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Scientists assessed the quality of life in the Far East

Scientists from the Moscow State University and the Higher School of Economics together with IA "EastRussia" conducted an annual study of the quality of life of Russians, paying special attention to the Far East. The analysis showed that the inevitable decline in the Far Eastern regions is slower than in the whole country

A group of scientists led by Professor of Moscow State University and HSE University Andrei Akhremenko published the results of a study of the quality of life in Russian regions. It covers the period from 2006 to 2014. and assesses the dynamics and nature of changes in key indicators over the years.

Scientists assessed the quality of life in the Far East
Method of evaluation

The resulting rating is based on the quality of life index, which includes five thematic blocks: personal safety, living conditions of the population, social sphere, public health and ecology. Each block includes from one to three particular indicators. Thus, the quality of living conditions is determined by the proportion of housing equipped with a water supply system, the proportion of dilapidated and emergency stock, as well as the average area of ​​premises per inhabitant. The resulting index also takes into account a lot of other indicators - from the level of infant mortality and average life expectancy to the amount of polluting emissions into the atmosphere. During the study, the indicators were brought to a comparable form: it is obvious that economic indicators, measured in fractions of units, and, for example, environmental indicators, which are measured in thousands of tons of emissions per capita, cannot be combined. To combine the indicators into an index while maintaining their proportions, mathematical methods of political analysis were used. We also remind you that the concepts of “quality of life” and “standard of living” should not be confused - the former is much more voluminous, and therefore more indicative of the latter.

General trends

Until 2012, the general vector of development of Russian regions remained unchanged: the quality of life was growing slowly but steadily. In 2013, growth slowed down, but only a year later resumed - 2014 again provided an increase in the value of the index. However, there is no need to talk about sustainable development in such a situation: there is a slowdown in growth, which is unlikely to stop in the near future. This is due to the crisis phenomena that manifested themselves in the economy in 2015. They will lead, if not to a decrease, then to a halt in the growth of the quality of life, scientists are sure.

The trajectory of the development of the quality of life in the Far East is completely subordinate to all-Russian trends. The only difference is that the level of quality of life in the Far East is consistently below the national average by 10% - this gap has persisted since 2006 and is unlikely to narrow in the future. However, 2014 brought positive dynamics: it turned out that the Far East during this period developed slightly better than Russia as a whole. This is evidenced by the numbers: in 2013, the growth rate compared with the country fell noticeably, but a year later the situation improved, and the region's indicators even exceeded the national ones.

Who is last?

Traditionally, there are two outstanding groups in the rating: leaders and outsiders of the Far East region. The first until 2014 invariably included the Sakhalin and Magadan regions, Kamchatka, Khabarovsk and Primorsky regions. The group lagging behind included the Amur Region, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Chukotka Autonomous District, and the Jewish Autonomous Region. And if 2013 did not give hope for a change in the situation, then in 2014 there were significant shifts: the Amur Region strengthened its position and even left the list of outsiders, and the gap between the groups narrowed, albeit slightly. However, there are still few grounds for optimism: for example, in Chukotka and the Jewish Autonomous Region, it is generally impossible to build reliable development models due to extremely unstable indicators. One thing is certain: these regions are on the list of laggards seriously and for a long time.

The force of inertia

The lag of the Far Eastern territories from Russia as a whole, oddly enough, has a positive effect. The fact is that in connection with the crisis, the deterioration of the all-Russian indicators of 2015 is quite understandable. But the analysis of the dynamics of the components of the quality of life suggests that this deterioration will be less painful for the Far East than for the entire country - the same "lag" of 10% will play a role. The inertia of positive changes accumulated in previous years will not yet be exhausted. Several indicators already support this hypothesis. In particular, the dynamics of unemployment in federal districts speaks for itself: the Far Eastern Federal District is the only one in Russia where there is a decline in unemployment. The dynamics of the population health index is also slightly better than the national one - the gap between them is still significant, but in 2014 it narrowed. This was due to the success in the fight against child mortality. But the indicator of life expectancy does not increase over time and keeps pace with the all-Russian one. This is because a significant increase in life expectancy requires complex changes in the economy and social sphere, while infant mortality can be reduced by “targeted” efforts in the field of health.

The region continues to chase the “average” Russia in many respects, and sometimes it manages to close the gap. So, since 2006, the situation with personal safety has almost doubled. The provision of housing corresponds to the indicators for the country as a whole, and in the field of housing improvement, the Far East completely overtakes many subjects of the federation, although this is partly due to the low specific weight of rural areas. The worst situation is with dilapidated housing: the improvement achieved in 2013 was not consolidated. The dynamics for this indicator is clearly negative, which played a decisive role in increasing the gap between Russia and the Far East in terms of the generalized indicator of housing conditions of the population. The ecology and social sphere brought no surprises: these indicators are on a par with the all-Russian ones.
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