Russia’s Peacetime Demographic Crisis: Dimensions, Causes, Implications
NBR Project Report

Russia's Peacetime Demographic Crisis
Dimensions, Causes, Implications

by Nicholas Eberstadt
May 19, 2010

This report represents the culmination of a three-year research project on Russia’s political economy, as examined through the unique prism of that country’s demographic profile. The report starts with an examination of the “arithmetic of Russian depopulation” by examining how the country’s trends in births, deaths, and migration reveal the drivers behind the massive and unprecedented depopulation. The report then looks beyond the numbers, examining less-explored aspects of Russia’s population profile such as population aging, education and labor productivity, and social capital, which are key to a society’s prosperity. This report sheds new light on the challenges presented by Russia’s depopulation, with critical implications for U.S. policy and international politics.



Russia’s Demographic Crisis: Not a “Normal Country” Problem

Part I

Fewer but Not Better: The Demographics of Russia’s Depopulation

Chapter 1
Depopulation, with Modern Russian Characteristics

Chapter 2
Russia’s New Patterns of Fertility and Family Formation since the End of Communism: Shock or Transition

Chapter 3
Russia’s Ominous Patterns of Mortality and Morbidity: Pioneering New and Modern Pathways to Poor Health and Premature Death

Chapter 4
The Terrible Mystery of Extreme Mortality in Modern Russia: Searching for Explanations and Answers to a Deadly Puzzle

Chapter 5
Migration: Russia’s Unfamiliar New Dilemmas of Personal Choice

Part II

Russia’s Human Resources in Disarray: The Demographic Crisis beyond the Population Count

Chapter 6
Population Aging: Toward a Russia That Is Gray, Sick, and Poor

Chapter 7
Education and Labor Productivity in Russia: High Levels of Schooling, Low Levels of Human Capital

Chapter 8
“Social Capital” in Russia: An Attitude Problem, on a National Scale


A Demographic Reckoning for Russia