Resourcefullness of the Mass Strata of Population: State and Dynamics in 2008-2020




social stratification, social structure, population resources, population incomes, human capital, social capital, welfare


Based on the data from all-Russian surveys carried out by the Institute of Sociology of the FCTAS RAS, the paper shows that the level of economic, qualification, power and social resources among Russians is very low: a quarter of the population do not have any of them, and a third part have only one. The population resourcefulness is gradually decreasing — in 2008-2020, the share of the group with no resources increased in relative terms by almost one third, and the highly resourceful group decreased by 21%. The last economic crisis caused by the pandemic significantly contributed to that. The share of those who have savings has decreased while the share of those have creditor-debitor burden has sharply increased accompanied by the deterioration of the group structure. In parallel, the number of individuals who are able to receive support from their social surroundings to cope with life problems have decreased and the same goes for those have power resources, especially potential to influence at work. As for the qualification resource, although the number of people with higher education has grown significantly during this time, their incomes have relatively dropped and the role of this resource in ensuring the well-being of Russians has decreased. All this indicates that the “safety margin” of the country's population has decreased under the influence of a series of economic crises of various nature. Judging by the stability of this trend, it will continue in the future. Taking into account priorities of the social policy of Russia we conclude that for the evolution of the social structure of Russian society this means an intensification of trends that have been traced in recent years: a gradual increase in the share of “lower classes” with the domination of shallow poverty among them; stability of the share of middle strata against the background of increasing instability in their status, and, finally, the decrease of the mass population strata which can be the foundation to develop the middle class in Russia. Among significant impacts of the decline in the resourcefullness of Russians is the inevitable growth of depressive, aggressive and protest moods among them.

Acknowledgements. The study was carried out under the grant of the Russian Science Foundation No. 17-78-20125-P “Behavioral strategies of the population in the post-crisis period: How will the new everyday realities of the life of Russians affect the ‘corridor of opportunities’ for the development of the country?”.

Author Biography

Natalia E. Tikhonova, HSE University

  • HSE University, Moscow, Russia
    • Dr. Sci. (Soc.), Professor, Professor-Researcher 
    • Principal Researcher at the Institute of Social Policy