The poor getting poorer faster, the rich slower
On average for the country, this indicator – let's call it the backward-looking index of personal prosperity – came in at 0.38, meaning people who saw a deterioration in their financial situation outnumber people who saw an improvement by a ratio of 3:1. Meanwhile, it was 0.63 among young people and 0.21 among pre-retirees.
The figures for people employed in the public and private sectors significantly differ (0.44 and 0.29, respectively). The changes that have taken place in various markets have of course hit people working in these markets. Yet they have affected state employees to a much lesser extent: their incomes don’t depend on the volume of products sold, while the state compensates them for rising expenses by indexing wages. Non-working pensioners (0.50) felt the economic pain even less. They have a low but stable income, which is least affected by shockwaves from the crisis.
The industry in which a person works is a significant factor. Workers at metallurgical companies, some of the hardest hit by sanctions, registered only 0.14 in the index, while among those employed in oil and gas extraction and processing – where sanctions are due to come into effect only on December 1 – the figure was 2.40. Thus, arguably sanctions significantly impact perceptions of changes in people’s financial situation.
Though of greater importance here is not the level of prosperity expressed in some monetary or nonmonetary units (e.g. living area or brand of car) but rather one’s perception of the dynamics, income does affect that perception. As can be seen in Figure 4, among those whose average monthly income over the past three months was no more than RUB 12,000, the prosperity index was only 0.18; meanwhile, among those whose income was over RUB60,000, it jumps to 0.69.