Gaps remain in mobile phone ownership in Georgia
Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Dustin Gilbreath, the Deputy Research Director at CRRC Georgia. The views presented in this article do not represent the views of CRRC Georgia or any related entity.
While mobile phone ownership is widespread in Georgia, gaps still remain among rural, elderly, and ethnic minority populations.
Owning a mobile (cell phone) is considered so important that more widespread ownership is considered a sustainable development goal (SDG 5.b) by the United Nations.
Mobile phone ownership among households has increased significantly over the last decade. Caucasus Barometer data indicates that in 2008, two thirds of households owned a mobile phone. This has steadily increased, reaching 96% of households in 2019, the last year for which Caucasus Barometer data is available.
While the vast majority of households have a mobile phone in Georgia, not everyone is equally likely to personally own one. Caucasus Barometer in 2019 specifically asked whether the respondent owned a mobile phone, and only 86% of individuals reported that they did.
A regression analysis looking at respondents’ social, demographic, and economic characteristics suggests that ownership varies between settlement types, age groups, ethnicities, employment status, household wealth, and education level. Though, it does not vary based on sex, after taking into account other factors.
Controlling for other factors, people in rural areas are nine percentage points less likely than people in Tbilisi to own a mobile phone. Armenians are ten percentage points and Azerbaijanis eight percentage points less likely to own a mobile phone. People aged 56 and older are ten percentage points less likely to own a mobile phone. People with jobs are ten percentage points more likely to own a mobile phone.
The level of education also has an impact with an individual who only has secondary education being 13 percentage points less likely to own a mobile phone compared with someone with tertiary education. Individuals in households that are relatively wealthy are five percentage points more likely to own a mobile phone, compared with households that own none of the assets asked about (aside from mobile phones).
While the vast majority of households have at least one member which owns a mobile phone, individual ownership is less common. To work towards improvement on this sustainable development goal, mobile phone ownership needs to increase among ethnic minorities, people in rural areas, older people, the less educated, and those not working.
Notably, while the indicator is listed as part of the gender sustainable development goals, after controlling for other factors, there is no significant difference between women and men in terms of mobile phone ownership.
The data presented in this article is available here.
From environmental catastrophe to violence, our world currently faces serious challenges with long-term consequences. In this context, what do people in the Caucasus consider to be the most acute problems?
During Sargsyan’s incumbency, dissatisfaction with government grew and support for protest increasedSerzh Sargsyan, formerly the President and then Prime Minister of Armenia, resigned from office on April 23rd, 2018, following 11 days of peaceful protest. Over the past 10 years, which coincide with Sargsyan’s time in office, Armenians were increasingly dissatisfied with their government. At the same time, the country witnessed growing civic engagement, with “youth-driven, social media-powered, issue-specific civic activism,” referred to as “civic initiatives”. CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer data from 2008 to 2017 reflect both these trends.
The Caucasus Barometer survey regularly asks people, “Which of the following statements do you agree with: “‘People are like children; the government should take care of them like a parent’ or ‘Government is like an employee; the people should be the bosses who control the government.’” Approximately half of the population of Georgia (52%) agreed in 2017 with the former statement and 40% with the latter. Responses to this question have fluctuated to some extent over time, but overall, attitudes are nearly equally split.
Public opinion polls suggest support for democracy is on the decline in Georgia, but does support for democracy correlate to support for liberal values?
An increasing number of Georgians view their country as ‘a democracy with major problems’, with CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey showing the share of people reporting this belief to have increased from 27% in 2011 to 48% in 2019.
In parallel to this growing scepticism towards the country’s democratic situation, surveys show a decline in the proportion of the population believing that democracy is preferable to any other kind of government, falling from 65% in 2011 to 49% in 2019.
Gendered norms prevail in Georgian society, which often translates into deprecation of women for smoking, drinking alcohol, having pre-marital sex, and even living with a boyfriend. However, attitudes appear to be shifting.
CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey asked people what they thought about several such activities. The data showed that the public are least accepting of women smoking, with 80% reporting it is never acceptable at any age. Sexual relations (63%) and cohabitating with a man before marriage were also commonly thought to be never acceptable for women (60%).
The pandemic has clearly harmed people’s health, yet new data from the Caucasus Barometer Survey suggests that people considered themselves more healthy in 2020.
In 2019, 35% of the public evaluated their health as good. In past years, this had shifted up and down to varying extents, however, the largest change was a decline from 41% to 30% between 2013 and 2014.
In contrast, between 2019 and 2020, the share of people reporting that they were in good health nearly doubled from 35% to 65%.