. "Epidemiological Transitions in the Former Socialist Economies: Divergent Patterns of Mortality and Causes of Death." Premature Death in the New Independent States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1997.
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bined is 103 percent for females and 102 percent for males. Estimates of coverage using the growth balance method for each republic range from 65 to 120 percent, as shown in Table 6-2. These estimates follow no clear geographic pattern; Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, and Moldova have the lowest estimated coverage, rates below 70 percent. The assumptions underlying the growth balance method clearly do not hold at the republic level, making these estimates of coverage.4
The Bennett-Horiuchi technique for assessing vital registration completeness is a more powerful method that does not require assumption of a constant birth rate over the past 80 years, but does assume a closed population (Bennett and Horiuchi, 1981). As input, two censuses and all registered deaths by age and sex for the interval between the censuses are required. Censuses were conducted in each republic in 1979 and 1989; unfortunately, registered deaths by age and sex are available for the majority of years between 1979 and 1989, but not all. As a first approximation, we used the average number of registered deaths for each age group for all available years 1979-1989, multiplied by 10. For the former Soviet Union combined, the estimated completeness of registration for females is 99 percent and for males 102 percent. The estimated coverage may be somewhat exaggerated (over 100 percent, for example) because of overstatement of age at older ages (Bennett and Garson, 1983).
Table 6-2 provides the estimated coverage of death registration for each republic by sex. The median estimated completeness is severely affected by internal migration; those republics, such as Lithuania, which had substantial net immigration over the period 1979 to 1989 show overregistration of deaths, while those with net emigration show underregistration. The third column of Table 6-2 shows the estimated completeness of death registration for the population over age 50, which may be less affected by migration between republics. To the extent that the approximations used in the application of the Bennett-Horiuchi technique are plausible, registration is over 90 percent in all locations except for males in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyz, and Tajikistan and females in Azerbaijan, Kazakstan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyz, and Tajikistan.
The lower levels of vital registration coverage for many of the Central Asian republics and females in Azerbaijan are probably due to a combination of net emigration and lower completeness of vital registration. Given that vital registration for the Soviet Union as a whole is very close to complete, we suspect that internal migration in the former Soviet republics may play an important role in explaining the low coverage. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to suspect that vital registration coverage in Central Asia and Azerbaijan is lower than in other parts of the former Soviet Union. The estimates of registration coverage for all Central Asian republics, Georgia, and Azerbaijan are considerably lower for women than for men. This sex difference in vital registration coverage could be explained by more age overstatement by males than females or by sex bias in death registra-