Country assessments A-Z
Key findings in 2016
|Percentage of respondents that agree or strongly agree with the following statements||Hungary||Transition region average||Germany||Italy|
|Economic situation better than 4 years ago||29||24||33||7|
|Political situation better than 4 years ago||27||28||17||9|
|Household lives better than 4 years ago||24||29||28||10|
|There is less corruption than 4 years ago||15||23||16||10|
|Satisfied with personal financial situation||27||31||55||33|
Satisfaction with the situation at the country level and with personal circumstances
About 29 and 27 per cent of respondents believe that the economic and political situation in Hungary was better in 2016 than four years prior to the survey. The first figure is broadly in line than the corresponding average for Central Europe and the Baltic states (CEB), and higher than the figures for the transition region and Italy. Appreciation for the present political situation is in line with the transition region average, but higher than in the CEB region, Germany and Italy. Still, only 15 per cent of Hungarians believe that improvements in the level of corruption were made in the four years preceding the survey, a number substantially below the transition region average of 23 per cent.
One in four households surveyed in Hungary believe that some improvement in their living standards occurred over the four years preceding the survey, while 27 per cent of respondents report being satisfied with their financial situation, as opposed to 39 and 31 per cent of those in CEB and the transition region.
The level of life satisfaction for Hungarian respondents in 2016 was below the transition region average: 33 per cent of respondents in the country report being satisfied with life, compared to 54 per cent in CEB and 43 per cent in the transition region. The younger and older cohorts, and the respondents in the middle- and upper-income groups appear more satisfied with their life than their counterparts.
Hungarians’ confidence in a better future for the younger generation increased from 27 per cent in 2010 to 39 per cent in 2016, but confidence levels are still well below the transition region average of 50 per cent. The level of optimism does not vary across different age groups of the population but there is a strong positive correlation with income: 56 per cent of respondents in the upper income group declare they are optimistic about the future of the younger generation, as opposed to only 31 per cent among Hungarians in the lower income bracket.
Attitudes towards democracy and the market economy
Support for democracy and the market economy increased moderately from 53 and 30 per cent in 2010 to 59 and 38 per cent in 2016, respectively, and are now above the corresponding averages for the transition region. Still, one-quarter of the respondents do not have a marked preference for a specific political system, while one-third of interviewed Hungarians believe that “for people like me, it does not matter” which economic system is in place. When respondents were asked a hypothetical question about whether they would rather live in a country with full political liberties but weak economic growth (country B) or in one with limited freedoms and stronger growth (country A), about 70 per cent of them reported that they would rather live in country A.
Among respondents there is a moderate belief in the presence of basic democratic institutions in their country. When asked which democratic institutions existed in Hungary, 63 per cent of respondents mentioned that peace and stability are guaranteed in the country, followed by freedom of speech, free elections and gender equality, at 55, 54 and 51 per cent, respectively. The extent to which Hungarians agree that other basic democratic institutions are in place varies but it is consistently lower than 50 per cent. Compared to Germany, Hungary fares worse on all accounts, while relative to Italians, the Hungarians are more optimistic about the existence of law and order, an independent press, a strong political opposition and a fair court system.
Priorities for government spending
Among respondents in Hungary, 45 per cent state that they would prefer their government to prioritise health care, which is the second highest percentage for this specific response option across all countries surveyed. However, additional results show that only 36 per cent of Hungarian respondents would be willing to pay more taxes to improve the public healthcare system. About 22 per cent of respondents would also like to see extra government expenditure channelled to help the poor and 11 per cent of respondents would like extra government funding to improve pensions.
Sources of information
The main daily sources of information for Hungarians are television and radio, which are used on a daily basis by 61 per cent of the population, and internet and social media, mentioned by 33 per cent of respondents. Internet and social media usage has increased significantly since 2010, from 17 to 33 per cent, and is especially popular among the younger generation. Newspaper readership decreased by 11 percentage points compared to 2010 levels, but it is still rather high: 17 per cent of respondents read newspapers on a daily basis, as opposed to 12 per cent of the population in the CEB region and only 9 per cent of the respondents in the transition region as a whole. Nonetheless, this is well below the corresponding figures for Germany and Italy.
Among Hungarian respondents, 58 per cent report a positive health self-assessment in 2016, a 20 percentage point increase relative to 2010, which puts Hungary ahead of the transition region average as well as Italy, both at 54 per cent, but still below Germany, where as many as 68 per cent of respondents report to be in good health. Disaggregated results confirm that the percentage of healthy respondents decreases with age and increases with income.
Quality of public services
The majority of Hungarian respondents report that they are satisfied with the general quality of public services in their country, the only exception being the local road network, which causes dissatisfaction among the rural population in particular. Overall, 91 per cent of respondents are satisfied with the electricity provided to their dwellings, while 88, 87, 86 and 85 per cent of respondents indicate that the quality of their telephone line, the postal service, heating and water are of satisfactory quality, respectively. All these figures, except for the one related to local roads, compare well with the averages for the transition region as a whole, as well as with the German and Italian levels of satisfaction with public services.
Social and economic mobility
When respondents were asked from a list of options what they thought are the most important factors for success in life in their country, 35 per cent of Hungarians chose “political connections” and an additional 35 per cent opted for “effort and hard work”.
Attitudes towards women
91 and 82 per cent of female and male respondents, respectively, believe that women are as competent as men to be business executives, while 40 and 46 per cent of women and men think that men make better political leaders than women. Only about half of the respondents consider it important that their daughter completes a university education. In addition, 64 per cent of Hungarians believe that a woman should do household chores, even if her husband is not working, and another 64 per cent favour a traditional family arrangement where the man works and the woman takes care of the house and children.