Staunton, May 4 – The number of Russians who consider themselves poor is now three times greater than officials say and constitutes half of the population, according to a new study by Moscow’s Higher School of Economics on ‘Factors of Absolute and Subjective Poverty in Contemporary Russia.”
Rosstat acknowledges that the number of Russians in poverty has increased, Anastasiya Manuilova reports in today’s Kommersant, but the official agency continues to dramatically understate the number of Russians who feel themselves poor, the Higher School study reports (kommersant.ru/doc/3288897).
At present, the Higher School scholars there report, just over half of Russians – 50.3 percent -- say they feel poor. At the same time, they note that “every other objectively poor [Russian] does not consider himself poor but every third non-poor one, on the contrary, considers that he lives in poverty.”
If objective measures of poverty reflect low pay and unemployed or underemployed family members, subjective ones, the scholars say largely reflect the presence of children in the family or the lack of the ability to live as one would like. Those who have low levels of education are most likely to say they are poor; women and elderly much less so.
And the gap between objective and subjective poverty is especially characteristic of the young, a pattern that over time means that these differences will make it ever more difficult for the government to provide assistance in ways that will overcome poverty in the Russian Federation.