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The Demographic Crisis

The social costs of the country's political and economic upheaval since the Soviet collapse are sharply conveyed by figures reflecting the demographic crisis of the decade that followed. Between 1992 and 2000, Russia's population declined by more than three million people. Birth rates trail mortality rates. In 1989, Russian women had an average of 2.0 children; today, the average family has only 1.3 children. (Replacement requires 2.2 children per family.) Low birth rates are blamed on young spouses' reluctance to have children in challenging times and on infertility resulting from previous abortions and poor maternal health (Russian Life 2001; Bubnova et al. 2000).

Malnutrition and deficiencies in the health care system contribute to high infant mortality rates (an average of 16.7 infant deaths per 1,000 live births from 1995 to 2000) and poor health in children. For adults, drinking, smoking, lack of exercise, and stress are additional risk factors (Breeva 2000a; LaFraniere 2001; United Nations Population Division 2000). In 1987, the life expectancy of Russian men and women was 64.9 and 74.6 years, respectively. In 1998, these numbers had dropped to 61.3 and 72.9 years (Veselkova and Zemlianova 2000). The greater vulnerability of males creates a sex ratio that is among the most unbalanced in the world.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsRussia - The Demographic Crisis, The Family In Soviet Times, Post-soviet Legal Codes Affecting The Family