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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 the professor of the Moscow State University and the HSE, Andrei Akhremenko, published the results of a study of the quality of life of 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

At the heart of the resulting rating is the quality of life index, which includes five thematic sections: personal security, housing conditions of the population, the social sphere, public health and ecology. Each block includes from one to three private indicators. Thus, the quality of housing conditions is determined by the specific weight of housing equipped with running water, the specific weight of the dilapidated and emergency fund, as well as the average area of ​​premises per each resident. The resulting index takes into account a lot of other indicators - from the level of infant mortality and life expectancy to the amount of polluting emissions into the atmosphere. In the course of the study, the indicators were brought to a comparable level: 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, can not be combined. To combine indicators in the index with preservation of their proportions, mathematical methods of political analysis were used. Also, we should not forget that the notions of "quality of life" and "standard of living" should not be confused - the former is much larger, and therefore more indicative than the latter.

General trends

Until 2012, the overall vector of development of the regions of Russia remained unchanged: the quality of life was not fast, but grew steadily. In 2013, growth slowed, but only a year later it resumed - 2014 a year again provided an increase in the index value. 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 crises that manifested themselves in the economy in 2015 year. They will lead, if not to a decline, 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 subject to all-Russian trends. The only difference is that the level of quality of life in the Far East is steadily lower than that of Russia at 10% - this gap is maintained from 2006 a year and is unlikely to decline in the future. However, 2014 brought a positive dynamic: it turned out that the Far East developed slightly better in this period than Russia as a whole. This is evidenced by the figures: in 2013 year the growth rates in comparison with the country noticeably decreased, but in a year the situation was straightened, and the region's indicators even exceeded the country's new ones.

Who is last?

Traditionally, two prominent groups stand out in the ranking: leaders and outsiders of the Far Eastern region. The first to 2014 year invariably included the Sakhalin and Magadan regions, Kamchatka, Khabarovsk and Primorsky Krai. The laggard group included the Amur Region, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Chukotka Autonomous Region and the Jewish Autonomous Region. And if 2013 did not give a year’s hope of changing the situation, then 2014 showed significant progress: the Amur region strengthened its position and even left the list of outsiders, and the gap between the groups narrowed, albeit slightly. However, there is still little reason 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 for sure: these regions are in the list of lagging behind 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 due to the crisis it is quite understandable that a deterioration in the all-Russian 2015 indicators of the year is expected. But an 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 whole country — that same “lag” in 10% will play a role. The inertia of positive changes accumulated in previous years will not be exhausted. Some indicators already confirm 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 unemployment is declining. The dynamics of the population health index is also somewhat better than the national one - the gap between them is still significant, but in the 2014 year it has narrowed. This was due to the success in combating child mortality. But the indicator of life expectancy does not increase with time and goes with the all-Russian. This is because a significant increase in life expectancy requires complex changes in the economy and the social sphere, while infant mortality can be reduced by “pinpoint” health care efforts.

The region continues to pursue "average" Russia in many respects, and sometimes it manages to close the gap. Thus, since 2006 almost twice the situation with the security of the individual has improved. The provision of housing is consistent with the indicators for the whole country, and in the field of housing improvement, the Far East is far ahead of many subjects of the federation, although this is partly due to the low specific gravity of rural areas. Worst of all things are with the old housing: the improvement achieved in the 2013 year, could not be fixed. The dynamics of this indicator is clearly negative, which played a decisive role in increasing the gap between Russia and the Far East according to the generalized index of housing conditions of the population. Ecology and social sphere of surprises did not bring: these indicators are on par with all-Russian.
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