Dire Demographics: Population Trends in the Russian Federation

Synopsis

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation has seen its births plummet and its deaths increase sharply. Mortality increases have been particularly steep for working-age males and are often attributable to alcohol-related causes. Some analysts fear the Russian population could decline by nearly a third between now and 2050. In the short-term, Russia may be better able to stabilize its population numbers by focusing more on curbing mortality than increasing fertility. Past Soviet pronatalist incentives had only negligible long-term effects on the number of births. The types of health problems indicated by high Russian mortality rates point to a greater need for preventive rather than curative care. In sum, the demographic problems Russia faces indicate it may do better to focus on qualitative indicators, such as the health and welfare of its population, than on quantitative indicators, such as the overall size of its population.

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