Sunday, February 10, 2013

USSR/Russia: Life, Death, and Alcohol

Over the weekend, I got into a discussion about life in the former USSR. A friend of mine suggested that the 1970s was the best time to live in the country. "Best time" is a matter of judgement, so I dug up some data on life expectancy.
The first chart shows a comparison between life expectancy in the US and USSR. The second chart shows a correlation between alcohol consumption and the decline of life expectancy (Source: Francis C. Hotzon, et al. Causes of declining life expectancy in Russia. 1998.)

By looking at the data, we can see that the best time to live in the USSR was in 1986-87, when Gorbachev came to power and tried to sober up the nation. It didn't jive with the culture and people hated his social innovations, which triggered the eventual collapse of the system.
Remarkably, the previous peak in male life expectancy was in 1965-66, right at the end of Khruschev's period of political reforms.

tags: innovation, culture, control, social, health

1 comment:

eva01 said...

lol :)

That was the best time to die in USSR. I think that curve is estimate based on age of people that have died in that period.

According to this curve it seems that curve the best period to be born in USSR was ~1920-1925 - when Stalin came to power.

Isn't this right?