Survey of IDPs and hosting communities in Ukraine

Survey of IDPs and hosting communities in Ukraine

The Kyiv International Institute of Sociology released results of a survey (pdf, English; Ukrainian here) they did in July and August with internally-displaced persons (IDPs) and hosting communities across Ukraine.

Boring method-related preamble facts:

  • Done for Internews (an international NGO – not Inter) and funded by the Government of Canada
  • Fieldwork between July 22 and August 16, 2016
  • 1,003 IDPs and 1,500 residents of host communities interviewed in person across all of Ukraine except territories not under control of the government (i.e., except Crimea and “LNR”/”DNR” )

Have a look for yourself, but for me three things stand out…

Some IDPs feel prejudice more than others

Six in ten (61%) IDPs said they never felt prejudice from local citizens because they were an IDP; one in five (20%) said they only rarely felt prejudice, while 11% experienced it “from time to time and 3% “all the time.”

Still, some IDPs experience more prejudice than others.  IDPs displaced before autumn 2014 tended to experience less prejudice (67% ‘no prejudice’) compared to those displaced before autumn 2015 (54% no) and autumn 2016 (55% no). In addition, IDPs in villages (65% ‘no prejudice’) and cities <50,000 people (75%) experience less prejudice than those in cities +50,000 people (48% ‘no prejudice’) and oblast centres (59%).

But it’s IDPs who say they feel vulnerable (“Do you feel more vulnerable because of your age, health condition, education, employment opportunities or any other conditions as compared to other IDPs?”) that tend to experience more prejudice; two-thirds (67%) of IDPs who didn’t feel vulnerable said they experienced no prejudice compared to 49% of vulnerable IDPs. These vulnerable IDPs tend to be those over 60 years of age, lack paid work, lack higher education and say they have health and/or financial problems.

One note: in the tables in the appendices to the report there is a stat that says 47% of those aged 18-29 felt vulnerable compared to 21% of 30-44s, 20% of 45-59s and 31% of 60+s. This isn’t discussed or mentioned in the text of the report so I’m wondering a) if it’s a typo or (most likely) b) the subsample’s too small to be statistically significant.

Getting to know IDPs

Looking now at the survey of local residents:

  • 83% said they know there are IDPs in their town/city
  • 45% have talked to an IDP
  • 34% have IDPs among their relatives and close friends.

These trends aren’t the same across the country – people are less familiar with IDPs in western Ukraine than in Donbas or Kyiv, which isn’t surprising given where IDPs tend to settle.


Most citizens in host communities tend to have good (43%) or neutral (44%) attitudes towards IDPs, which is consistent with findings a different survey back in June. Only 5% of people surveyed said they had negative attitudes towards IDPs.

These attitudes, however, tend to be the worst (well, really, ‘least good’) in western Ukraine, where people are the least familiar with IDPs, and best in areas like eastern Ukraine and Donbas, with one exception…


…that exception, of course, is Kyiv, where people are the most aware of IDPs in their city, the most likely to have IDPs among their relatives and/or close friends – but also have the most negative attitudes towards IDPs (14% saying they had a ‘bad’ attitude towards IDPs).


Kyiv’s the exception too when it comes to attitudes about crime.

Only one in ten (11%) residents of host communities who were of aware of IDPs in their communities (n= 1,233) said that the presence of IDPs in their community had led to a worsening of the crime rate.

But look at the regional breakdowns:

  • West: 9%
  • North: 18%
  • Centre: 7%
  • South: 5%
  • East: 11%
  • Donbas: 6%
  • Kyiv: 32%

That’s a huge difference, and it isn’t just because Kyiv’s a huge city; 19% of residents of oblast centres felt the presence of IDPs had worsened the crime rate, still far higher than those in villages and cities with both fewer and greater than 50,000 people (6%, 7% and 8%, respectively).


In point form because it’s getting late here.

  • The most vulnerable IDPs are the ones who tend to experience the most prejudice
  • Similarly to what I argued for a similar survey done back in June, there looks to be bit of familiarity not exactly breeding contempt going on here – attitudes tend to be more positive in regions where people have more contact with IDPs, except Kyiv
  • Blaming IDPs for crime (not that anyone tried doing that) might not get you very far. A subset of the population would probably buy into that sort of thing, particularly in larger cities and the capital, but the findings from this survey suggest – thankfully – that jumping up to play the blame-refugees-for-crime game might not be all that fruitful for Ukraine’s populists.