Динамика численности и мобильность среднего класса в России в 2000–2017 гг.
This article presents the results of a longitudinal survey of the middle class in Russia based
on data from the Higher School of Economics Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey
(RLMS-HSE), demonstrating the transformation of the middle class from 2000 to 2017.
We use a three-criteria methodological scheme for identifying the middle class (welfare,
occupational status and self-identification). According to this methodology, the intersection
of all three criteria defines the core of the middle class, the intersection of any of the two
criteria – the semi-core, and the possession of a single criterion defines the periphery.
The generalized middle class is defined as the sum of the core and the semi-core.
Supplemented by the periphery, the generalized middle class outlines the boundaries
of the aggregate middle class. We analyze its dynamics and mobility and the modification
of the core, the semi-core and the periphery through different stages of Russia’s economic
development. Throughout the 2000s, there was a steady increase in the proportion of
the middle class in Russia. However, according to monitoring data, within 2000–2017,
the high mobility of the middle-class composition was recorded, with a significant increase
in the size of the generalized middle class. Its composition changed not only due to the
inflow of new households, but also due to the dropout. Only about half of the generalized
middle class remained stable from year to year. This fact cannot but cause concern
because, despite the plurality of opinions regarding the role of the middle class in societal
development, its stability is generally viewed as key to stable state development.