One well-known media published the data of a public opinion poll on the incomes of the population. The picture was depressing: almost half of our citizens (44,6 percent) live on incomes of less than 15 thousand rubles a month.
The government, the newspaper writes, questioned the correctness of the survey methodology. Honestly, I also do not believe the voiced numbers. I don’t believe the official data of Rosstat, which is constantly changing its calculation methods. And every time our life in official numbers is getting better. Let's try to figure it out.
It all started well
I believe that a huge number of Russians live on the verge or below the poverty line. By the way, there is no official term “poverty” in our legislation. It is simply customary to call the poor those whose incomes are below the subsistence level. But I do not believe that almost half the country is in such a situation. Firstly, there is no reference to the organization that conducted the study. Well-known sociological institutes, where professionals work and who can be trusted, have not found such polls. Secondly, official statistics, no matter how scolded, can still not go too far from the truth.
Here are the latest Rosstat data for the first quarter of 2020. The proportion of the population with incomes below the subsistence level was 12,6 percent, or 18,6 million people. According to the results of 2019, the poor were 12,3 percent. Moreover, in 11 regions of the country, the share of the poor exceeded 20 percent.
It would seem that the poverty situation has worsened. But it’s more correct to compare the data of the respective quarters in different years. The fact is that traditionally the best indicators of household income in the fourth quarters. This is due to the fact that in December, workers receive serious bonuses based on the results of work for the year. And in January, respectively, a failure. No additional bonuses and a short working month.
So, in the first quarter of this year we have 12,6 percent of the poor, in the same period of the past there were 14,3 percent. That is, this year began quite safely. Although even then the negative process began: trade with China, embraced by the coronavirus, curtailed. Then with other countries. Well, on March 26, with the beginning of strict quarantine, rising unemployment, and shrinking working hours, earnings began to simply melt before our eyes. And salary, as you know, forms the basis of the total income of the population (66 percent).
Go forward to 2014!
However, official statistics persistently convince us that the first quarter we lived almost chocolate. In monetary terms, the picture looks like this. The average per capita income in the first quarter of 2020 amounted to 31 rubles, and in the first quarter of last year - 647 rubles. Even more impressive figures on the nominal accrued salary: in the first quarter of last year - 30 242 rubles, and this year - as much as 43 944 rubles. In April, according to preliminary estimates, another thousand rubles higher.
Often you hear the indignant exclamations of uninitiated citizens; But where did they get such a salary ?! Firstly, it is the accrued salary, without deduction of income tax. Minus 13 percent and be closer to the truth. Secondly, this is the average temperature in the hospital. We have a huge gap in incomes of citizens. According to the analytical center under the government of the Russian Federation, the difference between 10 percent of the population with the highest income and 10 percent with the lowest income is 15,6 times! There is no such abyss in any country with a developed economy.
Do not be seduced by the growth of per capita incomes. More indicative for assessing the standard of living of the population are “real disposable cash incomes”. They are determined by deducting from expenses the costs of mandatory payments (taxes and fees, interest on loans, etc.), adjusted for inflation. So, according to preliminary estimates of the same Rosstat, real incomes in the first quarter not only did not increase, but even decreased by 0,2 percent compared to the same period last year.
It seems a little, but if you do not look back. The Analytical Center under the Government of the Russian Federation draws attention to the fact that the real disposable cash incomes of the population by the end of 2019 were 6,4 percent below the 2014 level. So until the 14th year we still have to swim and swim.
The night is young
Well, fractions of a percent in the red do not scare us. However, further expert forecasts are really worrying. According to analysts at the Institute for Social Policy of the Higher School of Economics, in the first quarter, the effects of coronavirus have not yet fully manifested themselves. Then the ruble weakening and falling oil prices had a greater impact on the situation. At the same time, existing income trends continued in January-February, but from the second half of March, experts noted, the situation began to change dramatically.
The Institute of Social Problems has developed several scenarios. According to the baseline scenario, a decrease in real disposable cash income may amount to 5 percent.
The Vnesheconombank Research Institute presents an even darker forecast: real cash incomes of the population in the second quarter may collapse by 17,5 percent! And by the end of 2020, they will decrease by 6,5 percent.
Where is the nest egg?
OMI, a marketing research company and Platforma, conducted a survey that resulted in nearly 50 percent of respondents reporting a significant drop in family income with the onset of the spread of coronavirus. Question: how to get out? How to feed a family? Answer: take out the stash. But it was not there.
According to a survey by the Rosgosstrakh Life insurance company and Otkrytie FC, 63,6 percent of Russians have no savings at all, and most of those who have them will spend it completely in 2-6 months.
In May, the research holding Romir asked its respondents: how much free money is left in the family after the most necessary expenses (food, payment for housing and communal services, transport, communications, etc.)? It turned out that an average of 17,7 thousand rubles. That's the whole nest egg. By the way, these free 17 thousand are somehow poorly correlated with those 15 thousand on which half the country supposedly lives.
What more could you ask for?
Either God offended the Russians with appetite, or Rosstat cheats again, but it turns out that many of our fellow citizens have fewer financial requests than they actually have. Even the president of Romira, Andrei Milekhin, is surprised: “The declared income of households by Rosstat has been three years ahead of the“ desired ”by Russians. The latest survey showed that the desired income of Russians per family of three people (two working) is an average of 85 rubles. And from the data of the Federal State Statistics Service for 700 and the first quarter of 2019, it follows that such an average family has an average income of 2020 rubles. Miracles, isn't it?
However, the appetites are varied. 22 percent of Russians would like to have an income per family of three people more than 120 thousand rubles a month. Income from 90 to 120 thousand would suit 21 percent of respondents. From 60 to 90 thousand - 22 percent. From 45 to 60 thousand per month will suit 18 percent of respondents. Only 20 percent agree on 40-4 thousand. And 2 percent said they could live “normally” with an income of less than 20 thousand rubles a month.
What affects people's needs is hard to say. This is probably very individual. But it is noticed that geography also affects. The residents of the Northwestern Federal District have the biggest appetites - give them at least 100 thousand a month for a family. Residents of the Ural, Central and Far Eastern districts also have higher-than-average requests. For the rest, financial appetites do not exceed the average real income in the country, sociologists say.