Results of 2023: Inflation and Low Incomes Are of the Greatest Concern to People in Kazakhstan

Two thirds of citizens expect large-scale and decisive changes


From December 11 to December 16, 2023, DEMOSCOPE Public Opinion Express Monitoring Bureau with the support of Konrad Adenauer Foundation in cooperation with PAPERLAB Research Center conducted a survey of citizens on the topic of Assessment of the Current Situation in Kazakhstan and the Results of the Year.

The final DEMOSCOPE survey was devoted to the analysis of public opinion on the results of the year in Kazakhstan. The study covered a wide range of issues that make it possible to assess satisfaction with the quality of life and changes in various spheres, identify problems of concern to citizens and determine the degree of trust in government institutions.  

The DEMOSCOPE survey revealed that the biggest concern for half of Kazakhstanis and their families is caused by material problems – rising prices for essential goods (52.2%) against the background of low incomes (50.6%). Other significant aspects causing the greatest concern to citizens included the unavailability or unsatisfactory condition of housing (33.4%), as well as the low level of pensions, allowances, scholarships (31.3%).

In addition to economic and housing issues, people in Kazakhstan are concerned about:

  • corruption – 29.6%
  • lack of jobs and difficulties with employment – 27.2%
  • polluted environment – 23.2%
  • unsatisfactory / inaccessible healthcare system – 23.1%
  • unsatisfactory / inaccessible education system – 18.7%
  • poor transport infrastructure – 16.5%
  • problems with communal infrastructure* – 16.2%
  • crime – 7.3%
  • lack of opportunities for recreation and leisure – 4.4%.

The respondents could choose several answers to this question.

It is characteristic that the respondents’ answers, indicating a decrease in purchasing power, also correlate with the question of the standard of living of citizens – one of the key markers of the quality of public administration. According to the results of the survey, almost 40% of Kazakhstanis in 2023 noted a deterioration in their standard of living (39.5%), one third of respondents (33.4%) remained at the same level, and 19.4% of the population believes that their quality of life has improved.

The DEMOSCOPE study showed a high level of demand for change in the country. 65.7% of respondents believe that Kazakhstan needs large-scale and decisive changes. There are significantly fewer supporters of minor changes – 24%. And only 7% of Kazakhstanis believe that “no changes are needed, let everything remain as it is.” The demand for large-scale changes dominates in all socio-demographic groups, but it is more pronounced among representatives of the Kazakh ethnicity (70%).

In the context of social, economic and geopolitical crises, the level of public confidence in government institutions is a key factor for the implementation of anti-crisis policy. 

It is noteworthy (and quite expected for autocracies, where, as a rule, the entire information system works on the rating of the first person in the country) that, according to the DEMOSCOPE survey, the president of Kazakhstan is the most trusted among state institutions. 69.4% of respondents express loyalty to Tokayev, while 20.1% rather do not trust him. This is most likely due to the eventful contrast. An increasingly rigid foreign policy agenda (the war in Ukraine, the events in Gaza and Israel) smooths the perception of internal problems.

About half of the citizens expressed confidence in banks (51.4%), the police (50%), akims (48.2%) and religious figures (47.4%). 

On the issue of trust in the government, the opinion of respondents is noticeably polarized – almost half of the respondents (48.8%) expressed confidence, while 39.5% expressed distrust.

The deputy corps has a relatively low level of trust. Parliamentarians are rather distrusted by 47.7% and trusted by 35.6%. The courts have even less public sympathy. 38.2% trust them, and 37.2% rather do not trust them.

The level of public trust strongly correlates with the age of the respondents. Kazakhstanis of the pre-retirement years are the most skeptical. Thus, in the group from 50 to 59 years old, 51% and 62% of respondents do not trust the government and members of parliament. At the same time, trust in institutions is more pronounced among young people aged 18 to 29. In this age group, 79% trust the president. In second place are religious figures with a confidence level of 66% (with an average of 47%).

The DEMOSCOPE study made it possible to assess the public’s perception of the work of social institutions. Thus, in two areas, the share of respondents who noted the deterioration of the situation prevails – in the economy and the environment. This opinion was expressed by 33.4% and 43.1% of citizens, respectively.

Some improvements have been noted only in the work of the education sector. The share of those who noted positive changes is 36.4%. However, for 29.8%, the situation in the field of education has not changed, and according to 21.3%, it has worsened.

Public opinion was almost equally divided in assessing the work of law enforcement agencies. 38.2% did not notice any changes in law enforcement and security, while 37.2%, on the contrary, noted improvements. At the same time, 16.5% believe that the situation has begun to deteriorate. 

During the survey, respondents were also asked to assess the current situation in the country. In total, half of people in Kazakhstan consider the situation in the country unfavorable, of which 29.3% are unstable and 20.9% are critical. According to 45%, the situation is currently favorable.

The results of the DEMOSCOPE survey demonstrate the increased expectations of the population of Kazakhstan in solving political, social and economic problems and rising living standards in the new year 2024. At the same time, the existing inertial approach in public administration, contrary to the expected reformist one, but supplemented by periodic populist measures, can provide the authorities with a certain period of loyalty. 

The press release and infographics in Kazakh and Russian are available at the link

When using the material, a hyperlink to the DEMOSCOPE website is required. 


Methodology: From December 11 to December 16, 2023, 1,100 people were interviewed in 17 regions and cities of republican significance (Astana, Almaty, and Shymkent). The survey was conducted by telephone interviews among mobile subscribers in Kazakhstan. The sample was based on a database of numbers obtained using a random number generator. The telephone survey was carried out by the KT CloudLab LLP Contact Center. 47.4% of men and 52.6% of women over the age of 18 took part in the survey. 60.5% preferred to answer in Kazakh, 39.5% – in Russian. 74.2% of respondents are Kazakhs, 12.8% are Russians and 12.4% are representatives of other nationalities. 61.5% of respondents live in the city, 38.5% in rural areas. The data is weighted by parameters such as gender and age of the respondents. The maximum margin of error with a 95% probability does not exceed 3%. The response rate was 23%. 

The survey was implemented by MediaNet International Center for Journalism with the support of Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The survey data reflect the respondents’ point of view. For more information, please contact the project coordinator Snezhana Tsoy:

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