The Russian Federation is geographically the world’s largest nation, hosting a remarkably diverse population of approximately 145.6 million people.
Russia experiences severe wealth and social inequality, with rural areas being particularly disadvantaged. Most development takes place in urban areas, especially Moscow, the countries capital. As a result, only a quarter of the population continues to live in rural areas.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Russia since the 1990s.
At the start of 2022, more than 19 million people were estimated to be living in poverty in Russia, approximately 13% of the population.
One in four children, that is 7.5 million children, live in poverty. According to UNICEF, at least 3 million more children will fall into poverty due to the war with Ukraine that started in February 2022.
Children are disproportionately affected by poverty, facing long-term consequences on their physical, social and intellectual development.
Russia has an unemployment rate of 4%, affecting almost 6 million people.
However, people who are in employment also struggle because of low wages.
Young people often find it hard to get work. Around 17% are unemployed and 12% not in employment, education, or training.
Experiencing unemployment as a young person can lead to a long-term social disadvantage.
On average, around 20% of 3- to 5-year-olds are not enrolled in early childhood education programmes in Russia. As a result, over a million young children are missing preschool. However, significant regional disparities mean that in some areas, 60% of young children are not enrolled.
Early childhood education can be particularly beneficial for children from low-income families, setting them up for success in later stages of education and contributing to their social and cognitive development, as well as their social inclusion.