Friday, October 12, 2018

A 15-Year-Old Russian Less Likely to Live to Age 60 than His Counterpart in Ethiopia, World Bank Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 12 – The percentage of 15-year-old Russians who will survive to 60 is lower than in Kazakhstan, Mongolia or Ethiopia, according to the World Bank’s Index of Human Capital Study that considers that and four other measures to rate countries in terms of how well their populations are doing. 

            That measure includes five indices: the probability of children surviving to age five, the expected length of schooling, school leaving examination results, the probability of a youth of 15 living to 60, and the percentage of children who do not have developmental problems (

                Overall, Russia is doing fairly well, Anton Feynberg and Yuliya Starostina of the RBC news agency say. It ranks 34th among the countries of the world. Russia has low infant and child mortality, a good length of schooling, and good examination results. The World Bank, however, couldn’t assess the share of children with developmental problems because of an absence of data. 

            But Russia is dragged down by the life expectancy of adults, which the World Bank rates according to the percentage of 15-year-olds who can expect to live to age 60.  In Russia, only 78 percent of them can, far less than in the US, China or Germany, and slightly less than Kazakhstan, India, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Mongolia and most of the Latin American countries.

            In fact, the figure for Russia is shared by the populations of Afghanistan, Sudan and Papua New Guinea. Some Russian experts have challenged the Bank’s findings, arguing that the ranking Russia has received is a statistical quirk and doesn’t reflect the actual situation on the ground.

            But Anatoly Vishnevsky, the director of the Moscow Institute of Demography, says that it is entirely appropriate to focus on survival rates of adults in Russia, especially since the current figures are still below those that the country achieved between 1960 and 1965.

            “When the authorities talk about increasing life expectancy in Russia,” he points out, they have in mind life expectancy at birth. That has really been increased because infant and child mortality in the country is falling, but mortality among the adult population, especially among men, remains high.”

            This figure, he continues, reflects both problems with health and alcoholism and external causes like accidents, murders and suicides, Vishnevsky says.

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