Beggars at churches around Moscow generally make at least 11,000 rubles ($200) a month, and some earn as much as twice that amount — enough money to afford to live in the city, according to a study by the Higher School of Economics.
Church beggars earn an average of 870 rubles ($15) a day on weekends and 380 rubles ($6.50) on weekdays, the respected state school's Open Economy think tank said in a statement last week.
Weekends are apparently the most profitable time for begging, with the maximum takes on those days averaging out at 4,000 rubles, more than three times the average max on weekdays: 1,250 rubles. The minimum average on these days is 65 rubles and 40 rubles, respectively.
The amount earned varies considerably based on the age and former employment of the beggar. People over the age of 58 apparently make the least: only 210 rubles a day on average.
The vast majority of beggars outside churches are men of working age. In the group of individuals aged 24 to 39, more than two-thirds (68 percent) are men. Among 40- to 59-year-olds, more than three-fourths (77 percent) are men.
However, over the age of 60, the exact opposite is true. About three-fourths of those beggars are women, according to a survey of 127 beggars.
The study only considered beggars at churches. Other locations such as metro stations were not taken into account.