Goal of Research: identification and analysis of new trends in social and economic behavior of Russian households, description of diet composition and nutritional status of the population as the most important factor that ensures the maintenance of health, efficiency and creative potential of the nation.
Empirical Base of Research - database "Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of HSE" (RLMS-HSE), 1994 - 2012, which combines the results of 17 rounds of the longitudinal panel survey of households.
- Despite the challenges of economic development, compounded by pessimistic forecasts, the data shows growth in real household income. Monthly total household income after a slight contraction in 2011 to 1.8% increased by 10.7 % in 2012, reaching its highest level observed in the monitoring since 1992. This growth was achieved mainly due to salary increase at state-owned enterprises as well as in private sector. In general, over the years 1998-2012 the total monthly household income increased 3.3 times (from 11.4 thousand to 37.9 thousand in 2012 rubles). The main sources of income are wages and government transfer payments. In 2012, they accounted for respectively 51.2% and 34.9% of total household income. While there was a constant increase in the share of wage income, which was supported mainly by increase in the share of income from work in private enterprises (from 8% in 1998 to 23.8% in 2012 ), but in recent years the pace of this growth was minimal.
- Income growth was accompanied by the increase in household expenditures. In a situation of improving material well-being families often changed saving strategies and more clearly showed the desire to raise the level of consumption. Monthly household expenditure after the reduction in 2011 of 0.9%, in 2012 grew by 14.4 %. Food expenditures increased by only 3.2%, while non-food expenditures - by 19.5%. Overall, from 1998 to 2012 monthly household expenditures increased 2.7 times (from 14.9 thousand to 40.2 thousand in 2012 rubles.). Over the years the share of food expenditures consistently decreased from 72.6% in 1992 to 40.2% in 2012. As the result the expenditure structure of Russian households continues to became more similar to expenditure structure typical for households in Western countries.
- The rise of non-food expenditures led to increase in expenditures on durables, the trend which was not interrupted even during the economic crisis. In 2012 the share of these expenditures accounted 14.3% of the monthly household expenditure. The most disturbing trends include the constant growth of household expenditures on housing and utilities, which for the past 15 years have quintupled and exerted a particularly negative impact on the lives of poor and low-income families. But at the same time in 2012 for the first time since 1998, there was a reduction in expenditures for utilities in monthly expenditure patterns of households (from 13.2% in 2011 to 12.6%).
- After a brief period of slow contraction caused by the crisis a new increase in the level of income differentiation of households was revealed. In 2012, the incomes of 20% the wealthiest households grew almost five times faster than the incomes of the poorest 20%. The income gap between the upper and lower household income quintiles, which fell from 6.7 times in 2008 to 4.1 times in 2011, increased in 2012 to 4.6 times. The main reason for this differentiation of household income, as before, is the difference in wages.
- The data showed another rise of subjective well-being, which, however, was unstable From 2000 to 2012, the proportion of Russians satisfied with their life in general, increased from 17.6 to 52.6%, including last year by 3.4%. High level of subjective well-being was often accompanied with the implementation of a wider range of active modes of social and economic adaptation. However, most Russians, although maintaining hopes for the best, were rather anxious about their future and somehow prepared for the worst in anticipation of the next crisis shocks. A significant differentiation in the levels of satisfaction of life and financial situation was observed.
- Based on people's perceptions, the threat of unemployment continues to be among the troublesome problems. In 2012 55.8% were concerned about the possibility of losing their jobs, which is about similar proportion compared to pre-crisis and escalation of the crisis periods. People more often stopped working on their own initiative than as a result of downsizing or closure. Another decline was revealed in the proportion of employees who want to find a new job, one of the causes of this decline was the increase in the level of job satisfaction, from 43.3% in 2003 to 65.7% in 2012.
- The changes in economic behavior and labor attitudes of pensioners (men 60 years and older, women 55 years and older) were revealed which do not fully correspond to the plans of expansion of employment of people of pension age. The positive trends include growth in the share of working pensioners, from 14% in 1994 to 20% in 2012. The average individual income in this group is twice and in some years even three times higher compared to the group of non-working pensioners (in 2012 - 24 thousand rubles per month versus 11.7 thousand rubles per month). But at the same time, if compared, the wages of working pensioners was 1.5 times lower than of those who have not reached retirement age, considering equal working hours and a higher level of education of pensioners. It was also established that the vast majority of current and future pensioners expect to rely only on a state pension as a source of their income.
- One of the actual problems is improving the quality of nutrition, which seems to be now more important than the problem of malnutrition. At the moment the composition of diet does not meet the needs for nutrients and energy in all age groups. The percentage of energy from fat is higher than recommended in the diet of children, and adults, particularly for men (37%), while there is deficiency in essential vitamins and minerals. These negative trends are the most important risk factor for obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers. The trend in nutrition status over the past 12 years shows that the proportion of people with overweight and obesity among men increased by 1.7 times, among women - 1.3 times. Today, 54 % of men and 59% of women suffer from overweight and obesity, whereas malnutrition refers to 3% of the adult population.
- Diets of both children and adult population are deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. It is observed about 40% deficit of calcium and 20% deficit of vitamin B1 and iron in the nutrition of young children aged 2 to 7 years. In the diets of children 7-17 years there is the largest deficit in calcium content - more than 50%. Content in the diet of vitamins A, B1, B2 can satisfy the needs of the child's body only by 70%. Body's need for school-age child in vitamin C can be achieved by 80%, in iron - by 89%. Calculated amounts of essential vitamins and calcium in adult men's diet are below the recommended values, including: vitamin B1 - 20%, vitamin B2 - 30%, vitamin C - 33%, calcium - 40%. In adult women's diet the level of vitamin A is only 79%, vitamins B1 and B2 - 54%, vitamin C - 61%, calcium - 56% and iron - 69% of recommended.
- The vast majority of Russians blithely relate to the choice of food in terms of their usefulness. Only 16% of people prefer products with reduced fat, 11% - choose foods low in salt, 5% - buy products containing sugar substitutes, 10% - prefer low-calorie products. Increased attention to the consumption of healthy food is only observed in the elderly. The most important barriers to proper nutrition, is not only a lack of money, but also a lack of knowledge and skills for healthy food that highlights the problem of educating people the principles and skills of healthy, balanced diet.
Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of Results: the data base "Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of HSE " (RLMS-HSE), 1994 - 2012 with documentation, is publicly available at http://www.hse.ru/rlms. In 2013, 56 publications, including 14 publications in English, were prepared by HSE researches using the RLMS-HSE data base. Over 700 new users requested access to the RLMS-HSE data in 2013. Total number of users who have gotten access to the RLMS-HSE data from 2011 to 2013 is 2100. The 1st International Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of HSE User Conference took place in May, 2013. Researches from U.S., Japan, UK, Belgium, Spain, and Finland participated in the conference along with Russian scientists. Program and brief summaries of papers presented at the conference, are available at: http://www.hse.ru/rlms/conference
Field of application: microeconomics, sociology, nutrition science, social policy.