Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Population decline in Ukraine

This problem has been brewing for a long time---:: In 20 years there will 10 million fewer Ukrainians :: Ukrayinska Pravda.

Radio Era reported the other day that there were roughly half the number of births as deaths for the first five months of the year in the country. That is part of the reason. There are not enough babies to take the place of those who die. There have been incentives to try and reverse that. The government makes a one times payment to parents of about $1600 on the birth of a child, for example. But we are hearing that there is a lot of paperwork that goes along with it--what here doesn't take paperwork and a lot of it--and it may not be all that easy to qualify for as it seemed originally.

The other problem is that Ukrainians aren't living as long either. Life expectancy in Ukraine (and in Russia for that matter) has declined since the collapse of the Soviet Union. For males the decline has been sharp--I think the figures now are 72 years for women and 60 for men.

A lot of that decline in male life expectancy may be linked to alcohol. It has been said that a significant percentage of men die drunk. That would make alcohol the other other problem. And it is a scourge here. More about that later--maybe.

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