In 2003, 62.7% of Russia's population lived in urban areas. That high level of urbanization has an ambiguous effect on citizens' welfare during periods of economic transfor mation, and, unlike in other Eastern European countries, urban poverty in Russia is no less problematic than rural poverty.
Thus, according to data from the 10th round of the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS), the lion's share of the poor live in cities other than the two capitals (Moscow and St. Petersburg): 56% of the first income quin tile (i.e., 56% of the lowest 20% by welfare) and 60% of the second quintile, or almost twice as many as in rural areas. (The 'capitals' are home to only 5% of the first quintile and 9% of the second.) What factors influence the welfare of city dwellers, and what are the social risks of urban life? Which social programs, aimed specifically at supporting urban resi dents, would be most effective?
We draw our picture of urban households on the basis of data on households' social and demographic attributes, consumption, and geographic distribution from the urban population subset of the National Household Welfare Study (NOBUS), conducted by the Russian Federal State Statistics Service in 2003.