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ERGO Security Index: Estonians and Lithuanians feel more secure about their lives than Latvians

August 28, 2014

The Baltic research on the Security Index that has been organised by the ERGO insurance company in the Baltic States and the SKDS public opinion research centre shows that Estonians are most convinced about their everyday lives, while Latvians are least secure. In nearly all of the five dimensions of the Security Index, the views of Latvian residents are lower than in the other Baltic States when it comes to the extent to which they are worried about the possibility of undesirable or negative events in their lives. The overall rating for Estonia is +8, in Latvia it is -13, and in Lithuania it is -5.

It was only in the areas of physical safety and the criminal situation that the residents of Latvia, like respondents also in Lithuania and Estonia, gave a positive rating, which indicates that these are the areas in which Baltic residents feel most secure. Health care issues were the greatest concerns in all three countries. Estonians are far less concerned about national stability and security, as well as job opportunities, than Latvians and Lithuanians are. Only Estonians gave a positive rating to their material and financial situation -- +11, as opposed to -6 in Lithuania and -8 in Latvia.

“The ERGO Security Index is based on a unique methodology aimed at learning what the people of the Baltic States think about the stability of their lives and the risks that are important to them on an everyday basis,” says the Chairman of the Management Board of ERGO insurance companies in the Baltic States, Dr. Kęstutis Bagdonavičius. “For us as an insurance company, it is of key importance to learn the views of residents about their personal, financial and national security. This supports us by developing our insurance solutions and demand for them. The notable differences in indicators among the various countries show that societies reflect each country, thus allowing us to identify the most important local problems. It is clear that the health care system is the biggest concern in the Baltic States at this time”.

The methodology of the study involved questions about the extent to which respondents are upset about various undesirable or negative events in their lives. The Security Index involves 43 different security-related aspects in five security dimensions – property and financial security, health, physical security, employment, and the relevant country’s stability and national security. In addition to these five dimensions, the study also focuses on the stability of respondents’ lives. There are five more securitability factors to analyse the extent to which people are satisfied with their lives, are sure that they can influence events, the self-evaluation of their material situation, the extent to which respondents plan for their future, and the most important household sustainability indicators.

When it comes to the securitability issues, there are very similar results, though the Lithuanians are a bit ahead of the other Baltic States when it comes to satisfaction with one’s life. The percentage of residents who believe that they are in good material shape is quite similar in all three countries – 43% in Lithuania, 45% in Estonia, and 48% in Latvia. Representatives say that if they lost their regular income, their households would survive for no more than seven months, while Latvians posted the lowest indicator in this regard – just four months.

“The results of the study show that people in the Baltic States have fairly similar views when it comes to various security aspects, through people in Estonia and Lithuania are much more convinced about their lives, and they are far less worried about the possibility of undesirable events,” says SKDS director Arnis Kaktiņš. “People in Latvia are typically more pessimistic than Estonians and Lithuanians about all areas – the overall situation in the country, material security, as well as work and health care issues. Insecurity in these areas, as well as lower amounts of savings, keep Latvians from being convinced about their financial situation in the long term, also creating greater concerns about every unexpected shift in their everyday lives.”

The study was conducted on the Internet in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania this being based on the SKDS respondent panel – 1,005 permanent residents between the ages of 18 and 74 in each country were surveyed.