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Life in Transition: Georgia

Key findings (%, weighted)

Georgia Average Transition region Average Western Europe
Satisfied with life 25 43 72
Trust in others 29 34 42
Perceive less corruption than four years ago 78 21 9
Concerned about climate change 63 55 54
Support both market economy and democracy 38 34 42
Households affected by the crisis 54 49 31

Impact of the crisis

  • There has been a significant impact on well over one-half of households. The effects of the economic crisis have been felt much more among the younger sections of the population and the lower socio-economic groups. However, unlike in most other economies, job losses were a more widespread consequence of the economic crisis than wage reductions.

Life satisfaction

  • Only about one-quarter of respondents are satisfied with life which, despite a two percentage points rise since 2006, puts the country near the bottom in the transition region in this respect. Life satisfaction has increased slightly among the lower and upper socio-economic sections of the population, but has dropped by about five percentage points among middle-income respondents.

    Optimism about the future is well above the transition region average. About three-fifths of respondents believe that children born today will have a better future than their parents. Older people, as well as the upper socio-economic bracket of the population, have become more optimistic since 2006.

Attitudes towards democracy and market economy

  • More than one-third of respondents prefer the combination of a market economy and democracy. The proportion of people who support, under some circumstances, a planned economy with an authoritarian regime is significantly lower at less than 10 per cent. Any other political and economics combination is slightly less favoured.

    People believe that some basic democratic institutions exist in their country, but significantly less than the western European comparator average. About one-half of respondents believe that the country has law and order, freedom of speech and peace and stability. However, a significant percentage does not think that there is a strong political opposition or a court system that protects individual liberties against the abuse by the state.

Generalised and institutional trust

  • People are more reluctant than before to trust others. Less than one-third of respondents think that people can generally be trusted, which represents a 15 percentage point fall since 2006. Despite this decline across all age and income categories, the level of trust is still comparable to the transition region average.

    Trust in certain political institutions is strong. Well over one-half of respondents trust the presidency, the armed forces and the police. Trust in banks and financial institutions is also relatively high (and much higher than the western European comparator average) and has risen slightly since 2006.  

Corruption perception

  • Unlike in the rest of the Caucasus, irregular payments are not widespread in Georgia. The recent dynamic of falling corruption is particularly pronounced – 78 per cent of Georgians agree that corruption has fallen in the last four years, which is the highest in all the surveyed countries. Respondents in Georgia are the least inclined in the transition region to believe that bribes are used in dealings with public sector institutions. Moreover, the corruption perception in Georgia is comparable to the western European comparator average. As in the other transition countries, the incidence of irregular payments remains more common in the public health sector, al-though even in this sector the prevalence of bribery is extremely low by regional standards.

Priorities for government spending

  • Extra government spending on health care is the main priority for about one-third of respondents. A significant percentage would also like to see extra expenditure to help the poor, as well as further investment in pensions and education. Over 15 per cent of Georgians are prepared to pay more tax in order to improve the public service they prioritise, which is the second highest level of such willingness among all surveyed economies.

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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