Concentration of working-age male mortality among manual workers in urban Latvia and Russia, 1970-1989
European Societies , 11:1, 161–185 (2009)
Until recently data on mortality by socioeconomic status were not available for the initial period of mortality increase in the former Soviet Union from 1965 to 1979. Newly discovered data from the Russian State Archive of Economics allow us to close this gap and to compare mortality trends in urban Latvia and several urban areas of Russia with the concentration of rising male mortality among manual workers already found in several eastern European countries. A similar trend appears in these data for rising mortality to concentrate among manual workers over time.
Unfavorable trends in the life expectancy of the total population were largely driven by mortality increase among manual workers. Possible determinants of the pattern include a special type of economic growth in the USSR in the 1970s and 1980s associated with dominance of heavy industries and military sector, and low consumer goods’ production, high prevalence of hard manual labor, massive rural urban migrations and poor living conditions of new coming industrial workers, growing psychosocial stress and high prevalence of adverse health behaviors. These characteristics are discussed in the framework of an incomplete modernization and distinct health life styles in state socialist countries.
Keywords: Latvia, Russian Federation, differential mortality, handicrafts, mortality increase