Despite strong economic growth, Russia is facing an alarming population decline, due in large part to untimely deaths from heart disease, traffic accidents, and alcoholism, says a World Bank report released today. A continuation of current trends means a shrinking adult workforce, destabilization of families, growing regional disparities, and national security risks, warn Bank experts.
At the same time, because the current situation is so dire, it also means national efforts to increase life expectancy can be very effective and positive for future GDP:
A key finding is that policies to reduce deaths from non-communicable diseases and accidents to the current level among wealthy Western European countries (the EU-15) by 2025 could confer socioeconomic benefits equivalent to close to 30 percent of the 2002 Russian GDP. Catching up with the EU-15 in terms of life expectancy (currently averages 79 years for men and women), would require that a reduction in Russia’s annual mortality of 4.6 percent per year for non communicable diseases and 6.6 percent for injuries. In terms of per capita benefits, this would translate into an increase in per capita GDP of between US$2,856 and $9,243 by 2025.