Self-perceived health in Belarus: trends and determinants

Pavel Grigoriev, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Olga G. Grigorieva, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Despite extensive research on health and mortality in the countries of the former USSR there is still room for further investigations. First of all, there is a vast amount of literature on health and mortality in Russia whereas other countries of the region have received less attention. Secondly, most of these studies are based on aggregate mortality data while the available individual level data remain underexplored. Our study fills these gaps and provides new evidence on health and its determinants from Belarus. It relies on data from the five annual “Income and Expenditures of Households” surveys conducted between 1996 and 2007. The results suggest the compression of morbidity in Belarus. The proportion of person years lived in good health increased during the analyzed period for both sexes and all ages. Here we also show that in terms of healthy life expectancy Belarus still remains far behind Western Europe. Such disadvantage is determined by higher mortality of the working age population but health at older ages also plays an important role, especially among women. Regarding health determinants, there is a clear educational gradient for both men and women. Other predictors such as working at present and medical visits also demonstrate large impact on health status regardless gender or age of respondents. No obvious association between individual’s current income and health was found. An alternative indicator of individual well-being, the index of living standards, has strong inverse association with self-perceived health but it holds for individuals above working age only. Unexpectedly, individuals residing in rural areas tend to report better health compared to people living in the capital.

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Presented in Session 41: Health and mortality in Eastern Europe