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Well-being of the residents of Ukraine in May, 2016: Economic issues and happiness despite difficulties
Press release by Natalia Kharchenko
On 19-31 of May, 2016 Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted all-Ukrainian public opinion poll. Sample consisted of 2014 respondents living in 108 settlements of all regions (oblast`) of Ukraine (except for AR of Crimea) who were interviewed personally. Sample is stochastic and representative for the population of Ukraine aged 18 and above. In Luhansk and Donetsk regions study was conducted only on the territories that are controlled by Ukraine.
Statistic sample error (with probability 0.95 and design-effect of 1.5) does not exceed: 3.3% - for indicators close to 50%, 2.8% - for indicators close to 25%, 2.0% - for indicators close to 10%, 1.4% - for indicators close to 5%.
For the last five years KIIS systematically measures two indices for assessment and monitoring of social and individual well-being: Index of social well-being (ISW) and Index of individual well-being (IIW). Index valuesmight fluctuate from -100 to 100 points, where -100 indicate the lowest estimates of the situation anddissatisfaction with it, and 100 points correspond to the highest estimates and general satisfaction with the situation in the country and/or in own life. Detailed description of the methodology of indices calculation is available in Addition 1.
In May, 2016 average value of ISW was -59 while value of IIW was much higher - -8. Such immense difference shows that despite all difficulties the Ukrainians are generally much more satisfied with their own life than with the situation in the country.
At the same time it is not appropriate to say that these are two parallel worlds because there is a direct correlational link between the two indices and it is getting tighter (the coefficient that describes the tightness of link (r) in 2014 was r=0.28, in 2016 r=0.48; maximum value of r is 1).
Graph 1. Dynamics of indices ISW and IIS in Ukraine in 2012-2016
Over the past two years (graph 1) both indices became lower showing the decrease of estimates in individual and social dimensions. Comparison of changes in the components of index (table 1) also shows considerable degradation in all indicators.
Table 1. Dynamics of indices of social and individual well-being in Ukraine in 2012-2016
It is important to mention that having looked over the whole period of the study it might be stated that all components of the indices have the lowest values in 2016, except for the one about direction of Ukraine`s development – it had the lowest value in 2012 (graph 2).
Graph 2. Changes in the components of indices ISW and IIW in Ukraine in 2012-2016.
For the country in general, average value of the Index of social well-being decreased by 13 points comparing to the assessment in 2014, average value of Index of individual well-being decreased by 16 points. Such changes are due to low estimates of current and future economic state of family and the country. The value corresponding to economic state of Ukraine decreased by 19 points. Expectations concerning the future life of the country and of family also got considerably more negative (by 18 points and by 25 points respectively). As data show, people assess own financial difficulties much more negative than situation in the country.
Value of ISW and its components is influenced by the region of residence (more information in table D1 in Addition 3). The evaluation of the financial state of Ukraine is very similar across the regions but with a low growth of negative estimates in the direction from the West and Center to the South and East. Expectations of future life show the same trend, only slightly more obvious (graph 3).
Graph 3. Regional differences in dynamics of estimates of economic state and of expectations about the life of the country in future
Value of IIW is influenced the most by gender and age of respondents. Women younger than 50 feel themselves much happier than men, but after the age of 50 situation turns vice versa. Men of all age groups feel themselves much healthier than women do.
Difference in IIW is considerably due to the fact that women usually assess their families less financially provided and are more pessimistic about the life of their families in a year.
Also it is important to mention that the older respondent gets, the lower amount of positive values for all components of the index he/she gives. The biggest gap between answers of the youngest and the oldest age groups is in self-evaluation of health and happiness.
Graph 4. Value of IIW and its components by age groups (average)
Addition 1. Methodology of index construction
For index construction we asked 7 questions: 4 of the questions are derived from the list of those that are used for the construction of Index of social attitudes calculated by Levada-Center, other 3 questions are standard for KIIS Omnibus questionnaire. Resulting form factor analysis, these 7 questions are divided into 2 indexes. Hereby you can find a list of questions.
Index of social well-being (ISW):
• In your opinion, are matters in Ukraine going in right or in wrong direction?
• How can you characterize the state of Ukrainian economics?
• Talking about Ukraine in general, in your opinion, will life here become better or worse in a year?
Index of personal well-being (IPW):
• Do you think you are a happy person?
• How can you characterize the state of your health?
• In your opinion, will your family live better or worse in a year?
• Take a look at the card please, which one of the statement characterizes the financial capabilities of your family the most precisely?
Index values might fluctuate from -100 to 100 points, where -100 indicates the lowest estimates of the situation anddissatisfaction with it, while 100 points mean the highest estimates and general satisfaction with the situation in the country and/or in own life.
Comparison of dynamic indices in Ukraine is complicated by the annexation of the Crimea and military conflict in the Donbass. Calculation of indices 2014-2016 are made for the territory controlled by Ukraine. Sample for the “Omnibus – May, 2016” was constructed in a way that allows to cover only controlled territories and to distribute proportionally between all regions of Ukraine those interviews that earlier covered the uncontrolled territories. That is, the partitions of South and Eastern macroregions are smaller now comparing to the waves of study in a previous years.
Addition 2. Questions and coding of alternatives:
In your opinion, are matters in Ukraine going in right or in wrong direction? ONE ANSWER
How can you characterize the state of Ukrainian economics? ONE ANSWER
Talking about Ukraine in general, in your opinion, will life here become better or worse in a year? ONE ANSWER
Do you think you are a happy person? ONE ANSWER
In your opinion, will your family live better or worse in a year? ONE ANSWER
How can you characterize the state of your health? ONE ANSWER
Which one of the statement characterizes the financial capabilities of your family the most precisely?
Addition 3. Tables
In your opinion, does government lead Ukraine in the right or wrong direction?
How can you characterize the state of Ukrainian economics?
Talking about Ukraine in general, in your opinion, will life here become better or worse in a year?
In your opinion, will your family live better or worse in a year?
Do you think you are a happy person?
How can you characterize the state of your health?
D8. Take a look at the card please, which one of the statement characterizes the financial capabilities of your family the most precisely?
Table D1. Regional differences in the dynamics of index of social well-being in Ukraine in 2012 – 2016