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Russian statistics agency reports decline in number of poor people

Moscow, 13 February: The number of Russian citizens in poverty has fallen by nearly 10 per cent over the past year, but every fifth resident of Russia still lives below the poverty line. This information, based on a study of the budgets of Russian families in the third quarter of 2002, was today distributed by the State Statistics Committee.

At present, 30.9m people, or 21.6 per cent of the country's population, have income below the subsistence level. According to experts, at the beginning of the last year 45.1m residents of Russia lived in extreme poverty.

At the same time, the subsistence level in the country is continuing to grow. According to statisticians, over the year the subsistence level in the country has increased by R174 - reaching R1,893 per month per person. Thus, a working-age resident of Russia needs R2,065 per month to obtain the most basic goods and services, a retired person R1,432 and a child R1,880.

Source: ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in Russian 1216 gmt 13 Feb 03

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