A new national survey by Edison’s partner in Iraq, IIACSS, shows a cautiously optimistic outlook towards the New Year. The survey, part of the 33 nation “End of Year” study for the Gallup International Association, interviewed 1015 Iraqis nationwide on a host of issues, mostly dealing with the nation’s economy.
The survey showed a majority expecting 2010 to be better than 2009, with only 18% saying 2010 would be worse than the previous year. This data from IIACSS placed Iraq in the “Top 10″ most optimistic countries among the 33 countries participating in the survey. New Zealand topped the list as “most optimistic,” while Italy earned the “most pessimistic” label among those nations surveyed.
While many in Iraq feel the economy will remain the same as in 2009 (38%), far more have a positive expectation for the 2010 economy than a negative one. More than twice as many say 2010 will bring “economic prosperity” (40%) than those who expect “economic difficulty” (18%).
Despite their largely positive feelings toward the New Year, Iraqis maintain some of their well-earned skepticism. Unemployment has plagued Iraq since the 2003 invasion and has played a major part in fueling the insurgency. Overall, only 43% of those surveyed by IIACSS are employed, and the overwhelming majority of Iraqi women do not work. In addition, 40% of those who do have jobs only work part-time.
As such, the overall optimism displayed in other measures in the study is much more tempered on the topic of employment. The number of people expecting increased unemployment was nearly identical to the number expecting a drop in the nation’s jobless numbers. In addition, only 6% expect a significant drop in unemployment with nearly three times that number (16%) expecting unemployment to “increase a lot.” Among those who are currently employed, 43% think there is a chance they will become unemployed in 2010.
Still, whatever the stark challenges they face, the IIACSS study shows an Iraqi population expecting a better year in 2010.