Patterns of suicide mortality in Russian capitals: influence of megapolis

Diana L Jdanova, Independent Consultant

The main goal of the study is the comparison of suicide mortality between whole Russia and its capitals Moscow and Saint Petersburg. More than 10% of Russian population lives in these two regions. Of course, as capitals and as the biggest Russian cities, they have a considerable influence on the social development of the whole country. I use for the analysis data on cause-specific mortality by Goskomstat (Statistical Office of Russian Federation) for the period 1989-2003. This investigation is based on the statistical methods of data analysis as well as on the comparative analysis of the death rates, the suicide rates and the rates of proportion suicide in total death. The analysis shows a lower suicide activity in these regions than average by country. The suicide rate in St. Petersburg is higher than in Moscow. It can be explained by high socio-economical development of these regions, especially Moscow, and specific mentality of Nordic society in St. Petersburg. The comparison with whole Russia allows getting an estimate of influence of mega polis on suicide activity. Thus, the increasing of suicidal activity after economical and political crises in these two regions have one-year shift forth. Also we can see shift of peaks in proportion of suicide in total death to older ages during the crises in Megapolis. At the country levels these shifts do not appear. In 2001 Russian mass media published many articles about teenager’s suicides. It did not influence for all-Russian statistics, but in Moscow and in St. Petersburg was considerable increasing proportion of suicide. It shows an extremely important role of mass media, especially in modern Megapolis with its high level of informatization. In general, suicide rate is lower in Megapolis. At the same time population of Metropolis is more sensitive to social and economic changes.

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Presented in Session 46: Determinants of high and increasing mortality in Eastern Europe