Russian life expectancy reaches a record 72.5 years

Russian life expectancy reaches a record 72.5 years
Russia's life expectancy is up to 72.5yrs, but overall population size is shrinking
By bne IntelliNews September 12, 2017

The average life expectancy of Russians reached 72.5 years for the first time in history in the first seven months of 2017, according to Rosstat. Russian Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova said that men's life expectancy increased by a year from 66.5 to 67.5 years and for women it was 77.4 years.

During the worst of the economic crisis that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, male life expectancy fell to 56yrs, although Russian women have typically always lived into their seventies in post-Soviet Russia. 

The highest life expectancy in the USSR was recorded in 1990 at 60.1 years. That's twice as high as it was during the final years of the Russian Empire, from 1896 to 1897, when it was a lowly 30.5 years. A huge leap was made in the decade after the 1917 Revolution; in 1927 it was already almost 43 years.

Skvortsova noted that during the first seven months of this year, 23,700 fewer people died in the country than during the same period last year.

The increase in life expectancy is associated with a decrease in mortality from major diseases: circulatory system diseases, neoplasms, tuberculosis, respiratory and digestive diseases. 

Russians in general have become health conscious. Vodka consumption is down and so is beer consumption. The leading beer companies believe the main growth in their business will now come from selling non-alcoholic beer.  Cigarette sales have also been falling and are expected to fall by 18.3% between 2016 and 2021, according to Euromonitor, cited by Vedomosti. Cigarette sales have already fallen by more than a quarter (27%) between 2010 and 2017. 

In August, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets said that the average life expectancy in Russia in the first half of this year was 72.4 years. The mortality rate decreased to 12.9 per 1,000 people in the first half of 2017, according to Golodets.

Nevertheless, Russia's population has stopped growing and will shrink from here as the demographic collapse of the 1990s hits the country's population numbers. 

The number of employed people under 40 will slump 25% from 2015 to 2030 with the overall number of the employed declining by 8% or 6mn people, Director of the Employment Research Center at the Higher School of Economics Vladimir Gimpelson told reporters on August 7.

Part of the economic reform plans currently being worked out is to increase the retirement ages and cover at least some of that 6mn shortfall by making workers work for longer. Russia also remains an attractive destination for immigrants from the other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).