadbavki Russian: северные надбавки). Additional benefits include extra vacation, extra disability benefits, extra retirement benefits (a lower retirement age), and housing benefits, in compensation for the difficult working conditions. Such compensation began under the Soviet Union and has been maintained by the Russian Federation.
In January 2007, the State Duma Committee for Issues of the North and Far East approved a proposed law defining regions within the Far North that would determine the extent of compensation for workers. The regions were established based on general climate, with harsher regions garnering greater compensation relative to milder regions.