BEIRUT -- While mired in a war that a majority of Syrians believe will last at least one or two more years, 23% of Syrians rate their lives poorly enough to be considered "suffering," while the bulk of the population (74%) is "struggling." Two percent of Syrians interviewed in June and July of this year rate their lives positively enough to be considered "thriving."
Gallup classifies respondents as thriving, struggling, or suffering, according to how they rate their current and future lives on a ladder scale with steps numbered from zero to 10 based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. Those who rate their present life a 7 or higher and their life in five years an 8 or higher are classified as thriving, while those who rate both dimensions a 4 or lower are considered suffering. Respondents whose ratings fall in between are considered struggling.
Roughly a quarter or more of Syrians have rated their lives poorly enough to be considered suffering since the conflict began in mid-2011, illustrating the toll the war has exacted on Syrians' wellbeing. Prior to that, 14% to 16% of Syrians were suffering and 20% were thriving.
On average, Syrians rate their current lives a 2.7 on the 10-point scale, down from an average of 4.0 at the outset of the conflict in 2011 and far lower than the average of 4.9 in 2009. Presently, 67% of Syrians rate their lives between a zero and a 3; this is in contrast to the 21% who rated their lives this low in 2009.
But even with no solution to the conflict in sight, Syrians are relatively more hopeful that their lives are bound to be better five years from now; they give their future lives a 5.6 average rating.
The destruction the conflict is causing to Syrians' personal lives is also seen in the economic hardship that many of them report experiencing. Sixteen percent of Syrians say their households have lost their main source of income because of the ongoing violence. Further, more than half of Syrians (52%) now report finding it very difficult to get by on their present household income, compared with 29% in 2011.
These struggles to get by include Syrians' ability to afford the basics. Nearly half of Syrians (45%) report having had trouble in the past 12 months affording the food they or their families needed. And, a record-high 37% now say they have had trouble affording shelter.
As the different sides in the Syrian conflict continue their tug of war in different parts of the country, nearly all Syrians are either struggling or suffering. The percentage of those finding it very difficult to manage their lives at their current household income level has swelled four times in less than three years and providing adequate basic necessities is now a major challenge for families. However, Syrians have not lost all hope as they think about the future, which will be a key factor in their post-war recovery.
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Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,022 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted in June and July 2013 in Syria. Homs and Quneitra governorates were excluded. The excluded areas represent approximately 9% of the population. In addition, almost one-quarter of selected primary sampling units were substituted as a result of the security situation. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ± 3.4 percentage points. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.