PROJECT M
 

The end of population growth

While population growth is coming to an end the world over, for many nations the decline could become a death spiral unless reversed

© Laif

The end of population growth

While population growth is coming to an end the world over, for many nations the decline could become a death spiral unless reversed

Russia’s drinking problem

In Russia, life expectancy has actually declined. In 1990, the average life expectancy at birth was 66.58 years. This had dropped to 64.88 years in 2005, although it recently climbed again to 67.68. The problem is men. A yawning gap exists between women (75 years) and men (62 years). Alcohol, poor diet and collapsing healthcare are blamed. According to a 2009 article in The Lancet, alcohol abuse alone leads to an estimated 600,000 premature deaths each year.

Vladimir Putin’s government has seen some success in the fight against alcoholism. In 2003, male life expectancy totaled a dismal 58 years.

Less hopeful is an initiative to coax overseas Russians to return home. According to a Levada Center survey released on Valentine’s Day 2012, a mind-boggling 22% of Russians indicated that they intend to leave the motherland. The Ministry of Health in Moscow is even pondering a reintroduction of the Stalin-era ‘bachelor tax’ to shepherd spoiled playboys into family folds and perhaps increase the low fertility rate of 1.44.

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