Some of our most important priorities are in the personal parts of our lives. They're usually reflected in activities, events or relationships that we want to put sincere effort and time into. Setting up priorities correctly is often cited as the key to effective time management and success in life.
In this light, it is interesting to see what the priorities are for the individuals living in different European countries. The European Values Study (EVS), a large multinational survey research program that has been studying basic human values for almost 40 years, has asked several questions about priorities in life. GORBI has been part of the project since 2008 and is the data provider for Georgia and Azerbaijan for the most recent year.
As one would probably expect, family was mentioned as the biggest priority in life in all 16 countries surveyed, followed by friends. There is an important difference in the third most important aspect in life between Georgia and other European countries surveyed by EVS. If for Europeans work is the most important aspect in life after Family and friends, for Georgians it is religion. On average, religion is important for 53% of respondents surveyed by EVS, while in Georgia it is important for 95 % of population. This statistics puts Georgia first in the list of countries for whom religion is the most important aspect in life, compared to other European countries, such as the Czech Republic where religion is important for only 22% of the population. Therefore, I think it is safe to assume that the importance of religion is one of the most outstanding values that is different for Georgia compared to other European countries. This probably should not be surprising if we remember the credo of Ilia Chavchavadze “Language, Homeland and Religion”.
Chart 1. Important in life (%)
Source: European Value Study, 2017'
Another priority which is quite different for Georgians than for the rest of Europe is leisure time. If on average 89% of respondents surveyed by EVS mention leisure time as an important aspect in life, only 80% of Georgians mention it as important. This puts Georgia close to last in evaluating the importance of leisure time among the 16 surveyed countries. This finding should not come as surprise if we take into account the high unemployment rate in Georgia, which is around 14%. Therefore, people do not care as much about leisure time as they are less employed, and if they are employed they value leisure time less, since they know that it is a luxury to have work, especially if it is satisfactory.
In Europe as well as in Georgia, politics ranks as the least important element in life. On average 42% of individuals in the surveyed countries report politics to be an important aspect in their lives. For Germans, politics is the most important among the surveyed countries, with 68% of population saying it is important, compared to for example Slovenia, where only 18% of population lists politics as an important aspect in life. In Georgia, 45% of respondents say that politics is important, which puts Georgia around the average of all 16 countries surveyed. This finding is even more interesting if we take into consideration the fact that according to a nationwide survey conducted by GORBI in November 2018, around 63% of the population doesn’t think of themselves as supporters of a particular political party.
It is significant that while nearly half of the population views politics as an important aspect of life, 63% do not support any political party. This suggests that there is a lot of room for a new political force to attract support or for an existing political party to realign its views towards a popular constituency. It is also interesting to take into account that in Georgia attitudes towards the importance of politics vary quite a lot by age. If 52% of individuals aged 50 and older in Georgia reported that politics is an important aspect in their life, only 34% of individuals aged 15-29 said the same.
GORBI is an exclusive member of the Gallup International research network and has more than two decades of experience in survey research (gorbi.com)