Students are the Biggest Optimists in Georgia

Students are the Biggest Optimists in Georgia

The first and longest-running global “End of the Year” poll is conducted by Gallup International Association (GIA), which this year reported that  optimism for a better 2019 is increasing for a majority in Africa, India, non-EU Europe, the USA and in Latin America. Conversely, we also see more pessimism about the year ahead in the Middle East, Russia, and to an extent in Western Europe.

39% of the population in surveyed countries expect the coming year to be better than 2018, compared to 24%, who think that next year will be worse. Georgia finds itself among the optimistic countries with 61% of Georgian population saying that 2019 will be better than 2018. Interestingly, Georgians’ positive attitudes towards next year are most similar to those in Ghana and Kazakhstan. On the other hand, Western European countries like Italy and France find themselves at the bottom of the list of the most hopeful countries.

Dr. Kancho Stoychev, the President of GIA notes that: “For decades the End of the Year global poll is registering a paradox: people living in wealthier countries tend to be more pessimistic about the coming New Year. And vice versa. It seems that the fear of losing what you have is bigger than the fear not to have.”

The survey was carried out by Gallup International in 50 countries, with a total of 48,745 persons interviewed internationally. In each country a representative sample of around 1000 men and women was interviewed. GORBI has been a part of the project since the mid 1990s and is the exclusive data provider for Georgia.

Let’s move our focus to analyzing how the optimism level towards the coming year differs by different demographic groups in Georgia, and what possible reasons there are for these results.

The world trend demonstrates that the older you get, the less optimistic you become. But in Georgia, perceptions about a better new year do not vary a lot with age. Even though people aged 18-24 are not the most optimistic age group, Georgian students still prove to be the most optimistic about the coming year. For example, if around 61% of unemployed Georgians and even 60% Georgians employed full time report that next year will be better than 2018, 69% of students in Georgia think that 2019 will be better than 2018.

As demonstrated in Graph 1, unemployed, full time and part time employed people have quite similar attitudes towards coming year, where an even slightly lower percentage of employed Georgians think that 2019 will be better than 2018. This trend goes back to Dr. Kancho Stoychev’s words, that it seems like ”the  fear of losing what you have is bigger than the fear not to have.”  

It is also interesting to look at the picture of students who are aged 18-24, because it is notable that even though this age group does not demonstrate the most optimism in Georgia, students still do. When looking at the working status of people aged between 18-24, it becomes clear that compared to, for example, the 61% of unemployed people in Georgia who believe in a better coming year,  only 51% of unemployed people aged 18-24 in Georgia think that 2019 will be better than 2018. Comparatively, in the 18-24 age group, 70% of students think that 2019 will be better than 2018. Interestingly, in the 18-24 age category, 70% of Georgian students believe in a better 2019, which interestingly is similar to their counterparts in Armenia, Ghana, Kosovo and Pakistan.

To summarize, Georgia is among the most hopeful nations towards the coming year and I wish that such public opinion will become reality and that 2019 will actually be better than 2018.

PS. I am most delighted to see Armenia among the greatest optimists. They have undergone big changes through elections which provides hope that it will start moving forward from a somewhat “newly developed” democracy to a full fledged one. After all, we Georgians truly need a competitor in the region and Armenia seems to be on a right track.

GORBI is an exclusive member of the Gallup International research network and has more than two decades of experience in survey research (gorbi.com)