Russian Infant Mortality, 1900-2016


Infant mortality in Russia/USSR (thick dark green line), 1900-2016 (via genby). Thin brown line at the bottom represents the US rate.

(Bottom most graph represents the US).

Six distinct periods:

  1. Slow improvement during late Tsarism and 1920s.
  2. Stagnation during 1930s.
  3. Rapid improvements from 1940-1965 as antibiotics, modern obstetrics, etc. introduced. Near convergence to US by mid-1960s.
  4. Stagnation during 1965-2000, including periods of extended increases during the 1970s (uniquely for an industrialized country outside wartime) and during the early 1990s (due to the economic collapse then).
  5. Rapid improvements under Putin, culminating in renewed convergence to developed country levels.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Philip Owen says

    The fall under late Putinism is impressive given the baby boom. More than a few new maternity hospitals were not finished in time for the whole wave. Provincial Governors were sacked for non completions. That said, providing natal care was cleary a national priority at the time and continues to be so.

    There was a food shortage, at least, in 1947. Looks more like a famine on here, comparable relative to the base rate to 1933. The early ’60’s food shortage was not so severe and there is no impact.

  2. Carroll Price says
  3. Odd that this isn’t being mentioned at given the many other related articles:


  4. You didn’t search very thoroughly:

    Of course this is not a new story, regardless of whether Bloomberg chose to run it a few days ago.

    Anyway, we’re happy that you keep informing us of the mainstream perspective. Otherwise we’d never hear of it!

  5. Something was going seriously wrong in the USSR in the 1970s. Todd noticed, and predicted the regime’s collapse.

  6. Infant mortality measures death up to one year of age. It is a good indicator of pediatric care. Perinatal mortality nearsures deaths up to three months of age so is a better measure obstetric care.

    There are some differences with how perinatal is measured across countries making comparisons difficult. For example the Netherlands doesn’t count babies born before a certain number of gestation as live births giving them an artificially low perinatal mortality rate. The US counts all babies born alive even if they only take one breath. Not sure how Russia distinguishes this.