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Life in Transition: Albania

Key findings (%, weighted)

Albania Average Transition region Average Western Europe
Satisfied with life 39 43 72
Trust in others 46 34 42
Perceive less corruption than four years ago 19 21 9
Concerned about climate change 46 54 54
Support both market economy and democracy 43 34 42
Households affected by the crisis 59 49 31

Impact of the crisis

  • The economic crisis has affected a majority of households. Around 60 per cent of respondents say that their households have been significantly affected, compared to a transition region average of about 50 per cent. This is despite the fact that Albania was one of the few countries to maintain positive growth during the crisis. There is little variation across age groups, although the upper-income category have been less affected than those lower down the income scale.

Life satisfaction

  • Satisfaction with life has dropped slightly since 2006. 
The overall average is close to, but a little below, that for the transition region as a whole. The drop is particularly marked among the over-60s, whereas it has remained fairly stable among younger people. Unhappiness is also prevalent among low-income groups, where only 20 per cent of respondents declare that they are satisfied with life, compared to more than 30 per cent in 2006.

    Optimism for the future has also declined, although from a high level. More than two-thirds of people still feel that future generations will have a better life than at present, compared with less than 50 per cent for the transition region as a whole. However, this belief is weaker among younger people.

Attitudes towards democracy and market economy

  • Democracy and the market economy attract strong support. More than 40 per cent of respondents believe that a combination of the two is better than any other option. However, more than one-fifth would, under some circumstances, favour a planned economy combined with an authoritarian government. This belief is particularly prevalent among older people.

    Respondents generally believe that some important features of a stable democracy are missing. Only about one-third think that Albania has free and fair elections, law and order or a strong political opposition. About one-quarter believe that the court system defends individual rights against abuse by the state.

Generalised and institutional trust

  • The level of trust in people has risen significantly since 2006. Nearly half of respondents think that people can generally be trusted, indicating a higher level of trust than in most other transition countries and higher even than the average for the five western European comparator countries (France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom). There is little variation across age groups, although trust tends to be higher among upper-income groups than those at the lower- or middle-income levels.

    Trust in financial institutions has held up well in the economic crisis. Banks and the financial system are trusted by nearly 60 per cent of respondents, compared with about one-quarter in the western comparators. This perhaps reflects the resilience of the Albanian financial system throughout the crisis and its limited exposure to global financial difficulties. The police and armed forces are the most trusted public institutions, while political parties, parliament and trade unions merit the least confidence.

Corruption perception

  • Perceptions of corruption in public institutions have generally fallen since 2006. Less than 20 per cent of respondents think that corruption has dropped since 2006, but this figure is comparable to most other transition countries. The public health system remains the sector most frequently associated with irregular payments. Nevertheless, whereas about half of respondents in 2006 indicated that such payments were common, the figure has dropped by 2010 to around 40 per cent. The percentage of those making irregular payments for other public institution services is generally between 10 per cent and 20 per cent, which is broadly comparable to the transition region average.

Priorities for government spending

  • Spending on education is seen as the biggest priority. Nearly 40 per cent of respondents think that education should take precedence, with health care close behind at 33 per cent. This ordering is reversed in most other transition countries and in the western comparators. There is little support for directing government resources to helping the poor as a first priority.

Full report

  • The Life in Transition Survey provides vivid evidence of precisely how lives have been affected by the global economic crisis and its aftermath.

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