#5 - JRL 7066
Subject: Russian mortality
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2003 14:52:
From: "Ellman, M.J." <M.J.Ellman@uva.nl>
Prof. M.J. Ellman
1018 WB Amsterdam
The preliminary data for 2002 on Goskomstat's website show that
(a) The crude death rate has risen again, to 16.2 per thousand.
(b) The increase for the year as a whole (3.8%) is less than the increase in the first half (5.7%). (Hence the situation is less alarming than when I wrote about it in JRL #6392, 8 August 2002.) Either the larger increase in the first half was caused by seasonal factors (eg flu) or the smaller increase in the second half was caused by an improvement in the underlying fundamentals, or some combination of these two processes was at work.
(c) The 3.8% annual increase roughly corresponds to what one would expect on the basis of the population's aging. Hence it is a preliminary indication that the age-specific mortality rates, when they are published, will indicate that 2002 was roughly a plateau year for (age-specific) mortality in Russia. It remained high, but (allowing for the aging of the population) it did not increase significantly. (If so, life expectancy will remain roughly constant.)
(d) If the mortality increase after 1998 was a (lagged) result of the 1998 economic crisis, then the mortality figures for (the second half of) 2002 may be a sign that the mortality crisis is now over and that in 2003 mortality will grow less than population aging alone would imply and may fall.
(e) Russia's overall mortality remains high by international standards. Many Russians are dying at relatively young ages.
(f) The infant mortality rate is continuing to fall.