Russian Mortality Crisis and the Quality of Vital Statistics

Gavrilova, Natalia S.; Semyonova, Victoria G.; Dubrovina, Elena; Evdokushkina, Galina N.; Ivanova, Alla E.; Gavrilov, Leonid A.
October 2008
Population Research & Policy Review;Oct2008, Vol. 27 Issue 5, p551
Academic Journal
Mortality from ill-defined conditions in Russia has the fastest rate of increase compared to all other major causes of death. High proportion of deaths in this category is indicative for low quality of mortality statistics. This article examines the trends and possible causes of mortality from ill-defined conditions in Russia. During 1991–2005, mortality from ill-defined conditions in Russia increased in all age groups. The pace of increase was particularly high at working ages and the mean expected age at death from ill-defined conditions has shifted to younger ages, particularly for men. The analysis of individual medical death certificates issued in Kirov and Smolensk regions of Russia demonstrate that 89–100% of working-age deaths from ill-defined conditions correspond to human bodies found in a state of decomposition. Data from Smolensk region shows that over 60% of these decedents were unemployed. Temporal trends of mortality from ill-defined conditions and injuries of undetermined intent in Moscow city suggest that deaths from the latter cause were probably misclassified as ill-defined conditions. This practice can lead to underestimation of mortality from external causes. Growing number of socially isolated marginalized people in Russia and insufficient investigation of the circumstances of their death contribute to the observed trends in mortality from ill-defined conditions.


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