Skip to Main Navigation
BRIEF September 29, 2022

Listening to Kazakhstan


  • What

    Listening to Kazakhstan uses monthly, nationally representative surveys of the population to monitor rapidly changing situations, with a focus on wellbeing and public opinion. The survey has been applied in many countries around the world – including Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and the Kyrgyz Republic. It consists of a comprehensive face-to-face baseline survey, followed by monthly phone interviews with a randomly selected subsample of respondents who participated in the baseline.


    Results from these surveys are often most useful during rapid change or important reforms. “Listening to” surveys are some of the few sources of data providing real-time insight into the impacts of policy changes on households. They can also demonstrate citizens’ perceptions of the impacts and support for key government reforms and monitor the impacts of policy.

    For instance, in Kazakhstan the initiative also monitors the attitudes and concerns of citizens during the rollout of vaccines and recovery programs. In addition, and as demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic, having a system to quickly collect views and information from the public is very valuable to respond to unpredictable shocks, when rapid decision-making is necessary, and when face-to-face data collection is too expensive or too slow.   


    Following experience from other countries, Listening to Kazakhstan (L2Kaz) began with a single face-to-face baseline interview, followed by a continuous monthly phone-based survey of households. The sample size now stands at about 2,000 respondents per month. The baseline focused on core socio-economic characteristics of the household and its members that do not change or only change very slowly.

    In contrast, the monthly phone interviews focus on themes that may change from one month to the next, such as employment status, income, life satisfaction, and electricity or heating outages. The surveys also include comprehensive modules on personal views related to consequential policy reforms. We maintain a set of standard questions that are asked every month, in addition to modules that can be flexibly added considering changing circumstances or information needs.


    The baseline face-to-face survey was implemented in October 2020. Monthly phone interviews began in December 2020.


    Listening to Kazakhstan is led by the Poverty and Equity Global Practice of the World Bank in close collaboration with our partners, UNICEF, and NAC Analytica.

  • Methods

    The study collects information in two distinct modes:

    • A comprehensive national survey conducted in-person with a representative sample of 3,016 households. Recipients of social protection benefits were oversampled using national registration data, and sampling weights were adjusted for the inclusion of these households. The study particularly focuses on social assistance recipients to provide information about the impact and effectiveness of these programs for reducing poverty. A full module on well-being and views on local economic conditions was included in the first round.
    • A nationally representative panel survey conducted monthly over the phone with a randomly selected sub-sample of 1,500 households that participated in the baseline.

    The selection of sampling units for the Listening to Kazakhstan (L2Kaz) baseline survey used official classifiers of administrative-territorial objects at the lowest-level administrative unit in Kazakhstan. A total of 200 units were randomly selected, proportionate to size, by region (oblast) and settlement types (urban or rural).

    The national sample was stratified by region and by urban areas. The second stage procedure was conducted using a simple random selection of households with equal probability within selected sampling units. The final target sample included 15 households per sampling unit.

    The baseline survey included a full consumption and expenditure module using a list/recall approach. The resulting estimates are representative for 14 regions (referred to as oblasts in Kazakhstan), crossed with their urban areas, and 3 significant cities of the republic (Nur-Sultan, Almaty and Shymkent cities).

    The baseline survey was conducted entirely on tablet devices (CAPI), enabling validation using cross-referencing, confirmation using geo-coordinates, and other techniques to ensure accuracy. The survey was conducted over the course of a one-month period in October 2020. After completion of the face-to-face baseline, interviewers began regularly calling a randomly selected panel of 1,500 households over the phone to conduct short interviews (later increased to 2,000), following a set monthly schedule agreed with the participating household.

    The questionnaire for these phone interviews was designed to monitor trends in expenditure of specific goods, migration, subjective well-being, measures of income, employment, service disruptions, and related indicators. Phone-based interviews began on Dec 5th, 2020 and continue monthly. The target sample size for the panel component of the data collection is 1,500 household-level interviews per month.

    Participation in the survey is not mandatory, and refusal and non-response are potential concerns using panel data of this type. To ensure that non-take-up in the first round (and attrition in subsequent rounds) did not seriously affect the required sample size for survey representativeness, households that refused to participate were replaced with other households drawn from the same sample unit.




    Attrition rates (or non-response rates) have tended to be stable across rounds of the L2Kaz panel survey, and ranging from 17 to 51 percent, have been much lower than in many countries. About 57 percent of the sample that completed the first round of the survey was still present in round four. But to adjust for non-response and account for any systematic patters in the type of respondents who chose not to participate, the survey data are reweighted using standard procedures.

  • The Survey Findings