CRRC-Armenia has recently released the 2011 Caucasus Barometer data to its website and to the Online Data Analysis tool on CRRC-Georgia’s website.The Online Data Analysis system allows users to adjust the parameters of charts directly from the website without having to download the database or own a statistical software program. The Caucasus Barometer has information about many aspects of Armenians’ lives including media sources, sense of satisfaction and happiness, and opinions about democracy in Armenia. It also allows users to adjust the parameters of charts from the website. When aggregated by age group, the data indicates a great discrepancy between the youth and those over 56 years old. In general, younger generations feel more positive emotions and are more satisfied with their lives.
When asked whether the statement “I experience a general sense of emptiness” describes them or not, respondents were quite split with their answers. Overall, 46% of all respondents stated that this statement does not describe them with the remainder stating that it either describers them completely or more or less does so (26% each), and 2% did not know. However, when split by age group, the data shows that those 56 years old and over are more likely to agree with this statement (36%) than those between ages 18 and 35 (19%).
A similar outcome occurs for the topic of feeling rejected. In total, 62% agreed that the statement “I often feel rejected” does not describe them while fewer respondents answered that it more or less describes them (20%) or describes them (18%).” Yet again, when split by age group, older generations responded more that they do, in fact, often feel rejected. While only 12% of respondents aged 18-35 say that this describes them, those aged 56 and over were more than twice as likely to claim that they often feel rejected (27%).
Two possibilities could be behind such a gap in generations. First, it could solely reflect the respondents’ mentality and enthusiasm or lack thereof. Younger people in Armenia might be more content with their lives and more optimistic about the future. Older people have experienced the tough economic and political transition from Soviet rule to democracy, and this may have instilled in them a more negative outlook on life. The second possibility is that the older generations are ignored in policy making or in society as a whole and therefore, have a weak support system. Thus, they encounter more difficulties in their daily lives and truly feel empty and rejected.
Two other sets of data from the questionnaire display a similar disparity between the young and the old. When asked to rate their overall life satisfaction on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being “not satisfied at all” and 5 being “completely satisfied,” the most frequent response was a 3 (37%) followed by 4 (20%) and 1 (18%). But, when the data is separated by age, the youngest category responded more positively with 41% giving a rating of either a 4 or 5. On the opposite end of the spectrum, almost half of respondents 56 or older (47%) rated their satisfaction as either a 1 or 2.
The questionnaire also asked respondents how happy they consider themselves to be on a scale from 1-5 with 1 being extremely unhappy and 5 extremely happy. The overall results were quite optimistic with the rating most often selected being 3 (33%), with 85% of respondents rating themselves as 3 or higher. While the 18-35 group consider themselves quite happy (only 6% gave a rating below 3), the 56 and older group is more evenly distributed with 1 and 5 appearing at the same frequency (19%).
When compared with the other two South Caucasian countries (Azerbaijan and Georgia), the results show that there is also a gap between the younger and older generations. However, it appears that Armenians generally have a more negative outlook on life. The data from Azerbaijan indicates that 9% of total respondents experience a general sense of emptiness while 13% of those aged 56 or over say they do. Similarly, 13% of Georgian respondents claim they experience a general sense of emptiness while 20% of older respondents claim they do. Yet, the response from Armenia revealed a stronger feeling of emptiness with 26% of total respondents and 36% of respondents from the oldest age category answering that this describes them.
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