This paper considers the problem of abortion in modern Russia. Using official statistics, we analyze the dynamics of abortion indicators since the early 1990s. On the basis of representative national sample surveys, we conclude that official statistics are complete and reliable. This in turn confirms the steady decline of abortions during the post-Soviet years.
A particularly rapid decline in abortions is seen among the youngest women. Modern teenagers have fewer abortions than their predecessors at this age. The current level of induced abortions in women under age 20 in Russia today is less than in France, Great Britain, Sweden, and a number of other developed countries of European culture.
The major differentiating factor for frequency of abortion is age. There are no clear correlations between the risks of abortion in Russia and such standard social characteristics as income, type of settlement and education. Despite the positive trend, Russia remains one of the countries with the highest abortion rates in the world.
The country’s turn to traditional values and the allegedly growing role of religion are inadequate mechanisms to reduce abortions. Government support is given not to proven, evidence-based measures like the promotion of family planning, sex education, etc., but to repression and restrictions. During the past 10-15 years, a number of restrictive amendments have been introduced into legislation. The authors indicate the counterproductive effects of these restrictions on abortion as an instrument of a pronatalist population policy.
The article discusses long-term mortality trends (since 1956) from external causes of death in Russia. Russia has long lagged behind developed countries in this domain. The level of mortality from external causes of death remains high and its structure is still archaic with large contribution of homicides, alcohol poisoning and injuries of undetermined intent.
Excess number of deaths from life tables of Russia and Western European countries is compared. It is shown that in Russia the greatest excess losses are associated with mortality from poisonings among both sexes, suicide among men and homicide among women.
Mortality from external causes, along with mortality from diseases of the circulatory system, has had a significant impact on life expectancy. In general, over the period 1956-2012 the increase in mortality from external causes in the 15-64 age group reduced life expectancy by 2.6 years for males and 0.7 years for females.
The decline, starting in 2003, of mortality from external causes of death has slightly reduced the gap between Russia and developed countries, bringing the current Russian level closer to those levels reached in Russia in the mid-1960s and 1980s. However, given the fluctuations of mortality from external causes, it is premature to say whether the current decline in mortality is robust.
This paper is devoted to the comparison of mortality by cause of death in Moscow and other megacities of the world since 1990. The selection of megacities was determined by the availability of detailed mortality data in the selected period. The objects of our comparison are data for Berlin, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Singapore, St. Petersburg, and Tokyo. Mortality from major groups of causes of death are considered, including cardiovascular diseases, neoplasms, external causes, diseases of the respiratory and digestive organs, infections and some others. The analysis uses standardised mortality rates by cause of death. The mortality level in Moscow is significantly lower than in the majority of regions of Russia, but is still substantially higher than in foreign megacities. Due to a big lag at the beginning of the period, the mortality level in Moscow nowadays is higher than in all selected foreign megalopolises in the year 2000. Where Moscow’s mortality level lags most behind others is in mortality from circulatory diseases and external causes. Moscow's successes in reducing mortality in 2000-2014 are very impressive. However, it is difficult to predict how events will unfold in the deteriorating economic situation.
Infant mortality in Russia has been decreasing for several decades. In 2011, however, Russia’s infant mortality rate reached a level (7.4 per 1000 live births) more than three times higher than in countries with minimal levels. In April 2012, Russia adopted new definitions of live births and stillbirths, which are much closer to the corresponding WHO definitions than those used before. The transition to these new definitions was meant to increase the rates of perinatal, early neonatal and infant mortality in general for children weighing up to 1000 grams – those concerned by the changed definition. This paper analyzes the changes in the structure and dynamics of death in children under one year of age since the transition to the new definitions of live births and stillbirths, according to birth weight and period of death based on official and medical statistics. It looks at the possibility of distortion of both infant and perinatal mortality and their components. Particular attention is given to an analysis of the structure of infant mortality by age and cause of death in Russia in comparison with other countries. The regional aspect of changes in infant mortality for 2011-2012 is also studied herein.
The paper addresses the link between getting pregnant and getting married in Russia. The authors use 2010 data on current births in selected regions of Russia to analyze the relationship between marriage registration date and the date of conception, as well as age-related and regional features of this relationship. Special attention is given to the phenomenon of registering out-of-wedlock births based on parents’ joint applications as well as to the association between this type of behavior and parents’ age. Using individual data from the 2010 Census the authors examine the change of women’s marital status during the first five years after birth of the first child. The results suggest that the widespread practice of registering marriages during the second trimester of pregnancies still persists in Russia. This is most typical for young people getting married for the first time. Together with the relatively high rates of dissolution of marital unions with children, this supports the interpretation of this kind of marriage as a marker of traditionalist demographic behavior.
In the 1960s and 1970s, with the introduction of hormonal contraception, as well as of a new generation of intrauterine contraception, Western countries saw cardinal changes in methods of fertility regulation so significant that the American demographers Ch. Westoff and N. Ryder called them "The contraceptive revolution." By this time, the transition to low fertility in developed countries, as, indeed, in Russia, was completed, and family planning had become a common practice. However, the new technologies significantly increased the effectiveness of birth control, and this change would have important social and demographic consequences. Underestimation of the importance of family planning and underdevelopment of the corresponding services in the USSR and in Russia led to the contraceptive revolution beginning here much later than in the West, not until the post-Soviet years with the arrival of a market economy and information openness. For decades, induced abortion played a key role in the regulation of fertility, and only in the 1990s did modern methods of contraception become widespread and the unfavorable ratio of abortions to births begin to change for the better. The article describes the composition of the contraceptive methods used in countries of European culture and of those in Russia, and attempts to explain the difference between them. Based on national representative sample data, an analysis is made of current practice of contraceptive use in Russia. The conclusion is drawn that the contraceptive revolution in Russia is proceeding rather quickly, but without substantial state support.
The demographic revolution (demographic transition) is changing the reproductive strategy of the species Homo sapiens. The whole evolution of life on Earth, including social evolution since the beginning of human society, has led to this triumph of theK-strategy of reproduction. This universal revolution has a crucial importance for the present stage of human history. The cause-and-effect relationship between economic, social and demographic changes is discussed, the interpretation of changes in the mass reproductive or family behavior as primarily a direct consequence of economic, social or cultural shifts is contested. Such explanations are redundant since the main changes in demographic behavior are a response to the necessity of restoring the demographic equilibrium upset by an unprecedented decline in mortality. At the same time, such explanations lead to an underestimation of the impact of demographic change on economic, social and cultural dimensions of the development of modern societies.
The demographic transition theory in its present form hinders the vision of this transition as an integral stand-alone process that has its own internal determinants and at the same time has a powerful impact on all social processes, including processes at the global level. The global logic of demographic transition theory is opposed to the widespread local logic, according to which this theory must be justified by the experience of each state.
An attempt is made to overcome the current fragmentation in the description of the demographic transition and its splitting into multiple “transitions” and “revolutions”, and to consider it as a cohesive process, that is, a sequence of inevitable major stages of a single global “chain reaction” initiated by an enormous decline in mortality.
The idea of an extraordinary growth in fertility in Russia is widespread in the Russian expert community and media space. This increase is believed to be indicative of the positive results of the special financial measures taken by the government after 2006 to stimulate fertility. The author’s viewpoint is more reserved. There are some positive developments, but their significance is quite insufficient to view the future of Russian fertility through rose-colored glasses. With this paper, we continue our previous long-term research in the field of in-depth demographic analysis of Russian fertility, incorporating the latest official statistical data for 2014. The paper provides an overview of the trends of key fertility indicators over a few decades, as well as developing some approaches to cohort fertility analysis in order to obtain more reliable projections. The article consists of two parts. In the first part, we examine period fertility indicators (for calendar years), taking into account the latest changes in the structural characteristics of the Russian model of fertility that have occurred over the past several decades. In the second part of the article, we analyse cohort fertility indicators of generations of women whose actual and expected reproductive activity has been occurring in the second half of the twentieth and the first decades of the twenty-first centuries.
Using two representative Russian surveys – “Person, Family, Society” (used for building research models) and “Russian monitoring of the economic condition and health of the population” (for auxiliary, descriptive analysis) – we analysed the differences in the life courses of Russian men who served and did not serve in the army. For these two groups of men, we compared the ages and sequences of the most important first events (separation from the parental home, first job, obtaining an education, first cohabitation, first marriage, and first child). We constructed socio-demographic “portraits” of these men at the age of 15 and at the moment of the survey (2013).
Our results revealed that those men who served in the military have more socio-economic and demographic events than those who avoided military service: men with military experience start adult life earlier and more intensively. The mechanism of selecting men for military service has changed since the 1990s. Men who serve are mainly children of parents without higher education and not occupying senior positions in the period of their children’s socialisation. After completing] military service, men often work and live separately, while those who did not serve in the army study and live with their parents.
The paper considers a problem of abortion in modern Russia. Using official statistics we analyze the dynamics of main abortion indicators since early 1990s. On the basis of representative national sample surveys we conclude that official statistics are complete and reliable. This in turn confirms the steady decline of abortions during the post-Soviet years.
Despite the positive trend, Russia remains one of the countries with the highest abortion rate in the world. The country’s turn to traditional values and growing role of the church are inadequate mechanisms to reduce abortions. The proven evidence based measures like promotion of family planning, sex education, etc. obtain no government support, but repression and restrictions. The authors indicate counterproductive effects of these restrictions on abortion reduction and pronatalist population policies.
The article recommends to pay more attention to improvements in quality of abortion provision, the introduction of modern medical standards and protocols.
In conclusion, the authors suggest the ways to improve the official statistics of abortions .
This article discusses the implications of demographic changes for the system of private intergenerational transfers. We consider the basic demographic factors of private intergenerational transfers, including changes of the population age structure, the abundance of divorces and remarriages, the high level of migration activity, the process of nuclearization - and analyze its influence on the system of private intergenerational transfers.
The system of statistical migration records in Russia was reformed in 2011. According to the new regulations, anyone registered in a different region for at least 9 months is considered to be a migrant – as opposed to the previous 12-month threshold. This change in regulations revealed the real volume of educational migration. Before the reform, students who moved to their place of study for an academic year were often still considered as living with their parents, where they were registered and spent the summer months. In this paper, we compare the intensity of inter-regional migration of youths aged 17-21 in two periods: (1) just before the reform – 2003-2010 and (2) right after the reform – 2011-2013. To compare the intensities correctly, we employ cohort-component analysis. The intensity of migration at student ages increased by a factor of 2.5. The available data is not sufficient to figure out which part of the increase is due to the statistical reform itself, and which part could be explained with a possible real growth of youth migration intensity. Yet, the leaping nature if the change hints on the apparent growth of the migration intensity of the youths is merely a data artifact. The distribution of regions by the intensity of migration growth in student cohorts became closer to normal, indicating a possible improvement of migration statistics.
The paper presents the results of a study of adaptation of migrant children in schools in Moscow and the Moscow region. We analyze the obstacles that migrant families face when enrolling a child in school and situations they deal with in schools with “socially challenging environment”. We argue that in the eyes of teachers the ethnic origins of children are more important than their citizenship for defining what a “migrant student” is. Both the migrant children themselves and their teachers consider the students’ low proficiency in Russian to be the key obstacle for their adaptation during their first year at school. The lack of classes of Russian as a foreign language, as well as of special training for teachers working in an ethnically diverse classroom also hamper assimilation. Given the significant inflows of migrant children, some schools currently experience changes in the school space. Extracurricular activities become more diverse and often ethnically oriented. Ethnicization of school space is an extension of ethnicization of the urban environment.
The problem of excess mortality in Russia has not lost its relevance. The situation is complicated by the high level of spatial inequality in health, which is usually measured at the regional level in our country. This work is one of the first attempts to look at the dynamics and extent of spatial inequality in health in Russia at the sub-regional level, by contrasting the "center/core" (in our case, represented by the largest Russian cities) with the "periphery" (the rest of the country). Cities with a population of over a million people were chosen based on the spatial hierarchy that exists in Russia, according to which the highest level of social and economic development is concentrated in the largest cities. As a rule, a higher level of development of human capital corresponds to lower mortality. Using data provided by Rosstat we calculated life expectancy at birth for Russian cities with a population of over a million people in 1989-2016. The results fully coincided with our expectations: the polarization in the health level between the largest Russian cities and the rest of the country has significantly increased in the last twenty-five years, which is a reflection of those centripetal processes that have been taking place in our country during this period. Russian cities with a population of over a million people are attractive destinations for both internal and external migrants, and thus acquire among other things a much more educated population. Since people with higher education take better care of their health, having a more educated population is undoubtedly an essential advantage of bigger cities over the periphery when it comes to the overall health level. Without solving the structural problems that restrain social and economic development outside the largest agglomerations, convergence in mortality rates between cities with a population of over a million people and the surrounding territories is hardly possible.
Modern world is ageing, and Russia is not an exception. Most governments of the ageing societies aim their social policies at healthy and active ageing of their populations. Many special international documents on these issues were adopted, a number of countries have today separate governmental bodies responsible for policies towards older people. States develop national strategies, support private initiatives and NGO working with elders. In Russia, public policy aimed at active ageing still lacks clear goals and structure. This paper analyses international experience of active ageing policies. Using existing efficiency estimates, we reveal those policy measures that have proved to be most effective and could be applied in our country. In our review we pay special attention at the countries-leaders of the world ratings of older people life quality. During many years those states have been applying different instruments of social policies towards seniors at the country level, as well as at the regional and local levels. They intentionally monitor all the programmes applied and evaluate the mechanisms in use. According to the concept of active ageing suggested by the World Health Organization, we analyse the main components of active ageing such as physical, social and labour activities. The analysis of international practices let us reveal the most efficient instruments of active ageing policy (financial, educational, organizational, informational instruments). In conclusion, we give recommendations for national policy of active ageing to be applied in Russia.
The demographic revolution (the demographic transition) is changing the reproductive strategy of the species Homo sapiens. The whole evolution of life on Earth, including social evolution since the beginning of human society, has led to this triumph of the K-strategy of reproduction. This universal revolution has a crucial importance for the present stage of human history. The cause-and-effect relationship between economic, social and demographic changes is discussed and the interpretation of the changes in the mass reproductive or family behavior of people as primarily a direct consequence of economic, social or cultural shifts is contested. Such explanations of these changes are redundant, since the main changes in demographic behavior are a response to the necessity of restoring a demographic equilibrium upset by an unprecedented decline in mortality. At the same time, such explanations lead to an underestimation of the impact of demographic change on economic, social and cultural dimensions of the development of modern societies.
The theory of the demographic transition in its present form hinders the vision of this transition as an integral stand-alone process that has its own internal determinants and at the same time has a powerful impact on all social processes, including processes at a global level. The global logic of demographic transition theory is opposed to the widespread local logic, according to which this theory must be justified by the experience of each state.
An attempt is made to overcome the current fragmentation in the description of the demographic transition, its splitting into multiple “transitions” and “revolutions”, and to consider it as a cohesive process, a sequence of inevitable major stages of a single global “chain reaction” initiated by an enormous decline in mortality.