Saturday, 22 September

Hiding the Data: Armenian Government Failed to Publish “Quality of Life” Survey Results

When it comes to publishing the results of various socio-economic surveys it has paid for, the government of Armenia likes to play hide-and-seek when convenient.

Recently, Hetq revealed that between 2009 and 2017, the Armenian government signed 893 million AMD worth of contracts to the APSC Political and Sociological Consulting Institute to conduct various surveys and studies about the quality of life in Armenia.

The results of these taxpayer-funded studies were never published in the official Armenian government website.

While the government claimed the study results had been published, offering the following link as proof, nothing appeared on the screen when checked by Hetq. All that appears is – Page Not Found.

Hetq then wrote to Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, asking to provide us with the results for 2016. The government complied, again claiming that the results had been published. Yes, they were, but only after Hetq asked to see them. The government’s post was post-dated.

So why was the government so reticent to publish the results of the “Quality of Life” survey?

Some of the results speak for themselves.

Overall, 43.9% of respondents said their quality of life had worsened in 2016. Only 9.8% said it had improved. The remainder, 43.9%, said it stayed the same.

58% of respondents said the government in Armenia belongs to top state officials. 17% said it belongs to political party leaders. Only 3.5% said it belongs to the people.

Given the above results, it’s no wonder that 54% of respondents believes the government defends the interests of the rich, 26% - the interests of state officials,9.3% - political party leaders, and a mere 5.3% - the interests of the people.

Migration from Armenia remains another hot-button topic. The study showed that 43.2% of respondents were thinking of leaving and that 12.4% had taken steps to do so. 50.5% of respondents in the 30-45 age group were thinking of leaving in 2016. While there’s a downward trend to leave in the 18-29 age group, it’s increased in the 40-60 age group.

While the level of unemployment is said to have decreased in 2011-2013, it’s risen ever since, and stands at 26.4% as of 2016. Unemployment stands at 36.6% in the 18-29 age group, up from 28.8% in 2015.

The study shows that the number of those seeking work overseas is higher in the villages (27.5% in 2016) than the cities (20.7%).

When it comes to the quality of family apartments, the study shows that only 19% can be said to live in apartments in good or excellent condition. More than 50% of apartments are in need or major renovation.

Trust levels in government and social institutions was also measured on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the highest score.

Here are some scores:

36% have zero trust in the parliament

38% have zero trust in the president

34% have zero trust in the government

Only 3% of respondents fully trust in the parliament, 6% in the president, and 5% in the government.

Relatively higher trust levels in the above were registered in the villages and in the 18-29 age group.

55% of respondents expressed full confidence in the army, giving a score of 10. The overall army confidence score was 7.7.

Given these results, the 64% popularity rating of Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, on the job since September 2016, is more than surprising.

Only 18% of respondents say they expect nothing positive from Karapetyan.

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