Research & AnalyticsSociety

Ukrainians Are Happier than 9 Years Ago

Happy girl

The Ukrainian Centre for European Policy recently published the World Values Survey 2020 in Ukraine. It measures cultural values, experiences, attitudes, and beliefs about gender equality, family, religion, poverty, and education, as well as health and safety, social tolerance, and trust of Ukrainians.

That was the 7th wave of the study and this year it included new topics on justice, moral principles, corruption, accountability and risks, migration, national security, and the global governance of Ukraine’s people.

Values UkraineWhat values are inherent to Ukrainians?

In general, the value and cultural field of Ukrainian society are contradictory and very slowly deviate from post-Soviet orientations in the areas of state and political system, economy, the formation of interpersonal relations, and the legal system.

The Revolution of Dignity, the occupation of a part of Donbas, and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea took place during nine years that have passed since the sixth wave of the study. As a result of Russia’s war against Ukraine, there has been a significant decline in incomes and the migration of more than a million Ukrainians to government-controlled territories. In March-May 2020, under a lockdown due to COVID-19, many Ukrainians lost their jobs or part of their revenues.

Interestingly, despite all these upheavals in 2020, Ukrainians feel more secure, including financially, and happier than nine years ago.

So, compared to 2011, Ukrainians showed in 2020 the following results:

Man with childHappiness and security:

  • the share of happy Ukrainians increased from 68% to 78.3%, the share of people with good health and self-concept went from 37% to 45.4%;
  • Ukrainians began to consider themselves more protected and did not feel in danger in their houses or apartments (from 69% to 73.8%);
  • Ukrainians trust each other more now (from 23.1% to 30.1%).

Finances:

  • the share of people who are dissatisfied with their financial situation decreased from 48% to 38.9% and those who believe that they have a low income from 55% to 45.1%. The share of those who estimate their income as average has increased from 33% to 37%;
  • the number of people never left without necessary medical care during the past year has increased from 53% to 62.5%;
  • more Ukrainians began to eat better (from 52% to 71.7%).

Religion:

  • regarding the issues of spirituality and religion, the data show that God becomes less important in citizens’ lives (from 64% to 56.3%);
  • Ukrainians began to pray less (from 42.2% to 38.5%);
  • but the share of people who attend religious centres at least once a month has increased from 24.1% to 33.5%;
  • most people consider the core meaning of religion be the religious norms and ceremonies practice (from 16.3% to 22.6%), and not to do good to people.
  • the share of Ukrainians who consider instilling in children the necessity of religious views and submissiveness has dropped from 22% to 14.9% and 42% to 33.1%, correspondingly.

Values Ukraine

Tolerance:

  • the number of Ukrainians who are less tolerant of people living with HIV or do not want to live with people living with HIV has significantly decreased (from 52% to 36.4%).

I am Ukrainian!

  • In 2011, only 67% of the citizens of our country were proud of Ukrainian citizenship (26% were very proud, and 41% were rather proud). In 2020, there are already 82.2%.
  • A noteworthy detail is that in 2011 this indicator was lower for Ukraine than for most EU countries, while now it practically corresponds to the average level of those EU countries for which survey data are available this year.

Gender issues:

  • disagreement with the fact that men are better political leaders than women has increased in Ukraine (from 48% to 55.1%);
  • at the same time, the prevalence of gender stereotypes that university education is more important for boys than for girls has increased (from 18% to 24.5%).
  • the number of Ukrainians who believe that a woman should not earn more money than a man has increased (from 20% to 30.9%).

Decreased trust in most government institutions:

  • respect for power, according to the study, fell from 50% to 31.9%;
  • however, compared to 2011, the number of Ukrainians who believe that people should receive more opportunities to influence important government decisions has increased (from 18.4% to 23.8%);
  • confidence in most state institutions (courts, government, the Verkhovna Rada, educational institutions, state institutions and services in general), public organisations, and big business has also declined;
  • on the other hand, trust in the Armed Forces and the National Police has grown.
  • thus, the majority of Ukrainians support military governance of the country (from 13% to 21.1%);
  • in addition, more and more citizens are ready to defend their country (from 40% to 56.9%).
  • the share of people who support “not the government, but independent experts who make decisions based on what they consider the best for the country” has also decreased (from 65% to 46.2%).
  • more than half of Ukrainians believe that the vote is counted correctly (from 30% to 54.4%) during the election.

Background

The World Values Survey (WVS) is a long-term comparative study launched in 1981 by Professor Ronald Inglehart of the University of Michigan (USA) based on the European Values Survey (EVS).

It is the most authoritative international study covering almost 120 countries/societies and 95% of the world’s population.

WVS is currently the biggest non=profit international study of human beliefs and values.

Ukraine joined the World Values Survey in 1999.

Yulia Matveeva, an expert on international cooperation and partnership

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