Politico, November 11, 2011
Poll: Afghans’ suffering increases
The percentage of Afghans who say they feel safe walking alone at night in the city or where they live also dipped significantly since the previous year
By MJ Lee
The unemployment rate in Afghanistan in 2011 was more than 15 percent. (Photo:)
As the U.S. continues its efforts to help Afghanistan, a new poll shows that the percentage of Afghans who are suffering is rising, based on what they say about their lives.
Three out of ten Afghans, or 30 percent, were determined in the latest Gallup poll to be “suffering.” This is 7 percentage points higher than in 2010, when 23 percent of Afghans were classified as suffering.
In addition, the percentage of Afghans who were determined to be “thriving” also dropped significantly, down to just 4 percent from a high of 12 percent in 2010.
Gallup determines whether a person is thriving or suffering based on how individuals rate their current and future lives on a scale.
The percentage of Afghans who say they feel safe walking alone at night in the city or where they live also dipped significantly since the previous year, down to 29 percent from 37 percent in 2010.
The unemployment rate in Afghanistan in 2011 was more than 15 percent – the same rate as in 2010, but still significantly higher than in 2009, when between 5 percent and 9 percent of Afghans were without jobs.
In remarks at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday, President Barack Obama thanked the country’s veterans and declared that “the tide of war is receding.”
“In just a few weeks, the long war in Iraq will finally come to an end,” he said. “Our transition in Afghanistan is moving forward. And my fellow Americans, our troops are coming home.”
The Gallup poll was conducted with face-to-face interviews in Afghanistan in April and May 2011, a period following a sharp increase in violence in the country, as Gallup’s analysis notes. Approximately 1,000 people ages 15 and older were polled, and the survey has a margin of error ranging from plus or minus 3.7 percentage points to 3.9 percentage points.
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