Volume 28 - Article 32 | Pages 917–950  

Components and possible determinants of decrease in Russian mortality in 2004-2010

By Vladimir Shkolnikov, Evgeny M. Andreev, Martin McKee, David A. Leon


Background: After a long decline, life expectancy in Russia substantially increased in 2004-2010; this is the longest period of health improvement that has been observed in the country since 1965. This study is the first analysis of this positive trend.

Objective: We seek to determine the causes and age groups that account for the additional years of life gained in 2004-10 and the remaining gap between Russia and Western countries, to assess to what extent these recent trends represent a new development relative to previous mortality fluctuations, and to identify possible explanations for the improvement.

Methods: We present an analysis of trends in life expectancy, and in age- and cause-specific mortality in Russia and selected countries in Eastern and Western Europe. We use decomposition techniques to examine the life expectancy rise in 2004-2010 and the Russia-UK life expectancy gap in 2010.

Results: Like the previous mortality fluctuations that have occurred in Russia since the mid-1980s, the increase in life expectancy was driven by deaths at ages 15 to 60 from alcohol-related causes. Uniquely in the recent period, there were also improvements at older ages, especially in cerebrovascular disease mortality among women. In addition, there were reductions in deaths from avoidable causes, such as from tuberculosis and diabetes. The life expectancy gap between Russia and Western countries remains large, and is mostly attributable to deaths from cardiovascular disease, alcohol-related conditions, and violence.

Conclusions: The decrease in alcohol-related mortality may be attributable to measures taken in 2006 to control the production and sale of ethanol. The lower number of cerebrovascular-related deaths may reflect advancements in blood pressure control. The reduction in the number of deaths from tuberculosis and diabetes may be associated with a general improvement in health care. Although the decline in mortality since 2004 has been substantial, the question of whether it can be sustained remains open.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Russian mortality beyond vital statistics: Effects of social status and behaviours on deaths from circulatory disease and external causes - a case-control study of men aged 20-55 years in Urdmurtia, 1998-99
Special Collection 2 - Article 4

Estimates of mortality and population changes in England and Wales over the two World Wars
Volume 13 - Article 16

Geographical diversity of cause-of-death patterns and trends in Russia
Volume 12 - Article 13

Gini coefficient as a life table function: Computation from discrete data, decomposition of differences and empirical examples
Volume 8 - Article 11

Algorithm for decomposition of differences between aggregate demographic measures and its application to life expectancies, healthy life expectancies, parity-progression ratios and total fertility rates
Volume 7 - Article 14

Life expectancy in two Caucasian countries. How much due to overestimated population?
Volume 5 - Article 7

Two-dimensional contour decomposition: Decomposing mortality differences into initial difference and trend components by age and cause of death
Volume 50 - Article 41

Socio-economic determinants of divorce in Lithuania: Evidence from register-based census-linked data
Volume 33 - Article 30

Average age at death in infancy and infant mortality level: Reconsidering the Coale-Demeny formulas at current levels of low mortality
Volume 33 - Article 13

Official population statistics and the Human Mortality Database estimates of populations aged 80+ in Germany and nine other European countries
Volume 13 - Article 14

Introduction to the Special Collection “Human Mortality over Age, Time, Sex, and Place: The 1st HMD Symposium”
Volume 13 - Article 10

A summary of Special Collection 2: Determinants of Diverging Trends in Mortality
Volume 10 - Article 12

Educational differentials in male mortality in Russia and northern Europe: A comparison of an epidemiological cohort from Moscow and St. Petersburg with the male populations of Helsinki and Oslo
Volume 10 - Article 1

Health sector reforms in Central and Eastern Europe: How well are health services responding to changing patterns of health?
Special Collection 2 - Article 7

Progress in health care, progress in health?: Patterns of amenable mortality in Central and Eastern Europe before and after political transition
Special Collection 2 - Article 6

Introduction to the Special Collection of papers on "Determinants of diverging trends in mortality"
Special Collection 2 - Article 1

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

The vanishing advantage of longevity in Nicoya, Costa Rica: A cohort shift
Volume 49 - Article 27    | Keywords: adult mortality, blue zones, extreme longevity, long-lived populations, median life, old-age survival

Using multiple cause of death information to eliminate garbage codes
Volume 45 - Article 11    | Keywords: cardiovascular diseases, cause of death, garbage codes, International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, mortality, multiple causes of death, Poland

Assessing the quality of education reporting in Brazilian censuses
Volume 42 - Article 15    | Keywords: adult mortality, Brazil, census data, data quality, developing countries, education misreporting

The relation between cardiovascular mortality and development: Study for small areas in Brazil, 2001–2015
Volume 41 - Article 51    | Keywords: Bivariate maps, Brazil, Brazilian micro-region, cardiovascular diseases, cardiovascular mortality, demography, development, GDP, GDP per capita, mortality, spatial analysis

Civilian killings and disappearances during civil war in El Salvador (1980‒1992)
Volume 41 - Article 27    | Keywords: armed conflict, Civil War, El Salvador, mortality, violence, war