Country assessments A-Z
Key findings in 2016
|Percentage of respondents that agree or strongly agree with the following statements||Poland||Transition region average||Germany||Italy|
|Economic situation better than 4 years ago||32||24||33||7|
|Political situation better than 4 years ago||27||28||17||9|
|Household lives better than 4 years ago||40||29||28||10|
|There is less corruption than 4 years ago||30||23||16||10|
|Satisfied with personal financial situation||44||31||55||33|
Satisfaction with the situation at the country level and with personal circumstances
About 32 and 27 per cent of respondents believe that the economic and the political situation in Poland was better in 2016 than four years prior to the survey. The first figure is above the corresponding average for central Europe and the Baltic states (CEB), the average for the transition region as a whole and the average for Italy, while it is 1 percentage point below the average for Germany. Appreciation of the present political situation is, instead, higher than in the CEB region, Italy and also Germany. Moreover, one in three Polish respondents believe that corruption declined in the four years preceding the survey, a number substantially above the CEB and transition region averages of 23 per cent.
Among Polish respondents, 44 per cent report that they are satisfied with their current financial situation and 40 per cent believe that households in their country live better than they did four years prior to the survey.
Life satisfaction increased from 56 per cent in 2010 to 58 per cent in 2016, and is now higher than the transition region average (43 per cent) and the corresponding figure for Italy (42 per cent). However, Poland still fares worse relative to Germany, where as many as three in four respondents report being satisfied with their life. Relative to 2010 levels, the lowest-income bracket of the population saw a drop in life satisfaction of 10 percentage points, while the middle and upper income groups experienced modest increases (6 percentage points and 3 percentage points, respectively).
Confidence in a better future for the younger generation slightly decreased from 56 per cent in 2010 to 55 per cent in 2016, but it is still well above the transition region average of 50 per cent and the corresponding values for Germany and Italy (46 and 22 per cent, respectively). There is almost no variation in the level of optimism across different age groups of the surveyed population, but middle and upper income groups do seem more optimistic than their peers in the lower income bracket.
Attitudes towards democracy and the market economy
Support for democracy and the market economy increased significantly from 46 and 30 per cent in 2010 to 57 and 41 per cent in 2016, respectively, and are now well above the corresponding averages for the transition region. Still, a quarter of the respondents do not have a marked preference for a specific political system, while one-third of interviewed Polish individuals believe that “for people like me, it does not matter” which economic system is in place.
Perceptions of the existence of basic democratic institutions in Poland vary. When asked which democratic institutions existed in the country, 82 per cent of respondents mentioned free elections, followed by gender equality, peace and stability, freedom of speech, law and order and an independent press, at 76, 62, 61, 55 and 55 per cent, respectively.
Priorities for government spending
About 48 per cent of Polish respondents cite health care as what they think should be the main priority for additional government spending, followed by pensions (17 per cent), assisting the poor (11 per cent) and housing (10 per cent). Only 8 per cent think that education deserves priority attention, which is well below the corresponding values for comparator countries (31 per cent for Germany and 13 per cent for Italy). Additional analysis of the LiTS III data shows that 41 and 26 per cent of Polish respondents would be willing to pay more taxes, in order to have better public health care and an improved education system, respectively.
Sources of information
The main daily sources of information for Polish respondents are television and the radio, used each day by 53 per cent of the population, and internet and social media, mentioned by 38 per cent of respondents. Newspaper readership decreased by 4 percentage points, from 12 per cent in 2010 to 8 per cent in 2016, a number that is now lower than the averages for CEB and the transition region (12 and 9 per cent, respectively), and especially below the corresponding figures for Germany and Italy.
Among Polish respondents, 63 per cent report a positive health status, a percentage that is higher than the transition region average of 54 per cent and similar to the values reported in Western comparators. On average, compared to 2010, there has been a modest increase (4 percentage points) in self-reported good health. Not surprisingly, health is negatively correlated with age. While there are no significant differences between male and female respondents, people who live in rural areas are more likely to define their health as “good” or “very good”.
Quality of public services
The majority of Poles report that they are satisfied with the general quality of public services in their country. Overall, 93 per cent of respondents are satisfied with the provision of water and pipeline gas, and 92 per cent are happy with the electricity provided to their dwellings. All these figures compare well with the averages for the transition region and Germany, and are higher than the ones reported in Italy.
Social and economic mobility
When Polish respondents were asked from a list of options what they thought were the most important factors for success in life in their country, 38 per cent chose “effort and hard work” and 39 per cent opted for “intelligence and skills”.
Attitudes towards women
Only 54 per cent of female Polish respondents and 35 per cent of male Polish respondents think that women are as competent as men as business executives and only 30 per cent of respondents believe it important for their daughter to achieve a university education. These figures are substantially lower than the averages for the western European comparators and contrast with the earlier observation that 76 per cent of Polish respondents feel there is gender equality in the country. Other results show that only 6 per cent of respondents believe that men make better politicians than women, and only 5 per cent of Poles believe that a woman should do household chores, even if her husband is not working.