Sharp increase in number of poor Russians


New statistical figures show that the number of poor in Russia has increased sharply over the first months of 2009.

It is first of all low-income workers, families with children and village people who suffer from the negative trend, newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports.

According to the Russian Statistical Service, the number of Russians living under the minimum income limit increased with six million people over the first three months of the year to a total of 24,5 million people. That is 1,5 million more people than in the same period in 2008 and 17,5 percent of the total population.

The increase comes after a sharp decrease in poverty in 2008. Then, the number of poor decreased with the same six million people. The official average minimum income in Russia now amounts to 5083 RUB, reports.

Despite the negative development, there is still some way to go before the situation equals the one in 1998-1999. Then, the number of poor boosted 7,6 percent to a total of 28,4 percent in the course of two years.