Dire Demographics: Population Trends in the Russian Federation

Dire Demographics: Population Trends in the Russian Federation

Dire Demographics: Population Trends in the Russian Federation

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.

Excerpt

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the demographics of the Russian Federation have revealed several adverse trends. Although thought to be recent, many of these trends actually continue the rocky demographic history that characterized the Soviet Union. These demographic variables indicate substantial challenges confronting both policymakers within the Russian Federation and members of the international community concerned about Russia. This report reviews the major demographic trends that are currently affecting Russian social welfare and that will shape options for Russian policymakers in future years.

This report grew out of a conference on “Russia's Demographic Crisis in Comparative Perspective, ” held in 1995 at rand with researchers from Russia's Center for Demography and Human Economy, part of the Russian Academy of Sciences. in 1996, rand issued conference proceedings that included the major papers delivered at the conference (DaVanzo, 1996). in 1997, we published an issue paper based on the conference proceedings that used updated statistics where available (DaVanzo and Adamson, 1997). For this report, we have again updated information based on the latest available statistics. We have also updated and expanded our interpretations of these statistics and their implications.

This research has been presented to the U. S. State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the Winter Colloquium of the Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies at Stanford University, the board of directors for the Center for Russia and Eurasia at rand, and the rand board of trustees.

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