A CRRC analysis found that Georgians who feel insecure in Georgia mostly attribute this to economic insecurity, but also express concern about a wider array of harder security issues.
Georgia has faced numerous crises in recent years; from the pandemic, to the results of the war in Ukraine, via political controversy and uncertainty.
It is consequently perhaps unsurprising that almost half the public is uncertain about how they will fare economically in five years’ time. This is reflected in recent data, which shows that economic insecurity is the main reason why Georgians feel insecure in Georgia. However, a wide array of harder security issues also contribute to people feeling insecure in the country.
In the December 2022 NDI and CRRC Survey, the public was asked whether they felt insecure or secure living in Georgia. A third reported that they felt either very insecure living in Georgia (8%) or more insecure than secure (26%). By comparison, about half of the public reported that they were more secure than insecure (47%). One in five (19%) felt that they were very secure living in Georgia.
Why do people feel insecure?
Amongst those who felt insecure living in Georgia, economic issues were the main reasons given for their sense of insecurity.
The top three issues named were poverty, inflation, and unemployment, with between 34% and 39% of respondents naming one of these options.
Crime was identified as the main reason for feeling insecure by a third of relevant respondents, and political instability by one in five. Healthcare and the high price of drugs were named by 7% and 10% of relevant respondents, respectively. Harder security issues such as the war in Ukraine, and instability in the Caucasus were named by relatively few; 5% and 1%, respectively.
Note: Because respondents could name up to three responses to this question, the data does not sum to 100%.
The above issues were grouped into economic, hard security, and social policy related issues. Economic issues included poverty, inflation, and unemployment. Crime, violence, political instability, territorial integrity, the war in Ukraine, actions by Russia towards Georgia, and instability in the Caucasus were grouped into hard security issues. All other options were grouped together into social policy issues.
While the most commonly cited issues are mainly economic, people’s concerns were multifaceted. The data found that 66% of those who felt insecure named at least one economic issue, 62% named at least one hard security issue, and 32% named one social policy issue, suggesting that similar shares of people are concerned about at least one economic issue and at least one hard security issue.
Who feels insecure?
Given the dominance of economic issues as a reason for feeling insecure, it is perhaps unsurprising that people living in poorer households are more likely to feel insecure, and cite economic issues more than people living in relatively well-off households.
A number of other patterns are also present.
Women are ten points more likely to feel insecure in Georgia, controlling for other factors, than men.
People in Tbilisi are 11 points more likely to feel insecure than people outside Tbilisi.
Ethnic Georgians are 23 points more likely to feel insecure in Georgia than ethnic minorities.
Supporters of the United National Movement, Georgia’s main opposition party, are 24 points more likely to feel insecure in Georgia than supporters of the ruling Georgian Dream party. People who support other parties or report not supporting any party are 18 points more likely to feel insecure in Georgia than supporters of Georgian Dream.
The above data shows that a third of Georgians feel insecure in the country. While recent large-scale instability in Georgia has related more to hard security issues, such as the war in Ukraine, the data shows that economic insecurity remains the greatest concern for people who feel insecure in the country.
Note: The social and demographic breakdowns shown in the article above were generated from a regression analysis. The analysis had whether or not someone felt insecure as the dependent variable. The independent variables included age group (18-34, 35-54, 55+), sex (male or female), settlement type (Tbilisi, other urban, or rural), education level (secondary, vocational, tertiary), wealth (an index of durable goods owned by the respondents’ household), ethnicity (ethnic minority or ethnic Georgian), employment (working, unemployed, or outside the labor force), and party support (Georgian Dream, United National Movement, other opposition, refuse to answer/don’t know/no party). This article only reports on statistically significant differences between groups.
The data used in this article is available here.
This article was written by Dustin Gilbreath, a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at CRRC Georgia. The views presented in this article reflect the views of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, the National Democratic Institute, or any related entity.