Polls, stats, trends

Slovaks prouder than before

A MAJORITY of Slovak citizens are proud of their country's achievements since it became a sovereign state in 1993, a survey by the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) think tank shows.

Since 2003, the number of people who are proud of Slovakia has increased from 49 to 59 percent.

However, 37 percent of respondents were critical about the development of Slovakia as a sovereign country, compared to 43 percent in 2003. IVO polled 1,044 respondents between November 3 and 11, the SITA news agency reported.

The poll also showed that feeling proud of their country is characteristic for people with a higher education - 72 percent of respondents with university education said they are proud of Slovakia and its achievements.

On the other hand, only 53 percent of people with a lower level of education, and just 43 percent of those older than 60, feel proud of Slovakia.

Poll: Reforms all right except for healthcare laws

THE REFORMS carried out by the current ruling coalition, apart from the healthcare reform, are all right according to most Slovaks, a new poll found.

The decentralization of public administration gained the support of 60 percent of those polled. Tax reform found favour with 57 percent of respondents and pension reform is welcomed by 53 percent of citizens. Moreover, 49 percent of those polled supported changes to the social benefits system, the poll carried out by the Bratislava based Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) think tank showed, the SITA news agency wrote.

Zora Bútorová of IVO, said that respondents did not support reforms in their current form unanimously, but agreed with their basic principles and the need for their fine-tuning.

In the case of healthcare reform however, 74 percent of respondents called for a fundamental change. "On the other hand, in the chart of societal problems healthcare did not appear among the most urgent ones," said Bútorová.

She thinks that the public perceives healthcare reform negatively, due to the communication of the Health Ministry and Minister Rudolf Zajac and a lack of public presentation of the reform.

The poll found that voters for the ruling parties identify themselves with the reforms most, as do supporters of the Free Forum.

The poll also showed that unlike the voters of the opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia and the Slovak Communist Party, opposition Smer party supporters do not dramatically oppose the reforms.

A third of brides pregnant at wedding

RESEARCH carried out by demographic experts found that around a third of weddings take place when the bride is pregnant, the SME daily reported on December 29.

Despite this, the proportion has been falling over the last decade. In the 1990s nearly 50 percent of brides were pregnant at their weddings, said Viera Pilinská of the Demographic Research Centre.

There were 27,885 weddings in 2004, with around 9,300 of the couples already expecting a child.

Meanwhile, since 2002, when 25,062 couples got married, the number of weddings has been increasing. "It can be said that the institution of marriage is still important for Slovaks", said Pilinská.

Sociologist Magdaléna Piscová said that before 1989, Slovakia had the highest proportion of pregnant brides in the world. Piscová believes that this was due to the poor level of family planning, with a lack of access to quality contraceptives.

Catholic priest Jozef Červeň said that many young people are choosing their partners more responsibly, and are not rushing into marriage, as was often the case in the past.

At the same time, the number of children born out of wedlock has been steadily increasing, up from 10,132 in 2000 to 13,403 (around 21 percent of all births) in 2004.

Poll: Business conditions differ by region

THE SLOVAK Business Alliance (PAS), in cooperation with the weekly magazine Trend, carried out an analysis showing that the most favourable business conditions in Slovakia can be found in and around Bratislava and neighbouring districts.

The districts of Košice, Prešov and Banská Bystrica scored worst in the analysis, the SITA news agency reported.

The PAS decision to conduct the analysis followed the World Economic Forum report on global competitiveness, in which Slovak entrepreneurs considered differences in regional business conditions as one of the biggest problems in Slovakia. In this field Slovakia ranked 96th from 104 countries.

The alliance carried out its analysis on the basis of statistical indicators and a survey among entrepreneurs. The analysis focused on economic activity, infrastructure, human resources and the quality of public administration in the regions.

Business conditions were examined in districts, with the capital Bratislava divided into several districts. The first six ranked locations, apart from fourth placed Malacky district, belonged to the town districts of Bratislava. Districts in the county of Bratislava - Senec and Pezinok - followed. Ninth place went to Trenčín followed by Trnava, Nitra and Žilina, which are also regional capitals.

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