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|Key findings (%, weighted)
||Uzbekistan||Average Transition region||Average Western Europe|
|Satisfied with life||66||43||72|
|Trust in others||49||34||42|
|Perceive less corruption than four years ago||59||21||9|
|Concerned about climate change||50||54||54|
|Support both market economy and democracy||57||34||42|
|Households affected by the crisis||20||49||31|
The economic crisis has left its mark on Uzbek citizens. However, the perceived impact is the lowest in the transition region. Only about one-fifth of respondents report that their household has been either severely or moderately affected, although this percentage is much higher among the lower socio-economic groups in the population. However, only 18 per cent of affected households received any government benefits and very few of those who lost their jobs received unemployment benefits.
Life satisfaction has decreased slightly in Uzbekistan since 2006 but remains well above the average for the transition region. Over 70 per cent of respondents are satisfied with life, particularly among the younger generation and the middle and upper classes.
There is confidence that children born today will have a better life than the preceding generation. The level of optimism is slightly higher than that recorded in 2006 and is now the highest level in the transition region. There has been an increase in optimism mainly among middle-aged and older people and among the lower and middle classes.
More than one-half of Uzbek respondents say that a combination of democracy and a market economy is their preferred economic and political system. Only a very small percentage favour, under some circumstances, an authoritarian regime with a planned economy, while about 10 per cent do not have an explicit preference. The level of support for a market economy has risen dramatically in the past four years and Uzbekistan now has the highest support for a market economy in the transition region, at 62 per cent. Encouragingly, it also has some of the highest support for democratic political system.
There is a strong belief in the existence of basic democratic institutions. More than 80 per cent of respondents believe that Uzbekistan has free and fair elections and freedom to travel abroad and almost all think that their country enjoys peace and stability. However, the survey was unable to ask about the perceived existence of freedom of speech, an independent press and a strong political opposition due to local sensitivities on these questions.
The level of generalised trust has increased in Uzbekistan and stands well above the average for the transition region. It has risen almost uniformly across different age and income categories, but has been most marked among the younger and middle-aged sections of the population and the lower and middle classes. However, there is a markedly low level of trust in real-life situations: just over one-fifth of respondents believed that, if their wallet was lost in their neighbourhood, it would be returned to them.
Trust has increased in all public institutions and is among the highest in the transition region. Respondents particularly trust their government, parliament and the armed forces. Around one-third of respondents in Uzbekistan said the performance of the national government has improved in the past three years, which is also observed in other countries where economic growth has remained high during the economic crisis.
Corruption is still perceived to be a problem in the Uzbek public sector. However, 58 per cent of respondents agreed that corruption is lower that it was four years ago. About one-fifth of respondents claim to have made irregular payments when dealing with public sector authorities and bureaucracy, such as when requesting official documents, accessing the civil courts or public education, or applying for unemployment or other types of social security benefits. As in the rest of the transition region, corruption seems to be most endemic in the public health system, although it has decreased to some extent since 2006. Satisfaction with public service delivery remains average, but it has increased significantly in health care from 48 per cent to 64 per cent as corruption there has fallen most dramatically.
About one-quarter of respondents would like extra government spending on public health care. A significant proportion also favour more investment in education, pensions and helping the poor.
The Life in Transition Survey provides vivid evidence of precisely how lives have been affected by the global economic crisis and its aftermath.