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This article presents the results of the authors’ research, conducted in one of Russia’s more significant agricultural regions – Orel Province. The study was based on an integrative approach, which involves a combination of objective and subjective criteria and sub-criteria for inclusion into the impoverished strata. The sample’s representativeness (n=1154) is guaranteed by age, gender, area of employment and type of settlement, with margin of error for the population sample amounting to no more than 2.3%. The method for interpreting the results of the study is based on dividing the community into impoverished and non-impoverished strata, as it was done for analyzing poverty and inequality in modern Russia in a report of the same name by the Institute of Sociology of the RAS. Such an interpretive approach allowed for the authors to identify considerable discrepancies in the qualitative assessments and quantitative characteristics of the phenomenon of poverty by the highlighted strata consisting of the impoverished and non-impoverished. The research results allowed for isolating the primary reasons leading to poverty, based on the evaluations of both the impoverished and the non-impoverished.
The authors figured out that, when members of the population identify their position in the social structure of the region, the non-impoverished tend to underestimate their status in comparison to the objective values of poverty criteria, while the impoverished tend to over-estimate their social standing. Comparing the impoverished and non-impoverished based on social-professional criteria confirmed one of the clauses of the social stratification theory, the broad interpretation of which suggests a direct correlation between one’s education level and belonging to non-impoverished groups of the population. The general conclusion to the study suggests that the impoverished groups of Orel Province’s population lead less fulfilled lives when compared to the non-impoverished, especially when it comes to commercialized forms of recreation, as well as that the former find themselves in a state of deprivation, despite their own desire to position themselves outside of the poverty zone.
The authors draw the conclusion that, given a situation when poverty is a global issue, with it becoming a target index for an increasing amount of countries and regions in the last few years, singling out poverty should become a priority for Russian social policy, both on a federal and regional level.
poverty, poverty criteria, causes of poverty, social stratification, social structure
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