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Home » Gender News, Population Geography, Russia, Ukraine, and Caucasus

Life Expectancy in Moscow Has Reached 75 Years

Submitted by on May 17, 2012 – 4:53 pm 2 Comments |  
Several Russian news websites report that life expectancy in Moscow has reached 75 years. The improvement is quite marked, as the corresponding figure in 2010 was only 73.6 years. Among the factors behind the rise in life expectancy in Moscow are modernization of healthcare, decrease in infant mortality, low unemployment, and high level of education. According to the head of Moscow health department Leonid Pechatnikov, “if we are to consider only the life expectancy of residents of Moscow without the rest of Russia, we are not that far behind Western Europe in life expectancy”. However, life expectancy figures for “the rest of Russia” do not look nearly as good, making Mr. Pechatnikov’s claim rather incongruous. Average life expectancy in Russia as a whole is just 70.3 years, and it is mostly due to Russian women whose expected life span constitutes 76 years, while among men the figure is a mere 64 years. As the graph on the left indicates, the expected life span of an average Russian male is about 11 years shorter than that of his U.S. counterpart, while an average Japanese man would outlive an average Russian male by a whopping 16 years!

On his inauguration day earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised “to extend the life expectancy of Russia’s citizens to an average of 74 years … by 2018”. Thus, if his plan comes to fruition, “the rest of Russia” will catch up with today’s life expectancy figures of Moscow only after the end of President Putin’s third six-year term. But many analysts doubt the feasibility of Putin’s promise: the Federal Statistics Service predicts a similar trend, but they see the average Russian life expectancy hit the 75-year mark only in 2024, and then only in the best-case scenario.

In addition to the improving life expectancy figures, Moscow is finally seeing—for the first time since 1988—natural population growth, meaning that there are more births (10.8) than deaths (9.7) per 1,000 residents. This change is mostly due to a decrease in death rates rather than an increase in birth rates. Death rates among Moscovites due to cardiovascular diseases are down by 17%, accidents by 7%, tuberculosis by 18.6%. Major improvements in healthcare are credited for these changes, as well as for lowering infant mortality. However, the issue of what makes Moscow’s health and mortality figures so different is much more complex, as Moscow differs even from other large Russian cities in many economic, social, and cultural factors. According to several studies, education and income are closely linked to health and mortality figures. In Moscow as in Russia as a whole, life expectancy of the educated and well-off is increasing, whereas that of the uneducated poor is decreasing.





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  • Peter Rosa

    Isn’t the dismal life expectancy of Russian males mostly due to alcohol?

    • Asya Pereltsvaig

      It’s a big contributing factor, but not the only one.