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Life in Transition: Armenia

Key findings (%, weighted)

Armenia Average Transition region Average Western Europe
Satisfied with life 22 43 72
Trust in others 8 34 42
Perceive less corruption than four years ago 20 21 9
Concerned about climate change 61 54 54
Support both market economy and democracy 44 34 42
Households affected by the crisis 62 49 31

Impact of the crisis

  • As in the rest of the transition region, the crisis has impacted on the livelihoods of many Armenians. More than three-fifths of respondents report that their households have been affected adversely, which is significantly higher than the transition region average. The impact has been felt most among middle-aged people and the lower socio-economic classes.

Life satisfaction

  • Only about one-fifth of respondents are satisfied with life, ranking Armenia near the bottom of the transition country scale in this respect. Life satisfaction has dropped two percentage points since 2006 and is about 20 percentage points lower than the transition region average. It has fallen almost uniformly across age and in-come categories, except among the higher-income bracket of the population where it rose by two percentage points. In the highest-income group it approached 50 per cent, which is comparable to the transition average.

    Optimism in a better future has fallen by about 10 per cent since 2006. While the average optimism level in the transition region stands at about 50 per cent, only about one-third of Armenian respondents believe in a better future for their children. The drop of optimism has been greatest among the oldest age groups in the population (by about 20 percentage points) and among middle-income respondents.

Attitudes towards democracy and market economy

  • More than two-fifths of respondents prefer a combination of a market economy and democracy. This is well above the proportion of those who favour democracy and, under some circumstances, a planned economy or those without an obvious preference for a particular economic and political system.

    Less than one-fifth of respondents think that Armenia has some of the basic democratic institutions. However, a relatively high percentage of respondents (well above 50 per cent) think there is peace and stability in their country.   

Generalised and institutional trust

  • The level of trust among respondents, at only eight per cent, is the lowest in the transition region and has dropped from about 20 per cent since 2006. The already low level has especially fallen among the younger and the middle-aged groups and among the lower-income sections of the population.

    The level of trust in public institutions is also quite low and well under the average for the western European comparator countries. Trust in certain institutions – the presidency, the government and parliament – has risen, but less than one-third of respondents have confidence in their institutions overall. The armed forces merit the highest level of trust, while religious institutions have experienced the biggest drop (almost 40 percentage points).

Corruption perception

  • There has been an increase in the level of perceived corruption. About 20 per cent of Armenian respondents (more than in 2006) believe that irregular payments are used when dealing with various branches of the public sector, and particularly the health care system. Similar numbers have actually used unofficial payments in pub-lic services in the past year. Over a quarter reported bribing the road police, of which 70 per cent were either asked or expected to bribe. If we consider average corruption rates in public services across all sectors, Arme-nia would rank in the bottom third of the transition region. This is not surprising because the satisfaction with public service quality and efficiency of service is low and falling at the fifth fastest rate in the region.

Priorities for government spending

  • As in the rest of the transition region, Armenians mostly favour extra government spending on health care. Almost half of respondents would like to see extra health care expenditure, which is well above the average for the western European comparators. There is also a strong preference for more spending on education and helping the poor.

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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