About 32 million people - more than one-fifth of Russia's population - take home less money than the government calculates they need to survive, a news agency reported Saturday.

The figure, which amounts to 21.8 percent of the population, is up slightly from a year ago, the Interfax news agency said, citing the State Statistics Committee.The government has set the official subsistence income at about $840 a year.

The figures may not be as dire as they sound, since many Russians underreport their income and many supplement their wages by growing their own food. Still, they provide a statistical framework for evaluating Russia's rampant poverty.

Earlier this week, Interfax reported that the average income in Russia rose faster than inflation in the past year, and now exceeds $2,040 a year.