Assessment of the Real Rates of Homicides and Suicides in the Regions of Russia

Yumaguzin V.V.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol), Senior lecturer, Junior researcher, Institute of demography, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

Vinnik M.V.

Master degree in Sociology, Lecturer, Junior researcher, Institute of demography, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

DOI: 10.31857/S013216250003753-1
ID of the Article:

The research was supported by NRU HSE Program of fundamental research in 2018.

For citation:

Yumaguzin V.V., Vinnik M.V. Assessment of the Real Rates of Homicides and Suicides in the Regions of Russia. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 1. P. 116-126


The mortality rates from homicides and suicides, which serve as an indicator of the psychological well-being and the value of life in society, show a steady decline after the 2000s in Russia. However, another block of causes of death, event of undetermined intent shows the same rapid growth and since 2014 already exceeds the cumulative death rate from homicides and suicides. Researchers believe this block of causes is a reservoir of latent homicides and suicides. As a result, actual data on homicides and suicides are underestimated. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that regional practices of coding the causes of death can largely deform the structure of mortality, which is why the ordinary proportional redistribution of event of undetermined intent within the class “External causes of morbidity and mortality” ICD-10 is not enough. The purpose of this paper is to estimate the actual death rates from homicides and suicides using a model region in which the proportion of event of undetermined intent is minimal. Three options for solving this problem are proposed. The suicide rate increased by 30% regardless of the hypothesis. At the same time, the level of homicides and accidents increased most significantly under the third hypothesis, when all cases of events of undetermined intent were redistributed – there was an increase of 30% compared to 15–20% for the first hypothesis. Assessment for regions, depending on the accepted hypothesis of redistribution of events of undetermined intent, showed differences, demonstrating an underestimation of specific causes of death. In some regions, ill-defined causes are used mainly to hide deaths from suicide (for example, Astrakhan, Samara, Sakhalin and Samara regions, as well as Tuva), and in other regions to conceal homicides (Orel and Vologda regions, Bashkortostan).

demography; mortality from external causes; homicides; suicides; injuries with undetermined intent; data reconstruction


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