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Declining Optimism in Bangladesh: Insights from the 2024 Citizens’ Perception Survey

A recent survey by The Asia Foundation and the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) of Brac University reveals a significant decline in public optimism regarding Bangladesh’s economy and politics. The Citizens’ Perception Survey 2024, which includes responses from 6,510 adults across all 64 districts, presents a comprehensive picture of the country’s socioeconomic and political climate.

On June 10, Imran Matin, executive director of BIGD, opened a dissemination event with welcome remarks. Tabasum Akseer, senior advisor for The Asia Foundation, shared insights into the methodology and philosophy behind the Foundation’s citizen perception surveys conducted in different countries since 2007.

The image shows a conference or seminar event, where a speaker is presenting at a podium to an audience seated at tables.

Mirza M. Hassan, senior research fellow at BIGD, presented the 2024 Citizens’ Perception Survey findings at the event, highlighting a widespread decline in positive economic perceptions, particularly among lower-income groups. In 2019, 84% of respondents earning below BDT 5000 were optimistic about the country’s economic direction, but this figure dropped to 42% in 2024. Similar declines were observed in other income brackets, with only 29% of those earning BDT 20000-30000 and 33% of those earning BDT 40000-50000 expressing positive economic sentiments.

The survey also uncovers a growing pessimism about the country’s overall direction, with 58% of respondents believing that Bangladesh is heading in the wrong direction concerning politics, society, and economy. Price hikes of essential commodities are the most pressing concern, impacting 95% of the surveyed population. Other critical issues include unemployment (8%), corruption (4%), and economic downturns (4%).

The image shows a conference or seminar event, where a speaker is presenting at a podium to an audience seated at tables.

Media consumption trends reveal an increase in the use of internet-based platforms like Facebook and YouTube for news, though private television channels remain the most popular. However, less than half of the respondents believe in complete freedom of the media.

Kazi Faisal Bin Seraj, our country representative in Bangladesh, praised the survey team in his closing speech, emphasizing the significance of public opinion in promoting accountability and transparency.

The image shows a conference room, where a speaker is presenting at a podium to an audience seated at tables. The backdrop displays the title "Dissemination event of 'The State of Bangladesh: As Seen by its Citizens' research findings." The room has artistic wall decorations and various The Asia Foundation and BRAC organizational logos/ banners displayed.

The comprehensive report with detailed findings will be available on The Asia Foundation’s website by July 2024.

Related locations: Bangladesh
Related programs: Good Governance

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