Problems with Mortality Data in Russia
Natalia S. Gavrilova, University of Chicago
Victoria G. Semyonova, Ministry of Health, Russia
Galina N. Evdokushkina, Ministry of Health, Russia
Alla E. Ivanova, Ministry of Health, Russia
The mortality crisis in Russia has been discussed extensively scientific literature. However, little attention has been paid to the problem of deteriorating mortality data in Russia. During the first half of the 1990s mortality from such causes as "injuries undetermined whether accidentally or purposely inflicted" grew with particularly rapid pace. In this study we tested the hypothesis that mortality from violent causes of death (particularly in middle-aged men from marginal social groups) is concealed using death codes from the class “Symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions” (ICD-9). Mortality from this group of causes increased 6-fold for males and 9-fold for females in 1989-2002. This hypothesis was confirmed using case study of death certificates from the Kirov region of Russia. It is likely that mortality from violent causes of death in Russia is significantly underestimated by the official statistics.