Diminishing Russia

One of the world’s most frightening demographic stories is occuring in Russia. Its population is diminishing so rapidly that by mid-century it could have one-third fewer people than today.

I can hardly believe this sentence from the BBC story: “Statistically, a baby boy born in Russia today is unlikely to see his 60th birthday.” [I originally had “16th”, not 60th. I don’t think it was my typo — I think the mistake was in the original BBC article, since changed.] The problem isn’t just poverty; in fact, poverty levels have diminished in Russia in recent years. It’s the continuation of a long-term, terrible trend that results from poor environment, poor diet and poor lifestyle.

Murray Feshbach spoke eloquently about these issues in Davos in the early ’90s. Then, hardly anyone listened to Murray’s explanations of what he called ecocide in Russia. We should have listened harder.

4 thoughts on “Diminishing Russia

  1. Thomas

    It’s bad enough without spelling errors : the article says “60th birthday”, not “16th birthday”…

    It’s still an excellent blog. Keep going !

  2. Murray Feshbach

    To the Observer:


    If anything I would now say that I was underesting the losses to the population of Russia in the future. The current official projection (medium) by the Russian State Statistical Agency is some 101 million in 2050. My expectation is that the number will be closer to 75-80, approximately the level of worst-case scenario. The current and imminent number of deaths from HIV/AIDS is much worse than anticipated, as well as the number of deaths from tuberculosis. In addition, hepatitis C deaths will, ceteris paribus, begin to be devastating at the end of the next decade. None of these health factors were incorporated into the projection model of the Statistical Agency. Net in-migration will make up for some of the excess mortality versus fertility, but far from enough. Other factors too numerous to include here also play a part. MF

  3. CapTVK

    I should add that in particular the russian male population is suffering the worst blows. Not only the diseases noted above but also suicide and alcoholism (liver cirrhosis) are a major cause of death in the 40+ age groups. I have a feeling that the worst may be over now that the Russian economy is crawling out of the ravine that was left after the collapse of the USSR. Still, those blows will be felt for decades to come.


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