Patterns in the relationship between life expectancy and gross domestic product in Russia in 2005–15

Since 2005, Russia has made substantial progress, experiencing an almost doubling of per-capita gross domestic product by purchasing power parity (GDP [PPP]) to US$24 800 and witnessing a 6-year increase in life expectancy, reaching 71·4 years by 2015. Even greater gains in GDP (PPP) were seen for Moscow, the Russian capital, reaching $43 000 in 2015 and with a life expectancy of 75·5 years. We aimed to investigate whether mortality levels now seen in Russia are consistent with what would be expected given this new level of per-capita wealth.


We used per-capita GDP (PPP) and life expectancy from 61 countries in 2014–15, plus those of Russia as a whole and its capital Moscow, to construct a Preston curve expressing the relationship between mortality and national wealth and to examine the positions of Russia and other populations relative to this curve. We adjusted life expectancy values for Moscow for underestimation of mortality at older ages. For comparison, we constructed another Preston curve based on the same set of countries for the year 2005. We used the stepwise replacement algorithm to decompose mortality differences between Russia or Moscow and comparator countries with similar incomes into age and cause-of-death components.

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