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Life in Transition: Ukraine

Key findings (%, weighted)

Ukraine Average Transition region Average Western Europe
Satisfied with life 30 43 72
Trust in others 49 34 42
Perceive less corruption than four years ago 10 21 9
Concerned about climate change 62 54 54
Support both market economy and democracy 26 34 42
Households affected by the crisis 46 49 31

Impact of the crisis

  • Forty-six per cent of respondents think that their households have been affected adversely by the crisis, which is slightly below the transition region average. The impact has been much greater among middle-aged people and those in the lower- and middle-income groups.

Life satisfaction

  • Life satisfaction has dropped since 2006 and is considerably below the transition average. Only about 30 per cent of respondents are satisfied with life, which represents a drop of around eight percentage points since 2006. Younger people (aged 18-39) and the middle classes have recorded the biggest decrease in satisfaction, while those over 60 seem to be happier than in 2006.


    Confidence in a better future for the younger generation has slightly increased since 2006, to 49 per cent of respondents, and is comparable to the transition average. This level of optimism has remained unchanged among the lower-income groups, but has increased among older people and the upper-income bracket of the population.

Attitudes towards democracy and market economy

  • Just over 25 per cent of respondents support a combination of democracy and a market economy as their preferred economic and political system. While this percentage is relatively high, another one-fifth feel that the type of political and economic does not matter. More importantly, about 15 per cent favour a planned economy and authoritarianism under some circumstances. Respondents would also exchange some political liberties for robust economic growth, although one-half believe that they already live in a country with few liberties and weak growth.


    There is limited belief in the existence of some of the basic democratic institutions. About two-thirds of respondents think that they are free to travel abroad, but a much lower proportion think that Ukraine has law and order (16 per cent), a strong political opposition (19 per cent) or a court system that protects the rights of individuals against abuse by the state (11 per cent).

Generalised and institutional trust

  • The level of trust has increased since 2006 and is considerably higher than the transition average. Almost one-half of respondents think that people can be trusted, which represents about a 10 percentage point rise since 2006. Trust has particularly increased among the middle-aged and higher-income population groups.


    Ukrainians have very low trust in their national institutions. While trust in some institutions has increased since 2006, well below 30 per cent of respondents think that institutions overall can be trusted. The armed forces are the most highly rated and have merited the biggest increase in trust since 2006. Unsurprisingly, trust in banks and financial institutions has fallen significantly given the broad impact of the financial crisis on life in Ukraine.

Corruption perception

  • The level of perceived corruption in Ukraine is much higher than in most of the transition region, and has increased in certain public sector areas. Bribery is high across the public sector – 28 per cent of respondents think that irregular payments are used when dealing with the traffic police, 26 per cent with the public education system and 17 per cent with the civil courts. Perceived corruption remains most prevalent in the public health system according to 43 per cent of respondents (a rise of three percentage points since 2006). Most respondents disapprove of the need for bribery – less than 10 per cent think that a public official asking for a gift or favour in return for a service is wrong.

Priorities for government spending

  • About two-fifths of respondents think that there should be additional spending on the public health system, much higher than the percentage favouring extra expenditure on education, housing, pensions and helping the poor. Almost 50 per cent of respondents think that incomes should be made more equitable.

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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