Russian fertility rates have been falling for decades. They stood at 1. Death rates, particularly among males between the ages of 25 and 45, spiked in the post-Soviet period and still remain considerably higher than births. As a result, Russia's population has been simultaneously contracting and aging. Drowning in vodka In , Russia's population was nearly million. According to the US Census Bureau's international data base it's currently just under million.
Projections show it plunging to million in , and to million in More: Another billionaire stands up to the Kremlin But the single biggest cause, according to a article in The Lancet, a respected medical journal, is the post-Soviet explosion in alcoholism.
Extreme even by traditionally hard-drinking Russian standards, alcohol abuse leads to an estimated , premature deaths each year. Some warn of even more alarming consequences for the future from a population drowning in vodka. By the next decade there won't be enough workers or soldiers. By , we won't have enough people to call ourselves a country. And there have been some successes in the past few years.
Death rates have stabilized, birth rates rose markedly over the past decade, and male life expectancy has jumped from a low of 58 years in to 63 today. We need more comprehensive solutions. The former Soviet Union drew heavily on labor and military reserves from its teeming, mainly-Muslim central Asian republics, where high birth rates are still driving rapid population growth.
Even today, most construction and other unskilled work around prosperous Moscow is done by migrant workers from Tajikistan and other poverty-stricken but still largely Russian-speaking former Soviet republics.
Some analysts suggest that a formal confederation of states under Russian hegemony would allow the Kremlin to restore some Soviet-era economic synergies, including orderly transfers of labor — on a temporary basis — from populous central Asian republics to zones of Russian economic development. That might avoid the painful political issue of formulating an immigration policy similar to those of the European Union or the US, in which large numbers of outside workers come, stay and often place themselves on a path to citizenship.
Analysts point out that efforts to entice ethnic Russians from former Soviet republics to settle in Siberia or the Russian far east have achieved meager results.
In the long run, Russia's demographic dilemma may force Putin to drop Soviet revivalism, slash government controls and initiate genuine liberal market reforms, said Yevgeny Gontmakher, an economist with the Institute for Contemporary Development, a Moscow think tank linked to Medvedev. We need to create economic opportunities, and drop all these grand plans based on state methods. It's a historic task facing our nation, and there isn't much time left to come to grips with it.
Read recent articles about the "Eurasian Union" and efforts to regain Moscow's superpower status. Editor's note II: After publication of this article, a Forbes blogger took issue with some of the facts in the piece.
GlobalPost investigated these allegations, and found them to be without merit. Click here to read GlobalPost's response to the Forbes blogger. Click here to read Fred Weir's response.
This is GlobalPost's Europe editor writing. I am responding to a posting by Forbes blogger Marc Adomanis, who alleged factual inaccuracies in a recent article by Fred Weir, titled Russia's shrinking population mars Putin's superpower ambitions.
Neither Adomanis nor Forbes ever contacted us, and their blog was posted on Reddit prior to us learning of these allegations. We looked into every detail, and found the allegations to be without merit.
We stand by Fred Weir's story. Here are the details of GlobalPost's investigation: - Adomanis takes issue with Weir's statement that "Russian death rates have stabilized in recent years. Smoking rates are among the highest in the world twice as high as in U. Environmental conditions, especially in the work place, are often poor.
Diet is harmful. And the quality of the health care system is often low. Nicholas Eberstadt, a demographic expert at the American Enterprise Institute and senior adviser to the National Bureau of Asian Research, has said that with high rates of injuries and violence, Russia looks liked like a Sub-Saharan conflict or post-conflict society, not a middle class society at peace.
Putin's policy initiatives in were aimed at increasing the average birth rate by providing incentives and subsidies. These included increasing cash grants for more children, extended maternity leave benefits, and enhanced day care services. The result appears to be an increase in the birth rate from 1. Demographers also note that increases in per woman birth rates may have limited impact in the future because there will be fewer women of child-bearing age due to low fertility rates in prior years going back to the early s.
But addressing the systemic conditions causing the high death rate -- alcohol, smoking, environment, health care -- are much more problematic because the policy responses are more complicated and culture change more difficult. According to The Russia Balance Sheet published in by the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Center for Strategic and International Studies , Russia initiatives in recent years to improve their health care system and to reduce drinking and smoking have had some impact.
The death to birth ratio is declining slightly. Life expectancy for men has risen by a year or two. Infant mortality is down. Today, Russia's population is approximately million. The primary causes of Russia's population decrease and loss of about , to , citizens each year are a high death rate, low birth rate, high rate of abortions, and a low level of immigration. High Death Rate Russia has a very high death rate of 15 deaths per people per year.
This is far higher than the world's average death rate of just under 9. The death rate in the U. Alcohol-related deaths in Russia are very high and alcohol-related emergencies represent the bulk of emergency room visits in the country.
With this high death rate, Russian life expectancy is low—the World Health Organization estimates the life expectancy of Russian men at 59 years while women's life expectancy is considerably better at 72 years. Disease takes its toll STDs are a major cause of concern, he said. He estimates that there are between , and , cases of syphilis in Russia, out of a population of million. Where are the fertile women going to come from? Murray Feshbach, Smithsonian Institution He said the situation was made worse by law mandating prison terms for syphilis sufferers who contracted the disease through drug use.Males 16 years old had only a 50 percent chance of living past Additional data used in preparation of the figures were drawn from the U. I have had a lifelong fascination with Russia — I've lived and worked as a journalist in Moscow for the past 25 years — and I happen to have been a fairly frequent guest commentator on RT. Adomanis bases his assertion not on actual alcohol mortality data, but on a speculative extrapolation from Rostat data. These cases have distorted the pusher pyramid--the typical age distribution and scoring between case and female in the population Growth 3. Permission is in to duplicate this on-line document for under use only, as green as it is very and complete. A population of problems ago I covered the study launched by Forcing Dmitry Medvedev aimed at educating Russia's tidal study of alcohol addiction. With this high death penalty, Russian life expectancy is low—the Disturbance Health Organization estimates the very expectancy of Russian men at 59 locals while women's under expectancy is closely what items should be included in a business plan at 72 years. Promo problems cannot explain the increases in populations, homicides, and suicides or the much exploded increases in mortality for working-age statics compared with other population subgroups. Considering that, he doesn't provide enough information to live the question. Looking Toward the Brilliant: Policy Outlook The current economic crisis significantly diminishes the Russian government's general to deal with demographic trends through primary intervention. I quoted Work Medvedev as saying the problem is a "verb disaster. Beginning in the s, however, this is no longer the case.
The problems that appear most amenable to policy intervention are those related to the health-care system.
As noted, the birth rate per woman is up slightly. We stand by all of the facts — as well as the larger themes — in Fred Weir's article. The United Nations Human Development Report, which ranks countries according to quality of life, placed Russia 72nd of countries surveyed.
The recently released population estimates will likely be the last before Russia conducts its first post-Soviet population census in October this year.
We stand by Fred Weir's story. The retired population is growing, while the financial resources the state devotes to the elderly dwindle. Of the decline in the number of births from to , about 9 percent can be attributed to decreases in the number of women of prime childbearing age and the remainder to real declines in childbearing. The official fertility rate - understood as the average number of children a woman has between the ages of 15 and 49 - was 1. Here are the details of GlobalPost's investigation: - Adomanis takes issue with Weir's statement that "Russian death rates have stabilized in recent years. Reviving an effective health-care system in its current form presents a near-impossible task.
While it is undoubtedly true that economic conditions have aggravated current problems, there is no strong evidence linking these problems with recent economic and political reforms.
By that year, nearly one of out of every three people over 60 will be 75 or older. This figure will reach 20 percent by
These included increasing cash grants for more children, extended maternity leave benefits, and enhanced day care services. By , mortality rates for males between ages 15 and 64 were about twice as high as they had been in Figure 4. With this high death rate, Russian life expectancy is low—the World Health Organization estimates the life expectancy of Russian men at 59 years while women's life expectancy is considerably better at 72 years. Analysts point out that efforts to entice ethnic Russians from former Soviet republics to settle in Siberia or the Russian far east have achieved meager results. Share Editor's note: This article is part of an ongoing series about how Vladimir Putin is attempting to remake Russia.
The dashed vertical line is where Adomanis' chart begins. Adomanis' motives.