Wednesday | 03 July, 2013

Community Support and Volunteerism in the South Caucasus

Donating, volunteering or simply helping a relative with daily chores can help strengthen communities and boost trust. Data from the 2012 Caucasus Barometer (CB) shows that helping friends and neighbors with household chores is relatively common, while volunteerism remains low in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan even though the latter is recognized as important and meaningful. A previous blog discussed social capital in the South Caucasus and this blog post aims to provide new data from 2012 to this topic.
Support from others is a crucial element for building trust in a society. The 2012 CB shows that less than half of the populations in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan feel they have close relatives, friends and neighbors to rely on to help them repair their apartment/house, to take care of them when they are ill, and to lend them money. Across the board, Georgians feel they will most likely receive help in these situations and Azerbaijanis are least likely to say so.

These questions were originally measured on a 1 to 10 scale where 1= not likely at all and 10=very likely. The results show here combine points 7-10 on this scale.

Armenians are least likely to say they have plenty of people to rely on when they have problems (27%), versus 38% in Azerbaijan and 40% in Georgia. Additionally, fewer Armenians indicated having people that they can completely trust.

These questions were originally measured on a 1 to 10 scale where 1= not likely at all and 10=very likely. The results show here combine points 7-10 on this scale.

Despite the fact that Armenians are least likely to say they have plenty of people to rely on when they have problems, they appear to be more engaged in volunteering with others in certain respects. The CB shows that more Armenians say they have contributed to charity and have helped a neighbor or friend with household chores in the previous 6 months more than in the other two countries. Yet, volunteering without compensation remains a rare practice in the South Caucasus--23% in Armenian, 22% in Azerbaijanis, and 14% in Georgia said they had volunteered without compensation within the past 6 months. 

Dedicating time as a volunteer can make a real difference in communities. Although volunteerism is low in the South Caucasus, people generally have strong ideas about the value of voluntary work. According to the CB, around three fifths of Armenians and Georgians (60% and 65%, respectively) agree that volunteer work is important for a good citizen, and 50% of Azerbaijanis say the same. Interestingly, Georgians feel most strongly about the value of volunteering, yet they are the least engaged in volunteering.

These questions were originally measured on a 1 to 10 scale where 1= not likely at all and 10=very likely. The results show here combine points 7-10 on this scale.

This blog has shown that less than half of populations in all three countries say they have people they can completely trust or rely on when in need. Helping neighbors or friends with housework is relatively common, while volunteerism is low. Despite its low practice, there is a positive attitude about the value of volunteering in all three countries. Volunteering can have a meaningful impact on society. Perhaps this positive orientation can create prospects for future involvement and participation.
If you want find out more about social capital related issues in the South Caucasus, you are welcome to visit CRRC’s interactive online data analysis at

15.06.2015 | Monday

Trust in institutions in the South Caucasus – generating a combined score

Trust in institutions is a widely studied subject in the social sciences – typing 'trust in institutions' into Google Scholar yields roughly 2.5 million results. It is generally believed to have multi-directional relationships with different aspects of social life, with high levels of trust associated with positive phenomena – acceptance of innovation and a good business environment just to name two. 
25.08.2014 | Monday

Emigration, Language, and Remittances in Georgia

As discussed in a recent blog post, household incomes in Georgia have risen steadily since 2008. The percentage of Georgians who have family or close relatives living abroad has also significantly increased from 37% in 2009 to 53% in 2013. 14% of Georgian households currently receive money from family members, relatives, or friends living in another country as an income source. This blog examines changes in interest in emigrating from Georgia over the last five years, while controlling for certain variables.
07.10.2014 | Tuesday

The Wave of the Future: Optimism, Pessimism and Fatalism in Georgia

A recent CRRC regional blog post analyzed the presence of fatalism in Georgia. The post cited CRRC Caucasus Barometer (CB) data which shows that in 2013, 28% of Georgians agreed that “everything in life is determined by fate.” While the CB findings demonstrate that a sizeable portion of the adult population is fatalistic about the future, Georgians are increasingly likely to see that future in a positive light, whether it be determined by fate or not.
20.10.2014 | Monday

Do Armenians Still View Integration with the EU as Part of a Positive-Sum Game?

On September 3rd 2013 Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan surprised many observers, including some in his own government, when he announced that Armenia would sign an agreement with Russia to join the Eurasian Customs Union (ECU) and spurn a long-negotiated Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union. The move has been dubbed a “U-Turn” as well as a “sudden shift in policy,” although it was predated by landmark Armenian-Russian agreements in 1997 and 2006.
04.12.2014 | Thursday

SME Performance in Georgia and Armenia: Part 2

As discussed in the first blog post of this series, the results of the CRRC Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey show that Georgians demonstrate higher levels of interpersonal and institutional trust than Armenians. These types of trust are important indicators of social capital, which is often taken as a necessary condition for the presence of a robust, productive entrepreneurial class and small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.
22.12.2014 | Monday

Does public opinion accurately gauge government performance in the South Caucasus?

Robert Putnam’s 1993 work Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy marked a seminal moment in the development of institutionalism. Putnam’s exhaustive study of the relationship between the governed and governing in the Italian regions contained the discovery that public opinion provides an accurate picture of actual government performance: “The Italians’ gradually increasing satisfaction with the regional governments … corresponded to real differences in performance,” and in each region Putnam’s measurement of performance was “remarkably consistent with the appraisals offered by the regional attentive public and by the electorate as a whole.”
15.02.2012 | Wednesday

Fatalism and Political Perceptions in Georgia

Widespread apathy and a general disbelief that good can come from joint effort is a major factor hindering social capital in Georgia. One indicator of apathy can be fatalism, meaning the belief that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable. This blog explores the level of political fatalism in Georgia and how it is connected to Georgians’ perceptions of the country’s current political course and democracy.
29.03.2012 | Thursday

Blood Donation in Georgia: Obstacles and Opportunities

According to a report by the World Health Organization, blood donations in Georgia fall below the estimated need for patients. Approximately 60,000 donations are necessary per year to cover Georgian patients’ needs, while the number of actual blood donation does not exceed 37,000. Moreover, 95% of blood donations come from paid donors.
13.07.2012 | Friday


The 2011 Caucasus Barometer asked the Georgian population, “Relative to most of the households around you, would you describe the current economic condition of your household as very good, good, fair, poor or very poor? 
29.06.2012 | Friday

Exploring Neighbourhoods in Georgia: Promises and Challenges for Collaboration

In 2011 CRRC conducted a survey on Volunteering and Civic Participation in Georgia. A part of this survey aimed at exploring relationships between neighbours. The results indicate that the relationships between neighbours in Georgia can be a promising starting point for building social capital and achieving improved housing conditions through collaboration.
02.11.2011 | Wednesday

A Further Look at Material Deprivation

Continuing to explore standards of living in the South Caucasus, this blog looks at the between four sources of household income and material deprivation using data from the 2010 Caucasus Barometer. Each of the four sources of income (salaries, pensions or government transfers, sales from agricultural goods, and remittances) are categorized by their importance to the household and then cross tabulated with material deprivation. The findings suggest that families reliant on salaries and remittances are better off, while families receiving pensions and government transfers, or those who sell agricultural products as their primary source of income have higher than average rates of material deprivation. 
22.07.2010 | Thursday

Attitudes toward the West | Caucasus Analytical Digest

Following an article on Georgians’ attitudes toward Russia, CRRC Fellows Therese Svensson and Julia Hon have written a new piece for CAD, entitled “Attitudes toward the West in the South Caucasus”. Their article looks at citizens’ views on three areas of relations — political, economic and cultural — between the South Caucasus and the West, in particular NATO, the US and the EU. The data were derived from the South Caucasus–wide 2007 and 2008 Data Initiatives (DI), as well as from the 2009 EU survey that was conducted in Georgia.
09.07.2008 | Wednesday

Caucasus Data | Language: Russian versus English?

Recently, we happened upon an article that talks about the use of Russian across the Caucasus. Is Russian becoming obsolete? According to the article, some Georgian politicians suggest this is the case. At the same time, the article points out that the uptake of English is too slow to replace Russian as a lingua franca.
04.08.2008 | Monday

Georgia: Women's Participation in Politics

Women’s participation at all levels of elections in Georgia is diminishing. As the Caucasus Women’s Network (CWN)reports, women inGeorgia were less represented in terms of candidates in the last parliamentary elections than in any previous parliamentary elections inGeorgia’s democratic history. On the other hand, women’s low political participation in elected bodies belies women’s activeness in civil society institutions, where females appear to be very active.