Famine, disease, and mortality patterns in the parish of Borshevka, Russia, 1830-1912.

Population studies

PubMedID: 11623525

Hoch SL. Famine, disease, and mortality patterns in the parish of Borshevka, Russia, 1830-1912. Popul Stud (Camb). 1998;52(3):357-68.
Scholars have projected a dismal image of nineteenth-century, rural Russia as a society repeatedly punctuated by crop failures, famine, starvation, and epidemics of famine-related diseases. But there has been no rigorous attempt, using appropriate methods, to assess the nature of demographic crises in Russia and their contribution to overall mortality and population growth. The pattern of mortality evident in the parish under examination is distinguished by an extremely high incidence of infant, diarrhoeal diseases and childhood, infectious diseases. This unfavourable disease environment and resulting high rates of infant and early childhood mortality were more closely related to fertility levels, household size, housing conditions, and weaning practices than to annual or seasonal food availablity and the nutritional status of the population. In a disease-driven society, the susceptibility to infection and the force of infection can, to a considerable extent, be determined by demographic factors, familial norms, and climatic constraints.