Country assessments A-Z
Key findings in 2016
|Percentage of respondents that agree or strongly agree with the following statements||Serbia||Transition region average||Germany||Italy|
|Economic situation better than 4 years ago||28||24||33||7|
|Political situation better than 4 years ago||32||28||17||9|
|Household lives better than 4 years ago||29||29||28||10|
|There is less corruption than 4 years ago||29||23||16||10|
|Satisfied with personal financial situation||31||31||55||33|
Satisfaction with the situation at the country level and with personal circumstances
28 and 32 per cent of Serbian respondents believe that the economic and political conditions in their country were better in 2016 than four years prior to the survey. Both these percentages are higher than the averages for south-eastern Europe (SEE), both at 17 per cent, and the transition region, at 24 and 28 per cent, respectively. About 29 per cent of those surveyed think that corruption levels improved during the four years preceding the survey.
Only 29 per cent of Serbians believe that their household was better off in 2016 as compared with four years prior to the survey, and 31 per cent are satisfied with their personal financial situation. Life satisfaction has nevertheless increased across all demographic groups compared with 2010, with a country-wide increase of 16 percentage points. As of 2016, 46 per cent of Serbians are satisfied with their life, a figure that is higher than both the SEE and the transition region averages (39 and 43 per cent, respectively).
39 per cent of Serbian respondents think that children born now will have a better life than the current generations, an 8 percentage point increase relative to 2010 levels. Still, the Serbian optimism figure is below the transition region average of 50 per cent.
Attitudes towards democracy and the market economy
38 and 30 per cent of Serbian respondents prefer democracy and a market economy over any other form of political or economic system, respectively, while around 23 and 25 per cent, respectively, report that an authoritarian system and a planned economy may be better solutions under some circumstances. This implies that support for both democracy and the market economy is lower in Serbia than in the SEE region as a whole, in the transition region, in Italy and in Germany. An additional 39 and 45 per cent of Serbians believe that “for people like me, it does not matter” which political and economic system prevails.
When asked which democratic institutions exist in the country, 62 per cent of Serbians mention peace and stability, followed by freedom of speech (55 per cent), free and fair elections (50 per cent) and gender equality (49 per cent). Serbians are more sceptical about the existence of an independent press (34 per cent), a fair justice system (34 per cent) and a strong political opposition (26 per cent). These percentages are, however, still above the SEE averages and also compare well with the transition region averages.
Priorities for government spending
28 per cent of respondents would prefer extra government funding to be spent on assisting the poor, the third highest figure in the sample and more than double the average for the transition countries as a whole (13 per cent). The next most popular spending options are health care (20 per cent), investments in education (17 per cent) and pensions (16 per cent). Consistent with this, 59 per cent of Serbian respondents would be willing to pay more taxes to assist the poor. About 47 and 46 per cent would also be willing to pay more taxes to have a better health care and a better educational system, respectively. Alternative spending categories, such as public infrastructure or the environment, attract little support.
Sources of information
The main daily sources of information for Serbian respondents are the television and the radio (48 per cent), followed by discussions with family, friends or colleagues (29 per cent). Newspapers, the internet and social media are, instead, utilised on a daily basis by a quarter of the population.
Around 62 per cent of Serbian respondents report a positive health self-assessment, which is slightly below the averages for SEE and Germany (65 and 68 per cent, respectively), but higher than the corresponding values for the transition region and Italy (both at 54 per cent). Compared with 2010, self-assessed health has improved across all demographic groups in Serbia.
Quality of public services
The majority of Serbians are satisfied with the quality of most public services in the country: satisfaction rates range from 68 per cent, for the provision of pipeline gas, to 88 per cent, for heating and telephone line services. Local roads is the only service that is appreciated by less than half of the population (48 per cent).
Social and economic mobility
When respondents were asked from a list of options what they thought were the most important factors for success in life in their country, about 42 per cent chose “political connections”, the fourth highest result for this answer in the LiTS III country sample. In addition, about 32 per cent of those surveyed opted for “effort and hard work”, while 17 per cent answered “intelligence and skills”.
Attitudes towards women
87 per cent of Serbian men and 76 per cent of Serbian women believe that women are as competent as men to be business executives. Around 60 per cent of Serbians report that it is important that their daughter achieves a university education, a value that does not vary much according to the gender of the respondent. Furthermore, 53 per cent of men and 41 per cent of women think that men make better political leaders than women, while 46 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women believe that a woman should do the household chores, even if her husband is not working. Lastly, 57 per cent of Serbians favour a traditional family arrangement where the manworks and the woman takes care of the family.