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In recent years, difficult economic conditions in the Russian society have determined the urgency of assessing both objective and subjective well-being of the population. The article aims at identifying boundaries and characteristics of subjective well-being and ill-being in the contemporary Russian society. Based on the all-Russian survey conducted in 2018 by the Institute of Sociology of the FCTAS RAS and cluster analysis, the author identifies the zones of subjective well-being, ill-being, and an intermediate zone. The zone of subjective well-being is smaller than the zone of subjective ill-being; representatives of the former in general appreciate all aspects of their lives including those not related to income and consumption, while subjective ill-being can be defined by dissatisfaction with one’s material situation and leisure and holiday opportunities although together with satisfaction with other aspects of life. The zone of subjective ill-being is determined not so much by low incomes as by the problems its representatives face every day and are not able to solve on their own. Differences in the situation of the representatives of two polar zones lead to their different requests for social policy, which is mostly reflected not in different priorities but in the intensity of the request. The key areas in which the entire population expects assistance from the state are the guarantees of fair wages and functioning health care system. The situation of two groups indicates that without solving these problems the zone of subjective ill-being is unlikely to decline even under the rising incomes. As for localization, the zone of ill-being is typical for rural areas, elders and manual labor, while the zone of well-being is typical for the young urban ‘middle class’.

About the authors

S V Mareeva

National Research University “Higher School of Economics”; Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS

Author for correspondence.


Myasnitskaya St., 20, Moscow, 101000, Russia; Krzhizhanovskogo St, 24/35-5, Moscow, 117218, Russia


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Copyright (c) 2018 Mareeva S.V.

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