A comparison of Russian age patterns of mortality on an international scale reveals the similarity of the Russian profiles to each other, whether urban or rural. At the same time, the comparison reveals the dissimilarity of the Russian male age patterns to the regional model life tables of Coale and Demeny and the United Nations, as well as to standard life tables for any developing region. Of all the models, the Russian male age pattern is most similar to the Far Eastern model life table (United Nations, 1982). However, examination of male life tables from Finland (1966-1970), Hungary (1983), France (1954-1958), and the nonwhite population of the United States (1977) reveals greater similarity of the Russian profile to the profiles of these populations, particularly the last, than to any of the model life tables. It appears that this mortality pattern is not represented in model life tables, even though it is a typical pattern of male mortality in a number of developed countries.
Among females, the predominant urban age pattern of mortality in Russia is fairly similar to the West model life table. The pattern of the Coale-Demeny model North most closely resembles the pattern of mortality of rural Russian women. However, the French life tables of the 1960s and 1970s are an even better fit to the Russian female shape than any of the model life tables and most closely replicate the early sharp peak of mortality at ages 15-19.
Thus in general, the age patterns of mortality found in Russia are not unique. They have been seen in other Western countries, and therefore cannot be explained by the political and social system of Russia of past decades. At the same time, the unique feature of Russian mortality is the unusually high level of adult male mortality, which—as our analysis has shown—dominates over all parts of Russia and results from very high mortality due to injuries and cardiovascular disease. Certainly, further investigation of factors producing the variation in the age patterns of mortality noted herein would prove valuable to our understanding of the extraordinarily high level of adult mortality in Russia.
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