Monday, December 09, 2019

Optimism Regarding EU membership is decreasing

Georgia is not a candidate for membership in the European Union (EU), but the government has the stated goal of joining the EU when the country is ready for it. According to the Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the EU in Georgia survey (EU Survey) CRRC-Georgia conducted in spring 2019 for Europe Foundation, 71% of the population of Georgia would vote for EU membership if a referendum were held tomorrow. Only 10% would vote against it and 7% would not vote at all. While support for joining the EU is clearly high, people are increasingly pessimistic about how long it will take Georgia to join.

Since 2009, the EU Survey has asked respondents, “When will Georgia join the EU, in 5 years or less, in 6-10 years, in more than 10 years, or never?”  The chart below shows that optimism regarding joining the EU is declining. Respondents who think that Georgia will join the EU in 5 years or less has declined from 30% in 2009 to 15% in 2019. Furthermore, the share of respondents who think that Georgia will join the EU in more than 10 years and those who think that Georgia will never join the EU has increased from 10% in 2009 to 19% in 2019 and 1% in 2009 and 11% in 2019, respectively. Consequently, the data suggest that optimism on this issue is on the decline.

To understand the current situation, further analysis of the 2019 wave of the EU survey was conducted. The analyses shows sex, age, settlement type, and education level are associated with people’s outlooks. Generally, people older than 55 are less likely to be optimistic regarding Georgia joining the EU than people from 18 to 35 years old. Female respondents are less pessimistic compared to male respondents.

Aside from demographics, party preferences could also reasonably be tied to people’s expectations as positive assessments about a number of issues are tied to whether or not people support the party in power (e.g. see here and here). The data suggest that people who report not knowing or refuse to answer the question about the party closest to them are less optimistic than GD Supporters. UNM, Alliance of Patriots Supporters, and supporters of no party are also more pessimistic than GD supporters.

Note: On the above chart, base categories for each variable are as follows: male, 18-34 age group, Rural, Georgian ethnicity, higher than secondary education, and Georgian Dream supporter. The category “No party” consists of individuals that responded none when asked which party was closest to them. The category “other party” consists of individuals who named other parties not categorized above. 

Optimism over Georgia joining the EU is declining, and this decline started after 2013. People older than 55, people who support no party, the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia, and UNM supporters are more pessimistic regarding this issue than GD supporters.

Note: The above analysis is based on a multinomial logistic regression analysis, where the dependent variable is optimism over Georgia joining the EU which is measured through the question “When will Georgia join the EU?” The independent variables are party support, gender, age group, ethnicity, settlement type, and education. The data used in the blog is available here. Replication code of the above data analysis is available here.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Who thinks the EU is a threat to Georgian culture?

[Note: This article was originally published in partnership with OC-Media, and is available here.]

If a referendum were held tomorrow, 71% of Georgians would vote for the country to join the European Union according to CRRC Georgia and Europe Foundation’s 2019 survey on Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia (EU Survey). 

Clearly, a large share of the public supports the country’s integration into European structures. Still, over a quarter of Georgians are against the country joining the EU.

One reason that is often talked about in this regard is that some suggest the European Union poses a threat to Georgia’s culture and traditions. Further analysis of the EU survey suggests that this sentiment has been on the rise over the last ten years, and is associated with lower levels of support for Georgia joining the EU.

This suggests that if the Government of Georgia and EU want to build a greater societal consensus on the country’s Western integration, demonstrating that the EU is not a threat to Georgian culture and traditions matters.

Respondents to the EU survey have been asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement that the EU threatens Georgian traditions since the survey started in 2009. The share who disagree with this statement has changed relatively little over the years: 48% disagreed with the statement in 2009 and 46% did in 2019. The only exception was in 2015 when there was a 9 percentage point dip in disagreement and 15 percentage point increase in agreement with the statement.

While disagreement with the idea has been stable, uncertainty has declined and agreement with the idea that the EU poses a threat to Georgian traditions has been on the rise. 

In 2009, 28% of the public responded don’t know or refused to answer the question. Only 12% did in 2019. In 2009, only 23% of the public thought that the EU posed a threat to Georgian traditions. In contrast, 42% did in 2019. The decline in uncertainty and rising threat perception suggests that many people’s attitudes have formed in recent years.

Note: On the above chart, the agree category is composed of response options ‘agree’ and ‘agree more than disagree’. The disagree category is composed of response options ‘disagree’ and ‘disagree more than agree’.

Further analysis of the 2019 wave of the survey suggests that a number of groups are more likely to think that the EU represents a threat. Men, people in rural areas, those with vocational education, and ethnic Georgians are all significantly more likely to think the EU is a threat to Georgian tradition.

In contrast, age was not a significant predictor of whether or not someone perceived the EU as a threat, all else equal.

Although the perception that the EU is a threat to Georgian tradition is on the rise, most people who perceive it as threat still support Georgia’s potential membership in the European Union (65%). This compares to 76% of people who support EU membership and do not perceive the EU as a threat to Georgian culture.

A further analysis testing for an association between the perceived threat to culture and whether or not someone would vote for EU membership suggests that, controlling for the above demographic factors, perceiving the EU as a threat is associated with a 15 percentage point lower chance of reporting that one would vote for EU membership if an election were held tomorrow.

The data shows that the public is increasingly worried that the EU is a threat to Georgian culture. It also suggests that efforts at assuaging fears related to threats to tradition should focus on people in rural areas, people with vocational education, and ethnic Georgians.

While the perception of the EU as a threat to Georgian culture is present, most who perceive this threat still would support the country’s membership in the EU.

Nonetheless, attitudes change, and if relevant actors want to ensure that Georgian society maintains its pro-Western orientation, demonstrating that the EU is not a threat should be a priority.

Note: The second chart in this blog is based on a logistic regression analysis. The analysis compared individuals who agreed with the statement to all other individuals in the sample, except those who refused to answer the question. The analysis included age group, sex, settlement type, ethnicity, and education level. The data used in the above analysis can be found here. The replication code for the above analysis can be found here.

Dustin Gilbreath is the Deputy Research Director at CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in this article are the author’s alone and do not represent the views of CRRC-Georgia or any related entity.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Attitudes towards the new banking regulations

The share of the public with loans from formal financial institutions doubled from 2011 to 2016 according to World Bank Group’s analysis based on Integrated Household Survey in Georgia. The July 2019 CRRC/NDI survey data suggests that about half of the population has a loan. To address perceived over-indebtedness, on 1 January, 2019 the National Bank of Georgia introduced new regulations, restricting lending without more extensive analysis of a consumer’s solvency. The analysis includes looking at an individual’s income, expenses and total obligations, and determination of debtors’ capacity to service their loans without significant financial difficulties.

But, what does the public think about the new regulations?

Almost half of the population approves of the new regulations, a third disapproves, and the remainder are uncertain or did not respond to the question. Considering that the Georgian Dream introduced the regulation it is unsurprising that Georgian Dream supporters have a more favorable view of the legislation than people who identify with the United National Movement (UNM). People who identify with liberal parties or support no party at all are less likely to approve of the new regulations compared to GD supporters. Apart from party support there are no significant differences between different social and demographic groups. Nor is there any significant difference in approval between people who have and do not have loans.

Although every second person in Georgia has a loan, the data suggests that having a loan is not associated with approval of the new regulations. However, support for different parties is. Those who identify with UNM, liberal parties or no party are less likely to approve the regulations compared to ruling party’s supporters.

Note: This blog post is based on a binary logistic regression analysis. The analysis includes having a loan or not, age group, settlement type, education level, party support, and employment status. The party support variable is coded as follows. The category “No party” consists of individuals that responded none or don’t know when asked which party was closest to them. The liberal group consists of New Rights, Bakradze-Ugulava - European Georgia, the Republican Party, the Free Democrats, the New Political Center – Girchi, the Movement State for the People, Political Platform - New Georgia, European Democrats, and Development Movement. The other grouping consists of the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia, Free Georgia, Democratic Movement – United Georgia, Left Alliance, Industry will save Georgia/Industrialists, the Georgian Conservative Party, the Georgian Labor Party, the Unity of Georgian Traditionalists, Tamaz Mechiauri for United Georgia, and Georgian Troupe. The data this blog post is based on is available here. The replication code for the above analysis is available here.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Knowledge of visa-free requirements falls since launch of scheme

Georgian citizens have been able to travel visa free within the Schengen zone for approaching three years, the result of several years of complex dialogue and policy reform. Despite the elapsed time, and a major EU-funded public information campaign, the results of the 2019 Survey on Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia (EU Survey) suggest that public knowledge of requirements for visa free travel have fallen since the scheme launched. Similarly, the same period has seen a large rise in the number of Georgian citizens being denied entry to EU countries, with Eurostat reporting over four thousand such cases in 2018 alone, up over a third since 2017.

For a Georgian citizen to enter the Schengen zone under the visa-free regime, the following documents are required:

  • A biometric passport;
  • Proof of financial means to cover expenses;
  • A return ticket;
  • Proof of address during stay (for example a hotel reservation).
Additionally, stays may not exceed 90 days in any 180-day period, and visitors under the visa free regime are not allowed to work.

In both the 2017 and 2019 waves of the EU survey, respondents were asked about their knowledge of requirements for documentation, length of stay, and right to work. The data suggest a marked decline in areas of knowledge asked about aside from the requirement for a biometric passport and the duration of stay. Falls were seen in awareness of the need for proof of address during the stay, proof of financial means to cover expenses, and a return ticket. In addition, there was a steep decline in knowledge of whether or not one can work during a stay.

To better understand who is more and less aware of the above requirements, a simple additive index describing an individual’s overall understanding of the EU requirements outlined above was developed. Correct responses to the above questions are counted as one point, resulting in knowledge scale from 0-6, with a score of zero representing no correct responses and six representing fully correct responses. Overall, across both waves, less than one percent of respondents answered all six questions correctly, with 13% answering none correctly. The average score on the index decreased from 2.6 in 2017 to 2.2 in 2019.

Scores on the index in 2019 are associated with the sex, age, ethnicity, employment status, education level, and internet use. After accounting for other factors, there is no significant differences in awareness between people living in Tbilisi, other urban areas, and rural areas. Younger people, men, people with tertiary education or higher, ethnic Georgians, the employed, and regular internet users are more likely to have better knowledge of the requirements for visa free travel on average, all else equal. By far the largest observed difference was for ethnic minorities, who are predicted to score one point lower on the knowledge index than ethnic Georgians.

This pattern is reflected in minorities reporting lower levels of awareness across all questions asked, except travel insurance. For example, 56% of ethnic minority respondents knew about the need for a biometric passport compared to 81% of Georgians survey – a 35 percentage point difference. Similarly large differences between Georgian and minority respondents were observed in correct responses relating to the right to work and financial requirements for entry, with minority respondents as a group respectively scoring 17 and 14 percentage points lower than their ethnic Georgian counterparts.

Although ethnic minorities are consistently less aware of visa free regulations, the overall decline in awareness appears to be driven by a fall among ethnic Georgian respondents. Between 2017 and 2019, there is a rise along some dimensions of knowledge of the requirements reported by ethnic minority groups. However correct responses from ethnic Georgian respondents have fallen in three of the six domains asked about.

While knowledge is lower among ethnic minorities, their knowledge has increased between waves of the survey along some dimensions. In contrast, awareness of the rules of visa free travel have been on the decline among the ethnic Georgian population.

With the available data, it is not possible to identify the source of the higher baseline (2017) scores for ethnic Georgian respondents vis-à-vis ethnic minorities, nor the driving factors behind their divergent changes over the past two years. This noted, this pattern would be consistent with the hypothesis that previous information campaigns may have been more effective in reaching ethnic Georgians than minority groups, and that public awareness has slipped as this issue has fallen from national headlines.

Substantial numbers of Georgian citizens have been denied entry to the EU since the introduction of visa-free travel, a process which generates significant financial costs and personal distress for the individuals concerned. In this context, it is concerning that the Georgian public’s knowledge of requirements for visa-free travel to Schengen zone countries has fallen since 2017 – suggesting a need for renewed messaging around the details of the scheme.

Furthermore, whilst there are some differences between knowledge across many demographic categories, ethnic minority groups display substantially lower knowledge than any other group. As such, for any renewed information campaign to be effective, it should take concrete steps to ensure the inclusion of ethnic minority groups.

Note: The data presented in the above blog post is available here. Replication code for the regression analysis is available here.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Government employees assess the work of the government better than the general public

The outlook in Georgia continues to be increasingly pessimistic, with more people reporting that the country is heading in the wrong direction. Similarly, performance assessments of government institutions have been on the decline in recent years. As recent CRRC analyses have highlighted, party identification, attitudes towards individual politicians, ethnicity, and Georgian language proficiency among ethnic minorities are associated with attitudes towards government. Analysis of the July 2019 CRRC and NDI survey suggests that working for the state is also associated with performance assessments. However, government employees in poor households and those in Tbilisi rate government performance significantly worse.

On the survey, 32% of respondents reported the government was performing well. In contrast, 60% said it was performing poorly. The remaining respondents stated either that they don’t know or refused to answer how they thought the government was doing.  On the survey about one in ten (12%) respondents said they work for a public agency or government, which is equivalent to one third of the respondents on the survey that reported having a job (33%). While 30% of people who do not work for government responded to the survey question saying the government was working well, 44% of state employees reported it was working well. Aside from state employees, people with tertiary education were more positive about government performance than people without, and people in the capital were less positive than in other settlements.

The significantly higher performance assessment among government employees remains after controlling for age, settlement type, wealth, sex, employment status, and education level. After adjusting for the previously noted characteristics, state employees are 14 percentage points more likely to report the government’s performance is positive compared to those without a job and 13 percentage points more likely than those with a job outside government. Similarly, the differences with education and settlement type remained after controlling for other factors. Other variables included in the analysis did not show significant associations with assessments of state performance.

However, digging deeper into the data to look at differences among different groups of government employees suggests that some government employees are more approving than others. Government employees that are in wealthier households (and presumably also earning larger amounts of money), are significantly more likely to have a positive attitude towards state performance: there is an 8% chance that the poorest government employees think government performance is positive compared with a 68% chance among the best off government employees. By comparison, performance assessments do not vary with wealth for those outside state employment.

Attitudes among government employees also vary based on what type of settlement they live in. In Tbilisi, government employees are most critical of the government, while in other urban and rural areas, they are significantly more likely to report they are positive about government performance. By comparison, the differences are much smaller between settlement types for individuals that are not employed or work outside of government.

While on average, people working for the government are more likely to think performance is better, government employees in Tbilisi and living in poor households are significantly less positive about government performance compared with both other government employees and the general public.

Note: The above analysis is based on two logistic regression analyses. The first contains sex (male, female), state employment (state employee, employed elsewhere, not working), wealth (number of assets owned), education level (secondary or less, vocational, or tertiary), age, and settlement type as independent variables. The dependent variable was positive (Very well, well) versus negative (Poorly, Very poorly) responses to the question, “Please tell me, how would you rate the performance of the current government?” The second analysis included the interaction of employment status with wealth as well as with settlement type. The data used in the above analysis is available here. The replication code for the above analysis is available here.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Drugs for desert? Biggest monthly household expenses in Georgia

The economy remains the main concern for people in Georgia. Together with the consumer price index and USD-GEL exchange rate rising, average household expenditures also have increased over the last couple of years. Meanwhile, according to recent data only 10% of the population has any savings. Although household expenditures have increased, what are people spending money on? The most recent CRRC-NDI survey from summer 2019 asked questions about household expenditures which provide a sense about what people spend money on in Georgia as well as who spends more on different categories of goods and services.

Most of the families in Georgia spend everything they earn. When asked about the largest monthly household expenses, everyday necessities came out on top, while leisure related expenditures were named by only a few. Food and utilities were named twice as frequently as any other expense. While this might not be a surprise, it is noteworthy that expenses on medicine came third, with more than one in three naming it as one of their largest monthly household expenses. Interestingly enough, some people, though a negligible number, still name travel, exercise, and entertainment related expenditures as the largest.

Note: Respondents were allowed to name up to three categories.

To understand how household expenditures vary between different demographic groups regression models were constructed. They included sex (male, female), age group (18-34, 35-54, 55 and +), settlement type (capital, large urban, small urban, rural), ethnic enclave status (primarily Georgian settlements, primarily minority settlements) and an additive index of ownership of different items, a common proxy for wealth.

When looking at the most common household expenses, food and utilities are on top regardless of people’s gender, age, the type of settlement they live in, or their economic situation. Nevertheless, the regression model showed that several demographic variables are useful in predicting who is more likely to have certain kinds of expenditures. For example, people who live in the capital  are less likely to name loans/installments/mortgages as their largest monthly expenditure compared to people in small urban and rural areas. People over 55 and people with lower economic standing are much less likely to name this expenditure as well, compared to people who are younger and people with higher economic standing. Also, minority settlements are less likely to name loans compared to Georgian settlements.

Similarly, there are some small differences in terms of education costs as well. People who are over 55 and men are slightly less likely to name education related expenditures compared to younger people and women. In households with higher economic standing, education related expenses are more likely to be mentioned among the largest monthly household expenditures.

One of the most interesting issues to look at is spending on medicine. It is third highest on the list, which is telling: a third of the population is spending as much or more medicine as food. There are also some interesting differences between various groups associated with medicine related expenses. People living in small urban and rural areas are more likely to name medicine among their top expenditures than those who live in the capital. Also, minority settlements are slightly less likely to mention medicine in their expenditures, than people from Georgian settlements. Similarly, younger people are one third as likely to name medicine, compared to people who are 56 or older. An additive index of ownership of household items shows that Georgians who own fewer things are more likely to say medicine is one of the top monthly expenditures in their household compared to people who own more. Differences between richer and poorer people hold even, when looking at people in different age groups. In all age groups people with higher economic standing name medicine less frequently than poorer people. Thus, older people and people with worse economic situations are more likely to name medicine as among their largest monthly expenditures. Interestingly, the same pattern is not present with medical care spending as opposed to spending on medication.

The data show that in all demographic groups in Georgia subsistence related expenses occupy the main position in household expenditures. Food, utilities, and medicine are the top expenditure categories for young and old, well-off and poor, men and women, and people in cities and rural areas. Though, there are of course some differences in expenditures between some demographic groups as well. Older people are less likely to have loans or education related expenses. Economically better off people are more likely to name these among their top expenditures. Moreover, older people and people with worse economic situations are more likely to name medicine related expenses, than younger people and those with better economic situation. Importantly, economic situation remains important even when controlling for age: better-off people are less likely to name medicine related expenses than the poor no matter their age.

Note: This blog post is based on logistic regression analyses. The dependent variable was a dummy variable for mentioning food, cost of utilities, medicine, medical care, or loans as the largest monthly household expense versus not naming this expense.  The independent variables included sex, age group, settlement type, ethnic enclave status, and an additive index of ownership of household items. The data used in the above analysis is available here. The replication code can be found here.

Monday, October 28, 2019

How many cars are there in Tbilisi’s streets?

People in Tbilisi often talk about the growing number of vehicles and problems associated with them. According to NDI and CRRC public opinion surveys, every third Tbilisi resident considers traffic, every fifth parking, and every other pollution among the most important public goods related issues in the city. These issues clearly relate to the cars on Tbilisi streets. Yet, a basic fact that could help inform policy to address these issues – how many cars drive on Tbilisi’s streets – is unknown, with different data sources indicating sharply different estimates.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) is responsible for car registration and maintains a database of registered vehicles in the country. The number of registered vehicles are available from the MIA in annual reports and monthly updated lists of vehicles that have valid registration status. The official data suggests that at the moment there are 494,627 vehicles registered in Tbilisi. Excluding agricultural vehicles, specialized vehicles, non-motorized trailers, and two-wheeled vehicles, as some international reports do, suggests there are 462,922 light vehicles, trucks, vans and buses registered in Tbilisi. This is equivalent to 395 vehicles per 1000 residents.

While these numbers are informative, what they really say is how many vehicles are actively registered rather than driving on Tbilisi’s streets. These numbers likely differ, because the registered vehicle list includes cars that are no longer working, but still have valid registration status. These cars are not removed from the vehicle registry, because there is rarely an incentive to do so for the owner such as registration fees or fines for failing to remove the car from the registry. The exceptions to this are when inactive cars are sold for scrap or for export, because the people purchasing the vehicle often request that the owner remove it from the registry.  Given this situation, it is reasonable to believe that the actual number of vehicles driven in the city is lower than the official number of registered vehicles.

Estimating the number of cars
To estimate the number of vehicles driven in the city, the following assumptions are used:

  1. Only light vehicles, trucks, vans, and buses are included in the data analysis. Agricultural vehicles, specialized vehicles, non-motorized trailers, and two-wheeled vehicles are excluded from the data analysis, though they are provided in the MIA data. Aside from international practice, this generally makes sense: agricultural vehicles are on the streets relatively rarely compared to cars and vans. Generally two-wheeled vehicles are not considered due to their lighter impact given their lighter size and parking space needed.
  2. The analysis assumes all registered vehicles under corporate ownership are in working condition and in use, while only some individually owned vehicles are. The rationale behind this is that corporate owners (both state and private) have stronger incentives to de-register vehicles, as they appear on their balance sheets, a factor individual owners do not consider. 
  3. The share of registered vehicles in working condition is estimated using household survey data from April-June, 2016. The analysis assumes that the share of vehicles registered and in working condition has not changed significantly. 

From here, when vehicles is mentioned, it means light vehicles, buses/vans and trucks together. Otherwise, the specific group of vehicles is used (e.g. light vehicles or buses/vans and trucks). All statistics refer to Tbilisi only. When the ownership status is not specified as individual or corporate, all vehicles are included.

As noted above, there is good reason to believe that there are fewer individually owned vehicles in operation than registered in Tbilisi. Hence, survey data is used to estimate the number of individually owned vehicles in use in Tbilisi. The latest publicly available survey data comes from 2016 and is used to estimate the share of individually owned vehicles in use among all individually owned vehicles, and then based on the third assumption above, this number is used to estimate the number of vehicles in combination with 2019 official registry data.

The survey data comes from the Tbilisi Metropolitan Area Transportation Household Survey, which Systra conducted in April-June, 2016. The survey had 6,092 respondents in Tbilisi. It asked about the number of vehicles households have, the vehicle type (light car/SUV, pickup truck, van/boxcar, heavy truck, light truck, microbus or other), ownership status (owned, professional use, rented or other), and frequency of usage. Vehicles in working condition are defined as those that have driven at least one kilometer during the 12 months prior to the survey. According to the survey, there were 168,314 (+/-5,702) individually owned vehicles in use in Tbilisi in 2016.

The next step is the calculation of the share of working vehicles among individually owned registered vehicles in 2016. However, the official registry data provides information about ownership status only for 2017-2019 data, while for 2016, there are only two official statistics available: the number of light vehicles (376,962) and the number of total vehicles (440,042). Ownership status, however, is not available. Hence, to estimate the number of individually owned vehicles in 2016, this post uses the average of 2017-2019 data to estimate:
  • The share of individually owned light vehicles among all registered light vehicles and; 
  • The share of individually owned trucks, vans, and buses among all registered vehicles.
Between 2017 and 2019, the average share of individually owned light vehicles in Tbilisi was 83%. The analysis assumes that the average share of individually owned vehicles among all vehicles did not change significantly between 2016 and 2017-2019. Under this assumption, multiplying the average share of individually owned light vehicles by the total number of registered light vehicles leads to an estimate of the total number of individually owned registered light vehicles. According to the MIA data, there were 376,962 light vehicles registered in Tbilisi in 2016. Of these, approximately 313,896 of them were individually owned based on the above estimate.

As for buses/vans and trucks, the average share of individually owned buses/vans and trucks among all vehicles in 2017-2019 was 4%, which translates to 16,780 individually owned buses/vans and trucks (from 440,042 registered vehicles in 2016). Adding the two estimates leads to an overall estimate of 330,675 individually owned, registered vehicles in 2016. By comparison, the survey data from 2016 indicates that there were 168,314 (+/-5,702) individually owned vehicles that were working in 2016.  These figures taken together suggest that among registered, individually owned vehicles, 51% (+/- 1.7%, due to a survey error) are in working condition and being used.

Assuming that the share of vehicles in use is the same for individually owned vehicles and has not changed significantly in recent years, the number of individually owned light vehicles, buses/vans and trucks in Tbilisi in 2019 is approximately 186,855, out of the 367,101 registered individually owned vehicles. Assuming that all corporate vehicles are working (95,821), there are 282,676 light vehicles, trucks and buses, on the streets of Tbilisi of the 462,922 which are currently registered

Based on the above figures, there are 241 vehicles driving on Tbilisi’s streets per 1000 residents in 2019, 57% of the number that are registered in Tbilisi. The real number of vehicles in Tbilisi’s streets might still be higher than this estimate, as some vehicles are not registered in Tbilisi, but drive on its streets. At the same time, many cars registered in Tbilisi are likely to be driven outside of Tbilisi. Even taking this into account, it seems unlikely that there are so many cars that drive on Tbilisi’s streets but that are registered elsewhere that it would throw this estimate off dramatically.

Even though there are likely less cars on the road than previously thought, the problems they create are foremost in the minds of the residents of Tbilisi. In turn, the data suggests that the impact per car on the problems with parking, traffic, and pollution are larger than one might believe based on the official estimates of cars registered in Tbilisi. In turn, this suggests a clear need for policy to address the issues before they become worse.