2021 Social Survey Austria - Decline, Fear, and Disappointed Families

Two years into a pandemic have left their mark. You would think; but is it really so?

von links: Moosbrugger, Prandner
von links: Moosbrugger, Prandner

Also, will future generations be socially disadvantaged? The 2021 Social Survey Austria took a closer look at these questions and more. This study is one of Austria’s largest social science projects, involving researchers at the Johannes Kepler University Linz (Department of Empirical Social Research) as well as from universities in Graz, Salzburg and Vienna. Conducted since 1986, this is the sixth edition of the Social Survey Austria.

Social Inequality

JKU Prof. Johann Bacher and JKU researcher Martina Beham-Rabanser’s contribution explored the next generation and whether or not the situation in Austria is still conducive to helping the new generation to be better off than the generation before. In other words, will the next generation " have it better" than their parents' generation, or are we already in a state of social decline? Their analyses show that social immobility has increased since the 80s. In 1986, 48% said they experienced more upward mobility as compared to their parents, however in 2021, only 40% of those surveyed indicated they experienced upward mobility. When it comes to men, the reason seems to be on account of fewer advancement opportunities. When it comes to women, the reason seems to be on account of a decline in social relegation. There is, however, no evidence that we are living in an age of social decline.

Expectations for the Future

JKU researchers Dimitri Prandner and Robert Moosbrugger studied Austrians’ future expectations and surprisingly, they found that on the whole, the pandemic changed Austrians’ future expectations only marginally. The proportion of pessimists in 2018 was 14%, just one percentage point lower than in 2021 when 15% of those surveyed were identified as pessimists.

However, the study also showed far more dramatic trends among groups of people hit particularly hard by the pandemic. During the pandemic, families with children up to age 14 (in 2018: 27%; in 2021: 38%), those in moderate health (in 2018: 28%; in 2021: 34%) and those who have had difficulty making ends meet in lieu of income (in 2018: 25%; in 2021: 36%), have become increasingly pessimistic about the future in Austria. In summary, most of those increasingly affected by the pandemic have lost faith, confidence, and trust in society - with dramatic consequences for society as a whole.

Selected findings will be presented on March 24, at 5:30 PM via live broadcast on WebEx. Click here, opens an external URL in a new window to access the link).

All of the findings from the 2021 Social Survey, including a discussion by JKU researchers Dimitri Prandner and Martina Beham-Rabanser about the importance of government policies, is available on the Social Survey Austria, opens an external URL in a new window's official homepage.