The vast majority of Russians say they are happy

The vast majority of Russians say they are happy
85% of Russians say they are happy
By bne IntelliNews November 25, 2018

The vast majority of Russians (84%) feel happy and say that being part of a family, being healthy and having a good job are reasons to be cheerful, the state owned pollster, the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM), said on November 23 reports Tass.

"The level of happiness among Russians is still high, as 84% of those surveyed said they were content. The number is high in every social and demographic group but a thing to note is that people who consider their financial situation to be solid (94%) tend to be more optimistic than those complaining about a dire financial situation (66%)," the pollster said in a statement.

Family is the biggest contributor to happiness, the poll found, and its importance has grown in the past six months.

"Today, 33% of the poll’s participants say they feel upbeat thanks to their families (up from 30% six months ago)," the pollster said as cited by Tass.

The number of people enjoying their lives because they feel healthy rose from 16% to 21% since March 2018.

Others said that children and a good job were the key contributors to happiness: each of these two categories were up by 15% over the period.

Surprisingly the slow growth in real wages that has depressed consumption didn't play a big role.

The average nominal monthly wage in September was up by 11% y/y to RUB42,200 (€530). The decline in unemployment and emergence of labour shortages in some growth centres have supported strong wage growth. In the first half of this year, the rise in wages was sufficient to make up for the lower growth in other income streams (pensions, wealth transfers, capital income and entrepreneur income).

After four years of contraction, real disposable household incomes increased slightly in the first half of this year relative to the same period last year. The slight slowdown in the pace of wage increases from January-March brought real income growth to a halt. But real incomes in the third quarter were unchanged from a year earlier. The weak trend in real incomes partly accounts for the low growth in retail sales. The average nominal wage in September was up 11% y/y, while the volume of retail sales grew by only 2.2% y/y.

At the same time unemployment remains at post-Soviet lows. Russia’s ILO unemployment rate has continued to decline this year, falling to just 4.5% in September. The national unemployment rate in September 2017 was 5%. The unemployment rate in both Moscow and St. Petersburg was below 2%.

"Financial difficulties are the primary reason for feeling dissatisfied (12%)," the pollster went on to say.

In addition, "the poll’s participants also get frustrated and depressed because of the adverse situation in the country (9%), poor health, low wages and late paychecks (5% for each of those reasons)."

A third (32%) of those polled said that most of their family members and friends were content, while 16% said that most people in their immediate circle were discontented with their lives. Half of those polled (48%) said there were equal numbers of happy and unhappy people around them.