Hardly anyone thinks that the widely used word “population” or its synonym “population” first arose as scientific concepts. It happened 1,5-2 centuries ago. The emergence of the concept of “population” (in the Russian language from the beginning of the nineteenth century) brought to life a special science and gave birth to one word, first used in the middle of the last century and included in everyday life already in our memory – “demography”
Nowadays the word “demography” has ceased to cause confusion. The problems of the population are spoken and written by scholars and journalists, a series of popular works are being published, a course of demography is being taught in a number of higher educational institutions of the country. Gone are the days when the word “demography” was confused with other words consonant with demography. Demography has become a science with all the attributes – its methods,
theory, practical tasks. Moreover, it becomes a science “fashionable” with all the pros and cons of such popularity. The latter include, first of all, a simplified representation of the essence of demographic processes, the imaginary ease of their analysis, sometimes aspiration on private data, on their everyday experience to make far-reaching generalizations and conclusions. This concept is now increasingly intertwined in the fabric of historical research.
At the crossroads of the two fields of knowledge, a new scientific discipline has gradually emerged – historical demography (or demographic history), the subject of which is an objective process of the historical evolution of population reproduction. Only in the last decades, when we witnessed a “demographic explosion” in developing countries and a sharp decline in the rates of population reproduction in the economically developed, historical demography attracted wide attention.
The systemic crisis of Russian society has sharply worsened the demographic situation and the health of the population.
State report on
public health in 1993, analytical reference “Health of the population in Russia in 1992-1993” allow assessing the demographic situation of the country as a demographic catastrophe. The report states that the number of deaths has increased markedly due to all the most common causes leading to premature mortality. “The difference between increasing mortality and declining fertility in the Russian Federation (and especially in its Russian regions) makes it possible to characterize Russia as a country with a degenerating population” (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 1994, February 2). In 1990, for the first time in the postwar period, there was a natural decline in the population. In 1993, it covered 68 territories, where 63% of Russians live, and in 1992, there were 45 such territories. At the same time, the death rate of the working-age population is growing at an accelerating rate. Excess of death rate over birth rate, since 1992, is often estimated as depopulation, that is, the extinction of Russia, which amounted to about a million people in the last 1.5 years.
The average life expectancy in present-day Russia is 57.7 years for men and 71.2 years for women. Let’s compare: for the USA, Canada, France, Germany and other developed countries of the world these figures are equal respectively: 73-74 years and 79-80 years. And for Japan, the champion in longevity – 75.90 and 81.6 years. So, our men today live on average 16 years less, and women 8 years less than in the West. Especially disturbing is the gap between the life spans of the opposite sex, more than 13 years. There is no such thing, and there was nowhere else. The New York Times writes that Russia was the first industrialized country to survive such a sharp decline in the population in conditions.
It is noteworthy that since the end of the XIX century, the gap between the indices of the duration of men and women has increased, reaching in 1968-1971. almost nine years.
The gap in the life expectancy of men and women is due not only to biological factors, which account for four to five years of this kind of differences. The remaining four to five years of rupture are caused by specific factors. So now in the older age people who actively participated in the Great Patriotic War are entering, which could not but affect their health. There are other reasons for this phenomenon.
But today, as has already been stated above, the gap in the life expectancy of men and women has become approximately 13 years, which is extremely frightening.
In 1993, the birth rate fell by 15% compared to the previous year and reached 9.0 births per thousand people.
Now we see a tendency to decrease the number of children in the family. According to the State Statistics Committee, most Russians today consider it most appropriate to have one child (1).
If earlier 3-4 children in the family were absolutely normal, now large families began to meet much less often. But as before, families of rural residents are characterized by a greater number of children than for urban families.
Until now, in rural areas, the birth rate of children is significantly larger than the birth rate in large cities, despite the fact that the socio-economic situation has led to uncontrollability of the urbanization process in many countries, including Russia. Percentage of urban population in selected countries is: Australia -75; The USA – 80; Germany – 90. In addition to large cities – millionaires, urban agglomerations or merged cities are rapidly growing.
According to 1993, the death rate was 16.6 deaths per 1000 people.
Compare: in the US – 9.0 people, while the life expectancy there is 72 years, in Russia only 57.7 years.