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Life in Transition: Croatia

Key findings (%, weighted)

Croatia Average Transition region Average Western Europe
Satisfied with life 48 43 72
Trust in others 28 34 42
Perceive less corruption than four years ago 10 21 9
Concerned about climate change 50 54 54
Support both market economy and democracy 21 34 42
Households affected by the crisis 55 49 31

Impact of the crisis

  • More than one-half of households have been affected adversely by the crisis, slightly above the transition region average.
    There is a noticeable difference across age groups, with only a little over one-third of the over-60s reporting that their households have suffered. Upper-income groups have been least affected, although the variation across income groups is not particularly strong.

Life satisfaction

  • Satisfaction with life is above the transition region average, but has dropped since 2006. There is virtually no difference in the level of happiness across age groups, in contrast to 2006 when young people were noticeably more satisfied with life than middle-aged or older people. As in most other transition countries, the degree of satisfaction rises with income levels, but is lower for all income groups compared to 2006.

    There has been a big drop in optimism for the future. In 2006 about one-half of respondents believed that future generations would have a better life. That has fallen to around 30 per cent, indicating a high degree of pessimism compared to the average for the transition region. This pattern is common to all age groups and especially so for the lower-income category.

Attitudes towards democracy and market economy

  • Only about 20 per cent of respondents favour both a market economy and democracy. Many people consider that it does not matter for them whether there is democracy or, under some circumstances, authoritarianism or if there is a market or, under some circumstances, planned economy.

    There is a moderate belief that some basic democratic institutions are present in the country. Only one-fifth of respondents believe that there is a court system that defends individual rights against abuse by the state, and less than 30 per cent think that there is law and order or a strong political opposition. However, a majority think that freedom of speech, peace and stability, protection of minority rights and freedom to travel abroad exist.

Generalised and institutional trust

  • The level of trust in others is limited and below the regional average. There has been a slight increase since 2006, but still barely more than one-quarter of respondents think that people in general can be trusted. People in the 40-59 age range display the highest level of trust.

    Trust in many political institutions is particularly low. Less than 10 per cent of people trust political parties, parliament or the government. In contrast, the army and police force, along with religious institutions, attract the highest degree of confidence. The level of trust in banks and the financial system has decreased since 2006 but remains comparable to western European standards.

Corruption perception

  • Corruption overall is not perceived to be declining, but petty corruption is generally low. Less than 10 per cent of respondents think that the level of corruption has dropped since 2006. However, the level of irregular payments to public institutions is generally low, especially in regard to applications for official documents or social security benefits. The main exception, as in most other countries, is the health care system, where about 15 per cent of respondents report having to make irregular payments to get the necessary service. There is a fairly high level of satisfaction with public service delivery although there is an uncharacteristically low level of satisfaction with civil courts, where only about one-third of users were happy with the quality of service.

Priorities for government spending

  • Education is the top priority for extra government spending.

    This contrasts with the majority of countries, where health care is usually in first place. A significant proportion of respondents also favour prioritising pensions 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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