Life Satisfaction in Armenia and Azerbaijan

By David McArdle & Jesse Tatum

After investigating what makes Georgians happy in a July blog based on data from the World Values Survey (WVS), we wondered how a similar analysis would look in Armenia and Azerbaijan. This time, using data from the 2008 European Values Survey (EVS) to compare the two, we found that, first, people claiming higher life satisfaction do not inevitably place a greater emphasis on religion in either country.

Second, the EVS data also showed that higher job satisfaction was said to be more essential by those satisfied with life in Azerbaijan, and was even more so the case in Armenia. Next, being in good health was more significant for the Armenians satisfied with life than for the Azerbaijanis in the same category. Finally, high rates of life satisfaction and of happiness, as observed in the WVS results for Georgia, simply do not always mirror each other. In short, Armenians and Azerbaijanis can be satisfied without being completely happy.


The data revealed that those Armenians and Azerbaijanis completely satisfied with life do not always place the highest importance upon religion. In Armenia, of those who are ‘completely satisfied’ with life, 33% value religion as ‘very important’. However, of those who list themselves as ‘completely dissatisfied’ with life, a slightly higher value of 36% rate religion as ‘very important’. Thus in Armenia, according to the figures, religion is as much associated with life dissatisfaction as it is with life satisfaction.

Similar to Armenia, slightly more than a quarter (26%) of Azerbaijanis who are completely satisfied in life also say that religion is very important. On the other hand, a slightly higher percentage (30%) of those who are completely satisfied claim that religion is ‘not important’ in life. Furthermore, of those who assert that they are completely dissatisfied in life, fully 45% say that religion is ‘very important’. There are obviously factors other than religion which tend to lead to life satisfaction in both countries, and these results stand contrary to the WVS data for Georgia, where everyone, regardless of life satisfaction, appeared to place importance on religion.

Job satisfaction

In Azerbaijan, the data showed a possible connection between high life satisfaction and high job satisfaction. Taking into account only those who said they were employed, 53% of those completely satisfied with their lives chose between 8 and 10 on the ten-point job satisfaction scale where ‘10’ denotes complete job satisfaction.

In Armenia, a similar association between higher life and job satisfaction was observed. In all, 50% of those completely satisfied with life who said they are employed chose 8–10 on the same job satisfaction scale. In addition, 61% of Armenians completely dissatisfied with life and employment chose 1–3 on the scale, the three lowest choices, where ‘1’ equals complete dissatisfaction with one’s job.


Health was arguably a noteworthy factor for overall life satisfaction in Armenia. Seventy-five percent of those completely satisfied with life also judged their health to be either ‘very good’ or ‘good’. Moreover, only 5% of those completely satisfied with life deemed their health ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.

However, even for those Armenians completely dissatisfied with life there are still 28% who rate their health to be ‘very good’ or ‘good’, while 39% judge their health to be ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. Thus, though the data highlights that perceptions of health might influence the degree of overall life satisfaction, it does not necessarily affect life dissatisfaction.

In contrast with Armenia, being in good health appeared to play less of a role for those Azerbaijanis completely satisfied in life, 43% of which either see themselves to be in ‘very good’ or ‘good’ health. Still, 10% completely satisfied with life rate their health as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. Furthermore, 52% of those completely dissatisfied with life actually remarked that their health is ‘very good’ or ‘good’. According to these results, health as a determining factor ranks much lower for Azerbaijanis than job satisfaction does, for instance, in being potentially associated with satisfaction in life.


According to the data, for Azerbaijanis, higher levels of happiness did not seem to be associated with higher levels of life satisfaction. In fact, more who said that they were dissatisfied with life still claimed to be ‘very happy’ (18%) than did those who are satisfied with life (7%). As was the case with Georgians, perhaps happiness and life satisfaction are two separate concepts which need not necessarily run parallel to each other.

In Armenia the data show that the greater their life satisfaction, the more the respondents in Armenia said that they are ‘very happy’. In all, 90% who are completely satisfied in life indicate that they are ‘very’ or ‘quite’ happy. Still, 58% of those who are dissatisfied with life also ranked themselves ‘very’ or ‘quite’ happy, which, as with Armenia’s neighbors, may mean that there is more in life that drives levels of happiness upwards.


Data from both the WVS and EVS surveys are extensive and expose nuances which highlight some fascinating differences between the three states of the South Caucasus. Why is religion so important in Georgia regardless of life satisfaction and not so for those respondents in Armenia and Azerbaijan? Why is happiness not proportionally bound with life satisfaction in all three nations? Why do the Armenians polled greatly value health when judging overall life satisfaction in contrast to the Azerbaijanis who do not equate good health with overall life satisfaction? Interested in finding out more? The EVS online data analysis is available here, and the WVS here.


მსგავსი სიახლეები