Changing Life Expectancy and Health Expectancy Among Russian Adults: Results from the Past 20 Years
The decade following the collapse of the Soviet Union was characterized by wide fluctuations in Russian mortality rates, but since the early 2000s, life expectancy has improved progressively. Recent upturns in longevity have promoted policy debates over extending the retirement age in the country. However, whether observed gains in life expectancy are accompanied by improving health remains to be addressed. Using data from the 1994–2014 Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of the Higher School of Economics, this study investigates trends over 20 years in healthy life expectancy (HLE) and illness-free life expectancy (IFLE) for men and women at adult ages. Analyses using the Sullivan method show that men and women at adult ages have experienced large increases in health expectancies during the post-Soviet period. Increases in HLE exceeded increases in total life expectancy for both genders. Further, health expectancies have evolved over time through cycles of increases and decreases, just like life expectancy. These results suggest increases in good-quality years among men and women at working ages, offering support for changing the official retirement age. The extent of the change in the retirement age, however, needs to be carefully considered, given that, despite recent improvements, the health expectancy of the Russian population still remains low.
KeywordsHealth expectancy Life expectancy Retirement age Russia
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