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Life in Transition: Tajikistan

Key findings (%, weighted)

Tajikistan Average Transition region Average Western Europe
Satisfied with life 73 43 72
Trust in others 49 34 42
Perceive less corruption than four years ago 36 21 9
Concerned about climate change 45 54 54
Support both market economy and democracy 51 34 42
Households affected by the crisis 58 49 31

Impact of the crisis

  • About 58 per cent of households say that they have been affected adversely. One-third say that the crisis has resulted in a reduced flow of remittances and in household members having to return home from work abroad. This reflects a slump in demand for migrant labour in Russia during the downturn. One-quarter report that a household member has lost a job.

Life satisfaction

  • Tajikistan leads the transition region in life satisfaction. Over 75 per cent of respondents say that the economic situation has improved since 2006 and 64 per cent say that the political climate has also become better. Tajikistan also leads the transition region in two other respects: almost 70 per cent of households say they live better today than in 2006 and almost 60 per cent are satisfied with their financial situation. There is widespread optimism for future generations across all age and income groups, despite the fact that Tajikistan remains among the poorest countries in the region with high levels of poverty and relatively low levels of growth.


    Belief in a better future for the younger generation is high and has risen since 2006. This belief is much higher among the older age groups and among middle- and upper-income classes – even though for the latter two it has dropped slightly since 2006.

Attitudes towards democracy and market economy

  • Over one-half of respondents unequivocally prefer democracy and a free market over authoritarianism and a planned economy. However, two-thirds would prefer to live in a country with fewer political liberties and higher economic growth to one with full liberties and lower growth – the third lowest ranking in the transition region.


    There is a strong belief in the existence of basic democratic institutions in Tajikistan, on a par with the western European comparators in many important dimensions. Only one-sixth of respondents say that leaders of local and regional administrations should be appointed. However, less than one-third of respondents believe that Tajikistan has a strong political opposition. Almost 41 per cent consider that the country has both limited political liberties and low economic growth.

Generalised and institutional trust

  • Trust has increased significantly since 2006 and it is currently higher than the average for the transition region. Levels of generalised trust have particularly risen among the middle-aged groups as well as among middle- and upper-income segments of the population.


    Unlike generalised trust, trust in institutions is high in Tajikistan. Over 90 per cent of respondents have either some or complete trust in the presidency – the highest level in the countries included in the survey. This level of confidence in the presidency is in line with the finding that over 50 per cent say that there is no strong political opposition in the country (although almost 70 per cent believe that there are free and fair elections). Tajik respondents also have the highest levels of trust in the transition region in their central, regional and local government, parliament, courts, political parties, armed forces, banks, foreign investors, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and family.

Corruption perception

  • Corruption has increased since 2006. There has been a doubling in reported bribery of traffic police. Only 36 per cent of Tajik respondents say that they never have to bribe the police and 57 per cent say that either they, or another household member, have done so in the past year. Over 70 per cent say that they have been asked to, or expected to, bribe traffic police, bureaucrats and administrators in public education and health care, and there is deep dissatisfaction with the quality and efficiency of these services.

Priorities for government spending

  • Almost one-half of respondents say that education is the top spending priority. Three-quarters would be willing to pay more taxes if the extra money was used to improve education. Compared with other Central Asian countries, more respondents in Tajikistan believe that government support should be given to the working poor (13 per cent) rather than to families with children (nine 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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