Russian Cross

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For the three-bar cross used by the Russian Orthodox Church, see Orthodox cross.
"Russian Cross"; the black curve reflects the death rate dynamics, the red one corresponds to the birth rate (per thousand)
"Russian Cross"; the black curve reflects the death rate dynamics, the red one corresponds to the birth rate (per thousand)

The Russian Cross is the name of a demographic trend in Russia. Since 1988 birth rates among native Russians (as well as most other ethnic groups of the European part of the former Soviet Union) have been declining, while since 1991 the death rates have been climbing.

In 1992, the number of deaths exceeded the number of births, and has continued to do more or less so ever since. When this trend is plotted on a line graph starting from the mid-1980s and continuing to the present, the lines cross at 1992, hence the name.

Contributing factors[edit]

Further information: Alcoholism in Russia and Health in Russia
Natural population growth of Ukraine since 1950. The Russian Cross is not limited to Russia.[1][2][3]
  Birth rate
  Death rate
  Natural growth rate

Scientists have tried to connect the causative link between the two trends through the catastrophic growth of alcohol consumption that took place in Russia since the end of the Soviet Union, and the subsequent deregulation of the Russia alcohol market.[4]

It has been demonstrated that this is connected with the fact that post-Soviet Russia experiences one of the world's highest prevalence of alcohol-related problems, which contributes to high mortality rates in this region. Reduction in alcohol-related problems in Russia could have strong effects on mortality decline. Andrey Korotayev and Daria Khaltourina have analyzed the plausibility of application of general principles of alcohol policy to the Russian Federation.[5]

They have shown that alcohol policy approaches could be implemented in the same ways as they have been in other countries. In addition, according to Korotayev, there should be special attention to decreasing distilled spirits consumption, illegal alcohol production, nonbeverage alcohol consumption, and enforcement of current governmental regulations.[6]

Other factors explaining the Russian Cross include:

  • Dramatically low fertility, especially around 2000, when it bottomed out at just above one child per woman, or half of replacement,
  • A fall in births during the 1960s, which reduced the number of women of childbearing age in the 1990s,
  • A very high birth rate between the end of the Russian Civil War (1920) and the beginning of Russia's involvement in World War II (1941), which produced a large cohort of now elderly people to die off during the 1990s and the first decade of the 2000s, and
  • A fairly sluggish birth rate between 1945 and 1990, which was for the most part at about replacement level, especially after the early 1960s.

The Russian Cross is not confined to Russia, as it has also happened in other countries, most commonly with the fall of the Soviet Union (as in Russia): Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine..[7] Also, Germany fell into a negative natural increase in the 1970s, and Hungary in the 1980s. (Source: the Wikipedia articles for each country's demographics include vital statistics from which crosses may be ascertained.)

See also[edit]

General:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ukrainian death rates 1950-2008 Demoscope Retrieved on 12-14-09
  2. ^ Ukrainian birth rates 1950-2008 Demoscope Retrieved on 12-14-09, 2009
  3. ^ State Statistics Committee of Ukraine Retrieved on 12-14-09
  4. ^ See, e.g., Korotayev A., Khaltourina D. Russian Demographic Crisis in Cross-National Perspective // Russia and Globalization: Identity, Security, and Society in an Era of Change / Ed. by D. W. Blum. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008. P. 37-78.
  5. ^ See, e.g., Korotayev A., Khaltourina D. Russian Demographic Crisis in Cross-National Perspective. Russia and Globalization: Identity, Security, and Society in an Era of Change. Ed. by D. W. Blum. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008. P. 37-78; Khaltourina, D. A., & Korotayev, A. V. 'Potential for alcohol policy to decrease the mortality crisis in Russia', Evaluation & the Health Professions, vol. 31, no. 3, Sep 2008. pp. 272–281.
  6. ^ See, e.g., Korotayev A., Khaltourina D. Russian Demographic Crisis in Cross-National Perspective. Russia and Globalization: Identity, Security, and Society in an Era of Change. Ed. by D. W. Blum. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008. P. 37-78; Khaltourina, D. A., & Korotayev, A. V. 'Potential for alcohol policy to decrease the mortality crisis in Russia', Evaluation & the Health Professions, vol. 31, no. 3, Sep 2008. pp. 272–281.
  7. ^ See, e.g., Korotayev A., Khaltourina D. Russian Demographic Crisis in Cross-National Perspective. Russia and Globalization: Identity, Security, and Society in an Era of Change. Ed. by D. W. Blum. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008. P. 37-78; Khaltourina, D. A., & Korotayev, A. V. 'Potential for alcohol policy to decrease the mortality crisis in Russia', Evaluation & the Health Professions, vol. 31, no. 3, Sep 2008. pp. 272–281.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]