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Demographic situation in Russia


Introduction 3
Crisis and depopulation (natural decrease) 4
Birth and death rates 5
Life expectancy at birth 6

Conclusion 8
Bibliography 9

Practically everyone knows, that the Russian Federation is experiencing currently serious problems concerning demographic situation, such as, for example, high death rates from non-natural causes, aging of the population, falling of life expectancy, increase in number of suicides etc. Recent demographic trends in Russia have caused widespread public concern. Thus, for example, ex-Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov emphasized that the improvement of the demographic situation is the main task of Russia’s all federal ministries in 2008 . But not many people can really imagine how severe these problems are. In my essay I will try to investigate and numerically estimate the scale, consequences and terms of this demographic crisis.
This essay is based mainly on varied statistical data. During the process of writing I tried to turn to such information sources as statistics of Rosstat, UNO, 2002 census, works by Russian specialists and also most recent overviews from online newspapers and magazines. That enabled to find numerical and factual evidence and confirmation for the public concern we are facing today.

Crisis and depopulation: natural decrease
According to the data provided by Rosstat of the 1st of January, 2007 the population of the Russian Federation was amounting to 142,2 mln people. On the 1st of January, 2008 it was equal to 142 008 838 people. The latest statistical datum available is 141,888 mln people (fig.1).
As specified in the 2006 annual UNO Report in the sphere of the World population the demographic crisis in the Russian Federation is still enduring. The population growth has stopped since 1991, while birth rate in RSFSR fell below the level of simple generation substitution in 1960s. The death rate is 1.5 times more than birth rate, the population is decreasing by a few hundreds thousand annually.
Fig. 1. Depopulation of the Russian Federation (thous.)

The negative peculiarity of Russia is the fact that, as a result of demographic transition, the birth rate has fallen down to the level of the developed countries, while the death rate is still at the level of developing states.
As some demographers suppose, the decrease of death rate due to the development of public health service has been compensated by its increase due to alcoholism. The latter (600-700 thousand people per year) is connected with the world highest consumption level of both legal and illegal strong drinks. It actually covers the major part of gap between birth and death rates, what finally leads to the depopulation of Russia .
Other demographers suggest, that the high death rate is connected with under-completeness of modernization processes in Russia, including socio-cultural aspect. For example, care for your own health does not play a significant role in frames of mentality of the population. This, in turn, predetermines the high alcoholism, death rates from accidents (including traffic accidents), abnormal spread of a number of diseases etc .
The population decrease is somehow limited by the immigration – first of all – ethnic Russian and Russian-speaking from CIS countries (Kazakhstan, Middle Asia, Transcaucasia). However, even these reserves are currently declining. Russia turned out to be unable to make use of favourable conjuncture and aspiration of compatriots to come back to Russia (mostly due to inflexible immigration policy).
In accordance with estimations available, the population of Russia by 2050 will amount to 83-115 mln people. Moreover, in the mid-term program of socio-economic development of the RF it is specified, that in case of preservation of current migration pace, the Russian population will fell down to 120 mln in 2025, and to 100 mln in 2050. The UNO forecasts states another figure for the same time point – 115 mln; the forecast of the Institute of socio-political investigations of the RSA – 83 mln people.
Birth and death rates
Every minute 3 people are born and 4 die in Russia. The world tendency is opposite: the proportion of birth number to death one is 2.6 (!). The death rate of Russian men is particularly high, while their average life expectance is 61.4 years old. The average life expectance of women is 73.9 years old . The level of birth rate in Russia does not actually provide for simple reproduction of population.
Fig. 2. Death rate in RSFSR and in the RF since 1950 (per thous.)

Number of death (thousand people):
• 2002 year — 2 332
• 2003 year — 2 366
• 2004 year — 2 295
• 2005 year — 2 304
• 2006 year — 2 167

• 2007 year — 2 080
Death rates (per 1000 people):
• 1950 year — 10,1
• 1960 year — 7,4
• 1970 year — 8,7
• 1980 year — 11,0
• 1990 year — 11,9
• 1995 year — 14,9  1996 year – 14,1
 1997 year — 13,7
 1998 year — 13,6
 1999 year — 14,7
 2000 year — 15,3
 2001 year – 15,6
• 2002 year — 16,1
• 2003 year — 16,4
• 2004 year — 15,9
• 2005 year — 16,1
• 2006 year — 15,2
• 2007 year – 14,6
The death rate among Russian able-bodied men is 10 times higher than the same index in Europe, for able-bodied women – 4 times higher. The infant mortality in Russia is 2 times higher than in Europe (9.4 dead babies at the age up to 1 year per 1000 born alive (2007).

Number of born:
• 2002—1397,0 thous. people
• 2003—1477,3 thous. people
• 2004—1502,5 thous. people
• 2005—1457,4 thous. people
• 2006—1479,6 thous. people
• 2007—1610,1 thous. people.
Fig. 3. Dynamics of birth rate in Russia
Birth rates
• 1980 — 15,9 per 1000 people
• 1990 — 13,4 per 1000 people
• 1995 — 9,2 per 1000 people
• 1996 — 8,9 per 1000 people
• 1997 — 8,6 per 1000 people
• 1998 — 8,8 per 1000 people
• 1999 — 8,3 per 1000 people
• 2000 — 8,7 per 1000 people
• 2001 — 9,1 per 1000 people
• 2002 — 9,7 per 1000 people
• 2003 — 10,2 per 1000 people
• 2004 — 10,4 per 1000 people
• 2005 — 10,2 per 1000 people
• 2006 — 10,4 per 1000 people
• 2007 — 11,3 per 1000 people
• January - May 2008 — 11,5 per 1000 people

The steep drop in the Russian birth rate, coupled with a low average life expectancy, may lead to serious economic consequences in coming decades, experts say. The birth rate in Russia fell to only 9 births per 1,000 population in 1996. That means that Russian women are now averaging only 1.3 children, the lowest birth rate in their history. The real problem may come later, experts say, as a rapidly aging population is left to be supported by a shrinking number of working adults. At the present birth rate, Russia will face even worse future economic problems than previously thought. By 2030, the (population will be) top-heavy with older persons, leading to severe strains on national retirement systems.
Life expectancy at birth
Russia takes the 100th position in the rating of countries of the life expectancy (109th – for men and 74th – for women). Russian men are particularly at risk, as they live 16 years less on average than their counterparts in Western Europe and 14 years less than Russian women. The major gender difference suggests that behavioral factors are responsible, rather than factors related to the external environment or adequacy of health care. If current ill health and disability continue, the life expectancy of Russian males will fall to 53 years.

Fig. 4. The dynamics of life expectancy at birth (for men) in RSFSR an in the RF (since 1960).
Fig. 5. The dynamics of life expectancy at birth (for women) in RSFSR an in the RF (since 1960).

The low level of the life expectancy can be explained by the following:
• Poor development of medical services, especially concerning diagnostics of cardiovascular and cancer diseases, because such institutions were not set up by the government during Soviet and post-Soviet times, while solvent demand for these medical services is limited by low income of the population.
• Strong drinks. During the first half of the 90s the sales of strong drinks per capita increased more than twice. The proportion of strong drinks in the structure of consumption is more than one third, while the share of low-quality alcohol is up to 38%. The death rate due to alcoholic poisoning has increased 2-3 times. More 40 thousand people die from alcoholic poisoning annually in Russia . Since September 2007 more than 5000 citizens of the RF have been poisoned with surrogate alcohol. 295 of these people died .
• Level of violence in the society. Russia is among 5 top countries with highest indices of murders per 100 thousand people. Some demographers suppose, that this extremely high level of violence (including everyday violence) represents one of the major threats for the development of human potential in Russia .
• Traffic accidents. 35 thousand people die annually on Russian roads.
• Bad ecological situation. Injections of industrial waste and automobile exhausts increase the risk of cancer and other diseases.
• Non-popularity of healthy way of life.
The new demographic realities in Russia are not fundamentally different from those facing most industrial nations - a decreasing population, aging, high death and low birth rates, low life expectancy at birth. All the numerical data testifies to extremely negative demographic situation in the Russian Federation. In accordance with forecasts of major statistical institutions, our country is edging towards extinction. All the observed data gives us an idea how severe the situation is. Since it is impossible for Russia to avoid these circumstances, the challenge lies in addressing them effectively. Toward that end, a great deal of further research is required to disentangle the effects of earlier policies, current reforms, and other factors in explaining Russia's demographic patterns. Although they may not add up to a crisis, these trends will continue to pose difficult challenges for those deciding the direction of Russian policy


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2. Дарья Халтурина, Андрей Коротаев, «Алкогольная политика: мировой опыт и российские реалии», М.: УРСС, 2006
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