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Ukrainians' Ratings of Their Lives, Country Hit New Low

Ukrainians' Ratings of Their Lives, Country Hit New Low

by Neli Esipova and Julie Ray

Story Highlights

  • Current life ratings poor, future lives slightly better
  • Ratings of country's standing even worse
  • Economic outlook most pessimistic in years

This article is the fifth in a weeklong series focusing on the most recent public opinion research data available from Ukraine.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Ukrainians' ratings of their lives reflect the turmoil that has gripped their country in the past year and demonstrate a high degree of uncertainty about their own future and that of their country. On a ladder scale with steps numbered from 0 to 10, with 10 being the best possible life, Ukrainians rate their current lives at a 4.3 on average. This is worse than the 4.8 average rating they gave their lives in 2013, and the lowest Gallup has ever measured in the country over the past nine years.

Ukrainians' Ratings of Current Lives Sink

Gallup's interviews in Ukraine this year took place in September and October following a cease-fire between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists in the country's East. Gallup's polls in 2014 excluded the Crimea region, which is currently considered occupied territory, and some areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions where security was an issue. The excluded areas account for approximately 10% to 13% of Ukraine's adult population. Comparisons between the 2013 and 2014 data are based on the same survey coverage areas.

Ukrainians are more optimistic about their lives five years from now than they are about their present situations, rating their future lives an average of 5.4 on the same scale. However, this is also one of the lowest ratings Gallup has ever measured in the country, and it is no different from the rating they gave their future lives in 2013, before the revolution. Ukrainians' expectations for the future did not change in the West or the Central and North regions, but they are decidedly worse in the South and East, where residents give the worst ratings of all to their current and future lives.

Ukrainians' Ratings of Future Lives Flat

Ratings of Country's Current Situation Worse, Future Brighter

As poor as Ukrainians' ratings of their own lives are, their ratings of where their country currently stands are even worse. Ukrainians rate their country's current situation at a 3.0 on the 10-point scale, down from 4.0 in 2013. While ratings fell in every region in the country, they are the worst in the South and East, where the average rating for the country is 2.8.

Ukrainians' Ratings of Country Worse

Residents do see a slightly brighter future for their country in the next five years, with average ratings rising from 4.4 in 2013 to 4.8 this year. Unfortunately, this optimism is only present in the West and in the Central and North regions. For Ukrainians living in the South and East, expectations for their country's future actually worsened, dropping from 4.6 in 2013 to 4.2 in 2014.

The outlook for the future also looks different for the rich and the poor in Ukraine. The wealthiest Ukrainians continue to be more optimistic about their country's future than the poorest Ukrainians. Those living comfortably on their current incomes rate their country's future at a 5.5, while those who are finding it very difficult to get by rate it at a 3.4. Further, this gap appears to have only widened in the past year.

Economic Outlook Worst Ever

While the political upheaval and war with the pro-Russian separatists this year are undeniably factors in Ukrainians' poor ratings of their lives, so is the country's economy. Near bankruptcy before the revolution, the economy has been further crippled during the present conflict. This has led Ukrainians' views on their national economy in 2014 to be the most pessimistic in recent history -- including during the global economic crisis. Seventy-seven percent of Ukrainians say their country's economy is "getting worse," and only 4% say it is "getting better."

Economic Outlook More Dismal

On a more personal level, Ukrainians are also the most likely they have been in years to say their standard of living is getting worse. Sixty-three percent of Ukrainians say their living standards are getting worse, and only 11% say they are getting better. These perceptions have gotten worse in every part of the country in the past year. Interestingly, similar percentages of those in the South and East (67%) and Central and North (65%) share this same dismal outlook.


With a new parliament, new president, and an apparent truce between the government and pro-Russian separatists continuing to hold as 2014 ends, Ukrainians should feel on somewhat more stable ground in 2015. The economy, however, remains the great unknown. The International Monetary Fund estimates that Ukraine needs another $15 billion in financing to make it through the economic crisis. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk this week appealed to the European Union for urgent financial aid, but the EU only has limited capacity to help. Other groups such as the IMF and World Bank will likely need to increase their support, but at the same time, Ukraine will have to demonstrate some signs of progress. Ukrainians themselves likely will need proof of this as well.

Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted in Sept. 11-Oct. 17, 2014, in Ukraine. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3.8 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Gallup's polls in Ukraine in 2014 excluded the Crimea region, which is currently considered occupied territory, and some areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts where security was an issue. The excluded areas account for approximately 10% to 13% of Ukraine's adult population.

For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

Learn more about how the Gallup World Poll works.

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