Monday, July 25, 2016

Civic engagement in Georgia

Participation in various forms of social life can help people solve important social problems without the government’s involvement, which will eventually contribute to the formation of civil society. Different characteristics, including gender, age and settlement type, influence people’s participation in these activities. The results of CRRC’s 2015 Caucasus Barometer survey allow us to find out which of the 12 activities included in the questionnaire, the population of Georgia was engaged in most during the six months prior to fieldwork and how this engagement differs by gender, age and settlement type.

A majority of Georgia’s population (58%) reports having helped friends or neighbors with household chores or childcare during the last six months, while a very small share (6%) answered that they have signed a petition or written a letter, or made a phone call to a TV/radio program (5%). A rather small share reports having attended a public meeting to discuss issues that are important for the community (17%).

 Note: Only the share of those answering “Yes” is presented in the charts throughout this blog.

The finding that a majority of the population reports helping friends or neighbors with household chores is unsurprising, given that Georgia is a country where trust, cooperation and compassion between members of primary social groups (such as family, friends, etc.) is especially strong. As CRRC’s 2011 report “An Assessment of Social Capital in Georgia" pointed out, bonding (within group) social capital is rather strong in Georgia, while bridging social capital, which links representatives of different social groups, is weaker.

People living in different types of settlements report different levels of participation in these activities, and differences are especially apparent between those living in the capital and rural settlements. For example, 62% of the Tbilisi population donated money to a church or a mosque during the last six months, while 52% of people living in rural settlements reported the same. A smaller share of the rural population reported making a contribution to a non-religious charity, including donations by sms and giving money to beggars, compared to the urban population. However, a larger share of people living in rural settlements helped friends or neighbors than the share that did so in Tbilisi or other urban settlements. As for volunteering, there are no visible differences between people living in different settlement types.
Note: Only activities in which at least 20% of the population reported having been engaged in are presented in the chart above and throughout the remainder of this blog.

Involvement in these activities is significantly lower among people who are older than 56, while people between the ages of 18-35 and 36-55 participate at similar rates.

Interestingly, a larger share of men compared to women helped someone to resolve a dispute, volunteered, and helped a friend or neighbor with household chores. The only activity where women’s involvement is higher than men’s is donating money to a church or mosque.

This blog post has looked at the Georgian population’s involvement in different activities, and how this involvement varies by age, sex and settlement type. To see more data from the Caucasus Barometer survey, visit CRRC’s online data analysis tool.

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