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Snapshot: Basics Still a Concern in Arab Uprising Countries

Analysis by the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies

Fewer Yemenis struggling to afford food, shelter

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Basic needs such as food and shelter are not consistently being met in Arab uprising countries, according to recent Gallup surveys. Scores on Gallup's Food and Shelter Index -- which measures residents' ability to afford both in the past year -- are worse in early 2012 than in 2010, before the uprisings in Egypt, Syria, and Tunisia. Fewer residents are struggling in Yemen, where scores are better. In Bahrain, scores are similar to those in 2010.

Food & Shelter Index Scores in Arab Uprising Countries

Syria's score on the index is lowest of all these countries at 62. Lower scores on this index indicate that more respondents reported struggling to afford food and shelter in the past year, while a higher score indicates fewer respondents reported struggling.

The Food and Shelter Index relates strongly with GDP per capita (PPP), the poverty rate, and the United Nations Human Development Index, all key measures of a country's prosperity and well-being. As leaders decide on the current and future roles of government, meeting the basic needs of residents should be a top priority.

Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, per field administration from 2009 through 2012. For results based on the total samples, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error ranges from ±3.1 to ±3.9 percentage points. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Index Construction

Index scores are calculated at the individual record level. For each individual record the following procedure applies: items are recoded so that positive (or favorable) answers are scored a "1" and all other answers (including don't know and refused) are assigned a score of "0." If a record has no answer for an item, then that item is not eligible for inclusion in the calculations. An individual record has an index calculated if it has valid scores for both questions. A record's final index score is the mean of valid items multiplied by 100. The final country-level index score is the mean of all individual records for which an index score was calculated. Country-level weights are applied to this calculation.

Index Questions

  • Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?
  • Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to provide adequate shelter or housing for you and your family?

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