Country assessments A-Z
Key findings in 2016
|Percentage of respondents that agree or strongly agree with the following statements||Kyrgyz Republic||Transition region average||Germany||Italy|
|Economic situation better than 4 years ago||53||24||33||7|
|Political situation better than 4 years ago||51||28||17||9|
|Household lives better than 4 years ago||68||29||28||10|
|There is less corruption than 4 years ago||33||23||16||10|
|Satisfied with personal financial situation||63||31||55||33|
Satisfaction with the situation at the country level and with personal circumstances
Among respondents in the Kyrgyz Republic, 53 and 51 per cent believe that the economic and political situation were better in 2016 than four years prior to the survey, two of the highest satisfaction rates in the transition region. These figures are more than double the corresponding averages for the transition region, Germany and Italy. One-third of interviewed Kyrgyz respondents also think that there was less corruption in 2016 than four years before the survey. Additional analysis of the LiTS III data nevertheless shows that 25 per cent of respondents report that they, or a member of their household, made unofficial payments or gifts when accessing public services in the 12 months preceding the survey.
Among respondents, 68 per cent believe that their households lived better in 2016 than they did four years before the survey, while two in three Kyrgyz individuals report that they are satisfied with their current personal financial situation, a value significantly above the transition region average of 31 per cent and in line with the average for Central Asia at 65 per cent.
Life satisfaction among Kyrgyz respondents has risen considerably across all age and income groups, and is the second highest in the transition region. Among respondents, 75 per cent declare themselves satisfied with life, as opposed to 50 per cent in the previous survey in 2010. The level of life satisfaction rises sharply according to income level, with 96 per cent of respondents from the upper income group stating that they are satisfied with their life.
The Kyrgyz Republic has also registered a significant increase in the percentage of respondents who are optimistic about the future. The proportion of people who think that children born in the country now will fare better than the current generation increased from 50 per cent in 2010 to 77 per cent in 2016, the third highest figure in the transition region. Further analysis shows that optimism displays little variation across age groups but is positively correlated with income level.
Attitudes towards democracy and the market economy
Support for the market economy has slightly weakened since the last survey, from 47 per cent in 2010 to 45 per cent in 2016. Moreover, around one-third of those surveyed believe that a planned economy might be preferable over a market economy under some circumstances. While the majority of respondents (53 per cent) prefer democracy to any other form of government, about a quarter say they might prefer, under some circumstances, an authoritarian system. 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 fewer political liberties but strong economic growth (country A), about 75 per cent of them opted for country A.
When asked which democratic institutions exist in the Kyrgyz Republic, 59 per cent of respondents indicated that freedom of speech and gender equality are present in the country, while 56 per cent mentioned peace and stability. The extent to which Kyrgyz respondents agree that other basic democratic institutions exist in their country is rather low, with only one-third of the surveyed individuals reporting that they believe free elections, law and order and a fair justice system are guaranteed in the country.
Priorities for government spending
Among Kyrgyz respondents, 36 per cent think that additional government spending on education should be the main priority. This preference is particularly strong for the middle-income group and among those in rural areas. This contrasts with the majority of the other countries in the LiTS III survey, where health care is usually seen as the first priority for additional government spending. In the Kyrgyz Republic, only one in four respondents believe that more funding should be committed to improve health care, while another 15 per cent think that funding should be targeted to help and assist the poor. Additional analysis of the LiTS III data shows that around 63 and 60 per cent of Kyrgyz respondents would be willing to contribute more to improve the quality of their public health system and public education, respectively.
Sources of information
The main daily sources of information for the Kyrgyz population are television and radio and conversations with family, friends and colleagues, mentioned by 65 and 44 of the respondents, respectively. The percentage of respondents who use the internet and social media on a daily basis as sources of information has increased significantly since the last survey, from only 6 per cent in 2010 to 25 per cent in 2016. This usage rate is nevertheless still one of the lowest in the transition region. Importantly, the data show a large urban-rural divide, with 36 of respondents from urban areas reporting daily usage of the internet, in contrast to only 19 per cent of those residing in rural areas. Newspapers are read at least once a day by approximately 9 per cent of the interviewed respondents, a number in line with the transition region average but still well below the corresponding figures for Germany and Italy.
Among Kyrgyz respondents, 62 per cent reported a positive health self-assessment, an average that is higher than the ones for the transition region and Italy (54 per cent in both cases) but lower than the corresponding figure for Germany (68 per cent).
Quality of public services
The majority of Kyrgyz respondents report being satisfied with the general quality of public services in their country, with the exception of local roads, which cause dissatisfaction for about 63 per cent of the population. The remaining figures range from an 88 per cent satisfaction rate for the provision of pipeline gas to 59 per cent for postal services.
Social and economic mobility
When Kyrgyz respondents were asked from a list of options what were the most important factors for success in life in their country, the most popular answers were “effort and hard work” (59 per cent) and “intelligence and skills” (31 per cent), both of which are broadly in line with averages for Germany, and well above the corresponding figures for Italy. There is also little, if any, belief among respondents that exploiting political connections or breaking the law gets people ahead in life.
Attitudes towards women
Among Kyrgyz respondents, 92 per cent believe it is important for their daughter to achieve a university education. Nevertheless, 75 and 73 per cent of female and male respondents believe that men are better political leaders than women, respectively, while 87 per cent of the sample favours a traditional family arrangement where the man works and the woman takes care of the house and children, one of the highest figures in the transition region. In addition, around 84 per cent of respondents of either gender think that a woman should do the household chores, even if her husband is not working. Four in five women and three in four men think that female business executives are as competent as male business executives.