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Life in Transition: Slovak Republic

Key findings (%, weighted)

 
Slovak Republic Average Transition region Average Western Europe
Satisfied with life 52 43 72
Trust in others 23 34 42
Perceive less corruption than four years ago 15 21 9
Concerned about climate change 61 54 54
Support both market economy and democracy 29 34 42
Households affected by the crisis 24 49 31

Impact of the crisis

  • One-half as many people in the Slovak Republic have been affected by the economic crisis as in transition countries on average. In fact, a smaller proportion of the population have been impacted than in the western European comparator countries, although the Slovak Republic did experience a significant economic contraction in 2009. The crisis was felt least by the richer section of the population and the older age range.

Life satisfaction

  • Satisfaction with life remains well above the transition region average. The percentage of satisfied people has dropped by about seven percentage points since 2006, yet remains among the highest in the transition region. Happiness has decreased most among the 18-39 age group. On the other hand, the older generation has become more content.

     

    There has been a large fall in optimism for the future. The proportion of people who feel that their children will fare better than themselves has dropped by 18 per cent. The decrease is more than twice that seen in the transition region as a whole. As a result, the level of pessimism about prospects for future generations is now higher than the transition region average. Unlike in 2006, optimism for the future is now correlated with wealth, with the richest one-third of the population being the most optimistic.

Attitudes towards democracy and market economy

  • Support for a market economy and democracy has declined dramatically since 2006. The market economy and democracy combination still attracts the highest percentage of support among Slovak respondents. However, the proportion of people who unequivocally choose a market economy over any other economic system has dropped by 13 percentage points since 2006 (from almost half to only slightly over one-third). In addition, the proportion of unequivocal supporters of democracy has fallen from over two-thirds in 2006 to below one-half by 2010, representing a decline of 20 percentage points.

     

    Respondents believe that the elements of a well-functioning democracy are weaker across the board than in western Europe. They are particularly concerned about law and order and the ability of the court system to defend individual rights against abuse by the state.

Generalised and institutional trust

  • Trust in people has decreased by over one-third to below the transition region average (which has actually risen since 2006). The fall has been greatest, by about one-half, among the youngest age group and least among the over-60s. Whereas in 2006 people below the age of 40 were the most trusting, their trust level is now over one-third lower than that of the oldest age group. In addition, a significant decrease in trust among the richer section of the population indicates that trust is almost equal across wealth levels.

     

    Trust in institutions has dropped across the board, particularly in the police force. Trust in the police is down to about one-half the level in the western European comparator countries. On the other hand, trust in banks and foreign investors has declined only slightly and remains at about twice the level reported in the western countries.

Corruption perception

  • More respondents than in 2006 believe that irregular payments are made. Perceived levels of bribery have worsened in relation to public education and applying for social security benefits. On the other hand, marginally fewer people think that irregular payments are common when interacting with the traffic police. Only 15 per cent of respondents believe that there is less corruption in the Slovak Republic than in 2006.

Priorities for government spending

  • Nearly one-half of respondents believe that health care should be the priority area for additional government spending.  This is a far greater proportion than in the western comparators. A further 25 per cent would have their government provide extra funding for education. Only five per cent of people, or less, think that support for the poor or raising pensions warrant priority attention.


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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