Survey: Russians believe number of poor increasing

Russians believe that the number of poor in the country is significantly more than reported in official statistics which say 20% of the population is poor. According to the recent survey conducted by the Public Opinion fund only 5% of respondents believe that less than one-third of the population is poor, down from 10% in July 2001. Today 30% of those questioned believe that 31-50% of the Russian population is poor. 15% consider that 61-70% of the country's residents are poor and 15% think 71-80% of Russians are living in poverty. In addition, 8% of respondents believe the entire Russian population is living in poverty.

The government plans to reduce the number of poor in the country by 50% over the next four years. Nevertheless, 61% of Russians do not think the government will be successful in reaching its goal. Meanwhile, 19% of respondents said the government would achieve its aim. The poor relate the most pessimistically to the government's achieving its goal.

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