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Life in Transition: Montenegro

Key findings (%, weighted)

Montenegro Average Transition region Average Western Europe
Satisfied with life 42 43 72
Trust in others 40 34 42
Perceive less corruption than four years ago 21 21 9
Concerned about climate change 47 54 54
Support both market economy and democracy 37 34 42
Households affected by the crisis 60 49 31

Impact of the crisis

  • Around three-fifths of households have been affected by the crisis. This is about 10 percentage points higher than the transition region average and reflects the sharp recession that hit the economy in 2009 after several boom years. Those aged 60 and over and the upper-income groups have been the least affected.

Life satisfaction

  • Satisfaction with life has risen significantly since 2006. More than 40 per cent of people declare themselves satisfied with life compared with less than 30 per cent in the previous survey, which is now in line with the transition region average. The level of satisfaction is highest among young people and lowest among the over-60s. It also rises sharply according to income level, with nearly 70 per cent of the upper-income group declaring themselves satisfied with life.


    Optimism for future generations has dropped slightly. About one-half of respondents think that future generations will have a better life, which is a few percentage points less than the level in 2006. This mainly reflects falling optimism among older people, as there are slight increases in the younger and middle-aged groups. Those on lower incomes are actually more optimistic compared to 2006, but the middle-income group shows a marked decline.

Attitudes towards democracy and market economy

  • Support for democracy and a market economy remains firm. More than 35 per cent of people favour a combination of the two over any other option. However, nearly one-quarter of respondents feel that it does not matter what type of economic and political system prevails. There is little support for a planned economy and authoritarianism.


    Perceptions of the existence of basic democratic institutions vary. Most people believe that the country has peace and stability, freedom to travel abroad and the protection of minority rights. However, only 20 per cent of respondents believe that there is a strong political opposition, while about 35 per cent think that the court system defends individual rights against abuse by the state.

Generalised and institutional trust

  • The level of general trust in people has risen sharply since 2006. At around 40 per cent of respondents, it compares favourably with the transition region as a whole, and is close to the level prevailing in the western European comparator countries. There is little variation by age, but trust is quite low among the lower-income group.


    Trust in institutions is quite strong. In a number of cases, it compares favourably with the western comparators. The highest level of trust is in religious institutions, followed by banks and the financial system. Political parties and trade unions attract a relatively low level of confidence. The performance of the Montenegrin national government is ranked favourably by over two-fifths of the respondents and around one-fifth says that its performance has improved in the past three years.

Corruption perception

  • Perceptions of petty corruption are generally low. Actual corruption rates are, in fact, some of the lowest in the region. The percentage of respondents who make irregular payments when dealing with public institutions is typically less than five per cent. Montenegro in this respect is comparable to the western European comparator countries. The exceptions relate to the traffic police, where around seven per cent of respondents report making such payments (up slightly from 2006), and the health care system at around 15 per cent (down from nearly 20 per cent). This is not surprising as the level of satisfaction with public services has generally increased since the previous survey: in public health care 60 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with the quality and efficiency of service compared to 49 per cent in 2006.

Priorities for government spending

  • Health care is the main priority for extra government spending for about 30 per cent of respondents. This is followed by education at around 27 per cent and helping the poor at about 20 per cent.

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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