Russians Drowning in Outstanding Debt, Survey Shows

A survey by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) has revealed that more than half of Russians (51%) have outstanding loans, while the percentage is even higher (72%) in the age group between 25 and 34 years, TASS reports.

At the same time, the majority of respondents (84%) said they did not plan to take a loan or make a purchase on credit in the next six months.

The percentage of people with outstanding loans in the age group between 18 and 24 and those who are older than 60 are 37% and 31%, respectively.

The majority of Russians surveyed (74%), mainly people over the age of 60 (86%), as well as residents of two capitals (79%) and cities with a population of 500,000 to 950,000 people (79%) noted that they were not going to take a loan or make a purchase on credit in the next two to three years.

However, 10% of respondents, most often those in the age group from 25 to 34 (18%) and from between 35 and 44 (14%), plan to take a loan to buy real estate. Another 6% of Russians surveyed, mainly young people aged 18 to 24 (11%), are going to take a loan to buy a car.

The survey was conducted in the form of a phone interview on July 25 among 1,600 Russians aged 18 and older. For this sampling, the maximum error size with a probability of 95% does not exceed 2.5%.

The growth in consumer lending has alarmed some economic policy officials, who note that a growing number of Russians are using a quick swipe of plastic or relying on payday lenders to cope with hard times brought on by Western sanctions and slumping prices for oil, one of the country’s major export commodities.

The spending has lifted the economy but with ballooning consumer debt that could help start a recession, analysts warn.