Households in Tajikistan are particularly vulnerable to shocks. In May 2015, the World Bank launched a “Listening to Tajikistan” (L2T) survey to understand the severity of the shocks on households and monitor their wellbeing over time.
Over 1,400 households from all regions of Tajikistan participate in the survey every month, through phone interviews. The study follows the same households over time, collecting their personal views and details about how their livelihoods change from one month to the next. It focuses on key dimensions of wellbeing – including on remittances, jobs, food security, and services.
In April 2020, the survey was also adapted to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. New modules were added to monitor the impacts of the pandemic on households and the effectiveness of mitigation policies.
According to the latest analysis of the L2T results, the social and economic wellbeing of the population severely deteriorated following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Tajikistan, and the country remained far from full recovery at the end of 2020.
The number of respondents reporting that no household member was currently working spiked in April and May 2020, and although the labor market quickly regained lost ground thereafter, a second surge in joblessness took hold in November. Open job vacancies posted online remained significantly lower than pre-crisis highs.
A similar two-peaked deterioration was reported for worse household financial conditions and rising food insecurity in 2020.
Since the outbreak, between 15 and 20 percent of those reporting a need for medical treatment said they were unable to obtain it.
Government programs to combat the effects of the pandemic have had a positive impact. Since the outbreak, about 14 percent of households reported receiving new financial or in-kind support from the government at least once.
Here you can find the results of the survey covering COVID-19 issues, as well as all previous rounds of the survey from 2015 (the section of the page on the right).
And here is a summary of the L2T findings from 2015 to 2019 (pre-pandemic):
- Food security remains one of the most important determinants of well-being in Tajikistan, especially during winter and early spring, when food is less available and fewer people are working.
- The availability of work is the main cause of fluctuating income and poverty rates. The share of households with nobody working can increase by as much as 20 percent in the lean seasons.
- Migration drives poverty reduction, but remittances are also highly seasonal. Remittance income fluctuates from as low as 7 percent to as high as 17 percent.
- Life satisfaction is generally high in Tajikistan, but progress has stalled. More people classified themselves as poor in 2019 compared with 2018, and there are also fewer people saying they are “very satisfied” with their lives.
- Due to frequent outages, satisfaction with electricity services is low, especially in rural areas. On average, between 20-30 percent of households reported an outage during the preceding two days.
- Poor and food-insecure households have higher stunting and malnutrition risks. In 2016, roughly one-in-five children under five still suffered from stunting.
The survey results have helped raise awareness and shape the World Bank Group’s and other development partners’ development priorities in Tajikistan. It is also used by the Government of Tajikistan as a source of information to monitor progress on key indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals.
For questions about the L2T survey, please contact William Hutchins Seitz, Senior Economist, World Bank, and Alisher Rajabov, Economist, World Bank.