Culture & Society Hungary News

Nearly 90% of Hungarians “feel free” despite pandemic, study finds


Budapest, Hungary – Some 88­% of Hungarians consider themselves more or less free despite Covid-19 restrictions, a recent study by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) has found.

According to the survey, 41% of Hungarian respondents said they “feel free in their everyday life” in terms of their “ability to lead their life as they see fit”, while 47% of them said they felt “party free” to do so.

This is the highest combined rate among the dozen countries surveyed in the study, ahead of Spain (86% said they feel more or less free), Denmark (82%) and the Netherlands (81%).

Germany was the only surveyed country where less than half of the population (46%) said it felt free despite Covid-19 restrictions.

Some 12% of Hungarians on the contrary said they did not feel free at all to lead their lives as they see fit, compared to 21% of Poles, 42% of Austrians and 49% of Germans.

In all European countries, the share of people declaring unequivocally that they currently feel free is lower than two years ago, dropping in Hungary from 69% in 2019 to 41% today.

The Covid-19 pandemic’s biggest impact on perceptions of freedom were found in Austria (63 percentage point difference), the Netherlands (60 percentage point difference) and Germany (57 points).

The results were published as part of an ECFR study looking at how the pandemic divides public opinion in selected European countries and reshapes domestic politics. The polling was conducted in late May and early June 2021, with an overall representative sample of more than 16,000 respondents.

“The lived experience of the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe has split Europe just as the euro and refugee crises did, with the south and the east feeling much more badly affected than the north and the west,” warn the authors of the study.

The full report is available here.

Coordinated by Ábel Bede, Kafkadesk's Budapest office is made up of a growing team of freelance journalists, editors and fact-checkers passionate about Hungarian affairs and dedicated to bringing you all the latest news, events and insights from Hungary.