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Demographics = Destiny ?

05/09/2014

Remembering that a small rat can become a vicious creature when cornered, there were some fascinating factoids about Russia in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal.  Here are a few:

Birth Rate:  After falling each year since the collapse of the Soviet Union, it has now stabilized at 20% below the replacement rate.  However, women of Russian ethnicity are not replacing themselves, while Muslim women have an increasing fertility rate.  Russia’s labor force will be smaller in 2030 than it is today.  In an echo of the post-Soviet “baby crash,” the number of women entering their 20s will continue to shrink over the next decade.

Health Care:  For a 15-year old male in Russia, his life expectancy is three years less than a 15-year old male in Haiti.  A 15-year old female in Russia has 3 years less life expectancy than a 15-year old female in Cambodia.  Of the 48 least developed nations, Russia is only #33 in life expectancy.  Russian men have the highest rate of cardiovascular disease in the world.

Educational Weakness:  Russia’s population is fifteen times greater than Austria but files for fewer patents every year.  Austria is #20, and Russia is #21.  If you look at the number of patents per college graduate, little Austria produces 35 times as many patents as mighty Russia.  In 1990, Russia had 9% of the working age college graduates in the world.  By 2030, it is expected to have only 3%.

The Journal article concluded “Russia is simply being left behind.”  Clearly, there is a cancer on the body politic.  It also poses the question “If his (Putin’s) dangerous new brinkmanship is a response to that bad news, then we should expect more of it in the future, possibly much more.”

Now, who wants to invest in Russia??

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