Monday, June 18, 2018

The EU, USA or Russia: Who is believed to be able to support Georgia best?

In recent years, Georgia has benefited from EU and US assistance, with around €400 million indicatively allocated for the EU’s projects in Georgia in 2017-2020, and the US government increasing assistance to Georgia in the 2018 Spending Bill. In contrast, Georgia’s relationships with Russia are tense, with diplomatic relations terminated in 2008.

In the 2017 wave of Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia survey (EU survey), a question was asked: “Who can currently best support Georgia – the EU, USA or Russia?” A third of the population (35%) answered the EU, while equal shares named the US and Russia (23% and 24%, respectively). According to 8%, none of these three actors can support Georgia, and 9% either responded “Don’t know” or refused to answer the question. Importantly, the distribution of answers did not change compared to earlier waves of the EU survey in 2013 and 2015.

Ethnic Georgians were more likely to report the EU can best support Georgia. Education and age also matter. People with tertiary education and people under the age of 56 said more often that the EU can best support Georgia. Ethnic minorities, on the other hand, named Russia much more often.



Note: For the question, “Which ethnic group do you consider yourself a part of?” original answer options were recoded. Options “Armenian”, “Azerbaijani”, “Abkhaz”, “Ossetian”, “Russian”, and “Other ethnicity” were all combined into the category “Ethnic minorities”. For the question, “Who can currently best support Georgia – the EU, USA or Russia?” original answer option “Other” (1%) was excluded from the analysis. 

Almost half (47%) of those who reported trusting the EU also reported that the EU can best support Georgia, while 49% of those who reported distrusting the European Union also said that Russia can best support Georgia.


Note: For the question, “How much do you trust or distrust the EU?” original answer options “Fully trust” and “Trust” were combined into the category “Trust” on the chart above. The original answer options “Fully distrust” and “Distrust” were combined into the category “Distrust”.

Many in Georgia trust the European Union and believe that the EU can best support Georgia. People with tertiary education, ethnic Georgians and those who are younger than 56 years old are more likely to say that the EU can best support Georgia.

To learn more about the population’s attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia, read the following blog posts: Awareness of EU aid and support for EU membership in Georgia and One in six in Georgia think the country is a member of the EU. To explore the data in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Air pollution in Georgia: Available data and the population’s perceptions

Lung cancer, strokes, and heart attacks can all be caused by air pollution, a problem that affects millions of people daily. How aware is the population of Georgia about this problem, and how important do people find the issue?

In the December 2017 CRRC/NDI survey, pollution was the second most commonly named “infrastructural” issue, with 23% of the population choosing it in the respective show card. Only roads were named more often, by 33%. Approximately equal shares of men and women named pollution: 25% of women and 20% of men; similarly, there was no difference in the frequency of naming this issue by age.

Settlement type does make a difference, though. While 42% of people living in the capital reported in 2017 that pollution was the most important infrastructural issue, 26% of people living in other urban settlements did. This option was chosen much less often by the rural population (11%) and by people living in predominantly ethnic minority settlements (5%).  Perceptions of the importance of this issue have been consistent  both nationally and in different settlement types since CRRC and NDI have started asking the question.


The public’s concern with pollution makes sense. Levels of air pollution in Georgia are higher than what is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). PM2.5 is particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 2.5 µm. By comparison, the average diameter of a human hair is 50 to 70 µm. PM2.5 is considered the deadliest type of pollution as it is smaller than other types and can do much more harm to the human body. According to the latest available information, PM2.5 was recorded at 25 in Tbilisi in 2015. The level that the WHO recommends is 10. Anywhere from 12.1 to 35.4 is considered to be in the moderate range.

The government of Georgia has not ignored the problem. The Law of Georgia on Ambient Air Protection was adopted in 1999 to deal with air pollution, and was amended a number of times since. Recently larger, more environmentally friendly buses have been integrated into Tbilisi’s public transport system, a step toward a greener city. In addition, the excise tax on older cars, which cause a greater amount of pollution than newer ones in general, have increased, thus encouraging the import of greener vehicles. Moreover, vehicle inspections for large vehicles started again this year after a 10 year hiatus, and it is planned that these will become mandatory for all vehicles from 2019.

More can be done, and there are some potential improvements that can lead to a decrease in the number of cars on the roads, and therefore improve air quality. Public transport should be more efficient, which can be, in part, accomplished through optimizing routes and timetables. Making cities more pedestrian and bike-friendly, and increasing awareness of the benefits of walking and car sharing could also ameliorate the situation. Clearly, the government would have to back many of these changes.

While the government has taken some steps to reduce air pollution, quite radical steps are still needed in Georgia before it reaches a healthy level by WHO standards. The issue is important to the Georgian public, and particularly to the population of Tbilisi.

To learn more about CRRC surveys, visit our Online Data Analysis portal.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Willingness to temporarily emigrate from Armenia and Georgia: Does education matter?

A previous CRRC blog post showed how people’s willingness to temporarily emigrate from Armenia and Georgia varied according to their belief in whether everything in life is determined by fate or people shape their fate themselves. The blog post concluded that compared to people who are not interested in temporary emigration from these countries, those who are tended to believe slightly more often that people shape their fate themselves.

There are a number of factors that contribute to an individual’s willingness to emigrate including political, economic, and social circumstances. Using data from CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey, this blog post looks at whether or not people who express a willingness to temporarily emigrate from Armenia and Georgia differ from others in terms of their educational attainment. Importantly, though, this question does not measure actual emigration, but rather reported intentions that may or may not result in action.

In both countries, the share of people willing to temporarily emigrate is the highest among those who have tertiary education. Importantly, this finding is consistent over time.


Note: The answer options for the question, “What is the highest level of education you have achieved to date?” were grouped as follows: options “No primary education”, “Primary education (either complete or incomplete)”, “Incomplete secondary education”, and “Completed secondary education” were grouped into the category “Secondary or lower”. Options “Incomplete higher education”, “Completed higher education (BA, MA, or specialist degree)”, and “Post-graduate degree” were grouped into the category “Tertiary”.

People with either a close friend or a close relative living abroad at the time of survey fieldwork also report more often that they would leave Georgia for a certain period of time to live somewhere else. The findings are similar in Armenia. Importantly, when looking at this indicator of migration networks, there are, again, differences by level of education. As the chart below shows, in 2017, people with higher levels of education reported having close friends abroad more often than those with lower levels of education. This finding is also consistent for CB waves through the last decade.


As the findings presented in this blog post show, in both Armenia and Georgia, people having tertiary education report an interest in temporary emigration more often than those with lower levels of education. Importantly, a larger share of people with tertiary education also have relatives and/or friends living abroad. Thus they can rely both on relatively advanced knowledge, including knowledge of foreign language(s), and on the opportunities provided by migration networks.

To learn more about CRRC surveys, visit our Online Data Analysis portal.


Monday, May 28, 2018

Perceptions of the problems faced by women in Georgia

People in Georgia consistently name unemployment as the main problem the country faces. Women, compared with men, report having a job less often. Based on CRRC/NDI December 2017 survey findings, this blog post presents the population’s perceptions of some of the issues that women in Georgia face that may partially explain women’s lower labor force participation rate.

During the survey, several issues were evaluated from the point of view of whether these represent a problem for women in Georgia or not. Approximately half of Georgia’s population considers a lack of kindergartens to be a problem for women, followed by bad maternity leave conditions, which are perceived to be slightly worse in the private sector than in the public sector. Quite a large share of the population (39%) reports that in their opinion, employers prefer to hire men over women, although 50% do not think so. Similarly, more people disagree than agree with the opinion that women are not being hired in Georgia for leadership positions. The chart below lists both the issues and the assessments.



Note: Distribution of answers “Don’t know” and “Refuse to answer” is not shown in the charts through this blog post. 

Interestingly, men and women answer very similarly regarding kindergartens and employers’ gender preferences. There are, however, some differences when it comes to maternity leave conditions and women not being hired for leadership positions. Slightly more women than men name these as problems.



Note: Only the share of positive answers is shown in this chart. 

People living in different settlement types answer these questions slightly differently. A lack of kindergartens is perceived to be much more problematic in Tbilisi than in rural settlements. Compared to the urban population, a slightly larger share of people living in villages and ethnic minority settlements report that employers prefer to hire men over women as a problem. Women not being hired for leadership positions is also more often perceived as a problem in villages and ethnic minority settlements.


Note: Only the share of positive answers is shown in this chart. 
This blog post illustrates some of the potential obstacles for women’s employment in Georgia, as perceived by the population. Do you think that these issues help explain why relatively few women participate in the labor force in Georgia? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.

To explore the data used in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Disinformation in the Georgian media: Different assessments for different media sources

In Georgia, supporters of the government and opposition often express contrasting opinions about the independence and reliability of specific news outlets. Based on the CRRC/NDI December, 2017 survey findings, this blog post looks at whether people think or not that the Georgian media spreads disinformation, which groups tend to think so, and how this opinion differs by type of media. “Disinformation” was defined in the questionnaire as “false information which is spread deliberately with the purpose to mislead and deceive people,” and the questions about it were asked separately about TV stations, online media, and print media.

The majority of the population of the country (60%) agreed with the opinion that “Georgian TV stations often spread disinformation.” When asked about online media and print media, 51% and 43% agreed, respectively. Interestingly, 59% of those who named TV as their main source of information for politics and current events agreed with the opinion that Georgian TV stations often spread disinformation. The respective share was, however, much higher with online media (75%).


People living in the capital agreed with all three of these opinions more often than people living in the rest of the country. The same is true for people with tertiary education. People living in ethnic minority settlements, on the other hand, found it most difficult to answer these questions, with a majority responding “Don’t know” to all three questions.

Thus, opinions about different types of Georgian media spreading disinformation are reported rather unevenly by the population of different settlement types and by people with different levels of education. There seems to be a rather strong consensus, though, that Georgian TV stations often spread disinformation. 

To have a closer look at CRRC/NDI survey results, visit our Online Data Analysis portal.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Five data points about homophobia in Georgia five years after the IDAHOT riot

Five years ago, on May 17, 2013 a homophobic riot took place in Tbilisi in response to a small LGBTQ rights demonstration on the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. Thousands of protestors, including frocked priests, chased the demonstrators through the streets of Tbilisi as police struggled (some say facilely) to protect the demonstrators from violence. In the time since, LGBTQ rights have remained on the agenda in Georgia, with an anti-discrimination law passed in 2014, which gives some protection to LGBTQ people, and the first openly homosexual candidate running for office in the 2017 local elections. Despite this progress, homophobic and transphobic violence still occurs in the country (for example, see here, here, and here). Five years after the events of May 17, 2013, this article presents five findings from CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey about homophobia in Georgia.

1. Would people rather live next to a criminal, a drug addict, or a homosexual? On Caucasus Barometer 2017, CRRC asked which group people would least like as neighbors.  About one in four said they would least like criminals as neighbors (27%) and another quarter would least like to live by drug users (22%). A similar share (23%) reported they would least like to have homosexuals as neighbors. Taking into account survey error, these three shares are statistically indistinguishable. The latter answer serves as a proxy for homophobia.

2. While religiosity might be thought to be tied to homophobic attitudes, it does not appear that those who report fasting or attending religious services regularly are any more homophobic than those who do not. Importantly, though, of the many possible measures of religiosity, only two were measured on CB 2017. Hence, the results are suggestive rather than definitive.
 


Note: Those who reported having no religious affiliation, answered “Don’t know” or refused to answer what their religion was, were not asked the question about frequency of fasting or religious service attendance. For the question about frequency of attending religious services, original answer options “Every day”, “More than once a week” and “Once a week” were combined into the category “At least once a week” on the chart above, and options “At least once a month”, “Only on special religious holidays”, “Less often”, and “Never” were combined into the category “Less often or never”. For the question about frequency of fasting, original answer options “Often” and “Always” were combined into the category “Often or Always”. Answer options “Sometimes fast”, “Rarely fast”, and “Never fast” were combined into the category “Less often or never”. Those who reported that fasting was not required in their religion were not included in the analysis, as well as those who answered “Don’t know” or refused to answer the questions about the frequency of attending religious services or fasting. 

3. The young are more likely to be homophobic than the elderly, at least on the measure of homophobia used here. While an 18 year old has a 29% chance of reporting that they would least like a homosexual as a neighbor, an 85 year old has only a 16% chance, when controlling for gender; settlement type; level of education; religion; frequency of fasting and attending religious services; whether a child lives in the same household; and household well-being, measured by the number of durables a household owns.




4. Men are more likely to be homophobic than women. When controlling for the variables mentioned above, men have a 26% chance of responding that they would least like homosexuals as neighbors compared with a 17% chance for women.

5. While Georgia has had highly-publicized, homophobic incidents, the level of homophobia is not unique to the country. The same question was asked on Caucasus Barometer 2017 in Armenia, and the results are similar: 21% of Armenians report they would least like homosexuals as neighbors, 27% drug addicts, and 21% criminals.

A more comprehensive measure of homophobia would, of course, provide a better understanding of the issue. The CB question discussed in this blog post only helps to identify people who are extremely homophobic, to the point that they would least like to live next to a homosexual, rather than a criminal. This may suggest that homophobic attitudes are more wide spread in the country.

To explore the data used above, click here. To view the replication code for the analysis used in this article, click here.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Willingness to temporarily emigrate from Armenia and Georgia: Does fatalism matter?

Scholarship points to a number of factors that contribute to an individual’s willingness to emigrate, either on a temporary or permanent basis. Political, economic, and social conditions are all important variables in the emigration equation. This blog post uses data from CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey to see whether or not people who express a willingness to temporarily emigrate from Armenia and Georgia differ from others in terms of the reported belief that people shape their fate themselves. Those who believe so may be more inclined to consider actions such as temporary emigration.

In Georgia, beliefs of whether or not individuals shape their fate themselves have changed a bit over the years. In 2011, 31% of the population tended to believe that “People shape their fate themselves.” In 2017, this share increased to 43%. Similarly, a slightly greater share of the population of Armenia expressed the opinion that people shape their fate themselves in 2017 than in 2011.


Note: A 10-point scale was used during the interviews to record answers to the question about fate, with code ‘1’ corresponding to complete agreement with the opinion, “Everything in life is determined by fate” and code ‘10’ corresponding to a complete agreement with the opinion, “People shape their fate themselves.” The original scale was recoded for the charts in this blog post. Codes ‘1’ through ‘4’ were combined into the category, “Everything in life is determined by fate.” Codes ‘5’ and ‘6’ were combined into the category “In the middle.” Codes ‘7’ through ‘10’ were combined into the category “People shape their fate themselves.” 

The share of the population in Georgia who report wanting to temporarily emigrate has slightly increased since 2011, while it does not seem to have changed in Armenia. In Georgia, the share has been consistently lower than in Armenia, at between 42% and 48% of the population. 




In both countries, though, those who are interested in temporary emigration also tend to believe slightly more that people shape their fate themselves rather than everything in life being determined by fate. This finding is consistent over time.



Thus, people who are interested in temporary emigration from Armenia and Georgia tend to believe slightly more that people shape their fate themselves than those who do not report such an interest. The finding points to a more general consideration: people who feel they possess agency over their lives may feel more empowered to pursue actions that directly affect their life’s course, such as temporarily emigrating from their home country.

To explore the data used in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform.

Note: The 2017 data for Armenia presented above makes use of preliminary population weights. The final population weights were not possible to complete in time for publication of this blog post. Hence, the figures for 2017 may change slightly, once the 2017 Caucasus Barometer Armenia survey weights are calculated. The weights for Georgia, on the other hand, are final.