Differences between Male and Female Life Expectancy in Russia ‘Largest in the World,’ New Study Says

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 10, 2018)

On average, women in Russia live 11 years longer than men do, according to a study conducted by Russian and Western scholars that has been published in Britain’s authoritative medical journal, The Lancet (thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31485-5/fulltext).

The study focused on trends between 1980 and 2016 and noted that the difference between the sexes has varied widely with the smallest difference occurring in 1994 when the combined life expectancy in the Russian Federation was 63.7 years (rbc.ru/society/10/09/2018/5b960b339a7947f63a2a2914?from=main).

Life expectancy from birth among men rose to 65.4 years in 2016, The Lancet study reports; among women, it rose to 76.2. That difference, just under 11 years is the largest in the world. While infant mortality fell by 57.5 percent between 2000 and 2016, it continued, morality among working age people remained high, often as a result of “unfavorable behavioral factors.”

Among these, The Lancet study says, are “consumption of alcohol and drugs.” But it also pointed to the fact that “in comparison with countries with similar levels of socio-demographic measures, the indicators of mortality and invalid status in Russia remain high and the expected life expectancy low.”

Two months ago, RBC reports, Olga Tkacheva, the chief geriatrics specialist at the Russian health ministry, says that the gender differences in life expectancy will remain in place through at least 2030 even though the figures for each sex will increase.

“Expected life expectancy at birth for men and women in 2018 is 73.5 years. It is projected,” she says, that “by 2030, it will grow to 80.1 years.” Men at that point will have a life expectancy of 75.8, while women will have one of 83.7. She also said that Russians are already aging more slowly.

According to Tkacheva, Russians of both sexes in 2013 had at age 58 the cognitive functions of 50-year-olds in 2003