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Social problems

This survey took place between August 23–30, 2018 and was conducted throughout all of Russia in both urban and rural settings. The survey was carried out among 1600 people over the age of 18 in 136 localities of 52 of the country’s regions. The survey was conducted as a personal interview in respondents’ homes. The answer distribution is presented as percentages of the number of participants along with data from previous surveys.

The statistical error of these studies for a selection of 1600 people (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed:

3.4% for indicators around 50%
2.9% for indicators around 25%/75%
2.0% for indicators around 10%/90%
1.5% for indicators around 5%/95%

In August 2018, the Levada Center repeated its regular survey of the social problems which most concern the public. Compared with the same period last year, practically all issues were chosen more frequently, i.e. respondents have started to show more concern than in 2017 with, most prominently, issues concerning the welfare and income of citizens: the rise in prices and unemployment, poverty, the gap between the rich and poor, and the increased cost and inaccessibility of education. In addition to this, there is more concern with the rise of unemployment, documented in studies performed in August, than in previous years — practically every second Russian is worried about this issue now (the rise of negative expectations for employment was indicated in the results of “Index of Expectations for Unemployment” in July 2018).

Among other issues, concern grew significantly over the past year for environmental degradation (14% in 2017 versus 25% in 2018) and rise in the crime rate (from 8% to 15%). However these indicators are likely leveling out at the 2012-2013 levels after the rise of social optimism in 2014-2017. In the past on several occasions, we have noted the substantial rise of public confidence in defense and law enforcement agencies (police, army, etc.), in light of which the public increasingly perceived everything to be all right in terms of protection against terrorist acts and crime.  

The public is worried least (in terms of similar questions with numerous possible answers) about the situation in the Northern Caucasus, conflicts in the government, the spread of AIDS, and limitations of civil rights.

WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING ISSUES IN OUR SOCIETY WORRY YOU THE MOST, AND WHICH ARE THE MOST SEVERE? (respondents were shown a card from which they could choose more than one answer and/or write in their own; ranked in descending order according to August 2018)

Jul. 98 Jul. 00 Jul. 05 Jun. 08 Aug. 13 Aug. 14 Aug. 16 Aug. 17 Aug. 18
Price increases 40 83 71 82 69 71 72 61 72
Poverty/impoverishment of the majority of the population -* 53 45 55 40 47 45 52
Increase in unemployment 65 51 39 25 36 26 37 33 48
Corruption, bribery 32 30 24 27 39 26 31 33 33
Lack of access to various kinds of health care 29 31 23 23 22 26 31
Economic crisis, decrease in industrial and agricultural production 57 39 33 29 29 28 31 28 30
Extreme gap between the rich and poor, income inequality 41 38 27 35 33 30 26 25 30
Environmental degradation 24 22 17 23 19 14 11 14 25
Moral/cultural crisis 26 26 22 26 30 18 16 15 21
Increasing cost of/inaccessibility of education 27 26 20 16 16 13 21
Rise in drug use 29 29 22 14 14 12 18
Rise in crime rates 50 53 29 27 15 8 8 8 15
Tyrannical government officials 9 10 14 12 11 12 14
Influx of migrants/immigrants 7 12 27 24 11 10 10
Weakness of government authority 37 16 11 9 9 6 9 10 9
Lack of truth in the courts 5 7 7 6 6 8 9
Rise in nationalism, deterioration of interethnic relations 13 13 4 5 10 11 6 7 7
Rude/cruel police behavior 6 9 5 5 5 6 7
Disruptions in salary, pension, benefits and other payments 67 19 4 4 3 4 6 6 7
The threat of explosions and other acts of terrorism where you live 16 15 4 5 6 8 12 7
Limits on civil rights and democratic freedoms (freedom of speech, freedom of the press) 2 2 3 3 3 4 6
An increased AIDS incidence rate 6 7 2 2 4
Conflicts between different government branches at various levels 12 6 3 2 2 3 3
Terrorist attacks in Chechnya and the North Caucasus 2 3 2 3
Other 2 1 2 3 2 2 2 3 3
It is difficult to say 2 1 1 1 2 3 2 2 1

* Option was not included in the list of possible answers.

Translated by Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (formerly Monterey Institute of International Studies).

The ANO Levada Center has been forcibly included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents. Read the Director of the Levada Center’s statement of disagreement with this decision here.

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