04 Dec

Armenia – 2015 sources of information

The EBRD Life in Transition survey changed their wording on this question quite a bit this wave, so it is difficult to compare to the past. But here I present the frequency of Armenians using various media as an information source.  The question says: “People use different sources to learn what is going on in their country and the world. For each of the following sources, please indicate how often you use it:” with a variety of choices from never to daily.

Not surprisingly, TV rules. Magazines aren’t very popular in Armenia.

04 Dec

Frequency of using the Internet and social media as an information source in Eurasia, 2015

The EBRD Life in Transition survey changed their wording on this question quite a bit this wave, so it is difficult to compare to the past. But here I present the frequency of Eurasians using the Internet and social media as an information source.  The question says: “People use different sources to learn what is going on in their country and the world. For each of the following sources, please indicate how often you use it:” with a variety of choices from never to daily.

This is Internet

and social media

It is hard to say if people understood the difference between the Internet and social media. I’d guess that they did not. I eyeball’d the crosstabs and it seems that the nevers in both groups are pretty heavily overlapping.

And, of course, anyone that knows anything about media consumption knows that the vast majority of people get their news from TV. Nonetheless, I wanted to also provide a bit of context for the South Caucasus, Russia, and Turkey. If you’re interested in other countries, please contact me.

More to come!

04 Dec

PC/tablet ownership in Eurasia in 2015

A few years ago I made some graphics and a blog post showing personal computer ownership in Europe and Eurasia based on the EBRD’s Life in Transition survey.

Last week I presented these data to some graduate students and that reminded me that I should update this! There are 2015-2016 data available and the picture has changed quite a bit. Also, notably, the question wording changed. Now people are asked if anyone in their household owns a personal computer, laptop, or tablet and if they don’t is it because they cannot afford it or for another reason. I present both here.

Link to the original image

01 Sep

Facebook in Armenia, September 2017

I’ve written some blog posts in the past where I explain how I use Facebook ads to estimate how many Facebook users there are in a particular country. Here’s a September 2017 update for Armenia!

As of September 2017, there are about 1,100,000 Facebook users in Armenia, according to Facebook. That is 37% of the total population, and 34% of the population over age 14 (Facebook technically isn’t available to those under 13.)

As far as gender, 36% of the total male population, or 46% of males over age 14 are on Facebook. 40% of the total female population, or 49% of the female 14+ population. So there are some gender differences, but probably within the margin of error.

Just looking at the 15-24 year olds, 89% of them are on the site, 82% of young men and 97% of young women.

14 Mar

Facebook in Armenia – March 2016

I’ve written some blog posts in the past where I explain how I use Facebook ads to estimate how many Facebook users there are in a particular country. Here’s a March 2016 update for Armenia!

As of mid-March 2016, there are 930,000 Facebook users in Armenia, according to Facebook. That is 31% of the total population, and 28% of the population over age 14 (Facebook technically isn’t available to those under 13.) This is a leap of 120,000 users in one year.

Women and men are pretty much equally on Facebook. There are 470,000 Armenian males on Facebook, consisting of 31% of the total male population, or 40% of males over age 14. There are 460,000 female users in Armenia, 32% of the total female population, or 33% of the female 14+ population.

Age breakdowns are possible (although please see the original post for a description of some of the difficulties in determining this). There are 160,000 13-18 year old Armenians on the site, with slightly more boys than girls. However, we do have some population data for a different age category: 15-24 year olds that is quite interesting. With 360,000 Armenian youth (15-24) on the site, we see that 82% of this age group are Facebook users! In this age group, girls are dominating, with 87% of 15-24 year old girls using Facebook and 78% of 15-24 year old boys.

16 Feb

Qualities in a child update

I did an analysis a few years ago based on 2007 data on desirable qualities in children. The World Values Survey had a similar question, so here are the newer results. For what it is worth, I doubt that the translations are equivalent. So it is quite likely that a word for “thrift” or “obedience” that had a negative connotation was used.

This is the percent of respondents that said, yes that is an important quality in a child.

am2 az2

08 Feb

Just Imagine… Some more contextualization for the Armenia baby with Down Syndrome case


I see how upset foreigners are about the Baby Leo story. Again, I wish to add some context. As I mentioned in my first post on the topic, I have spent a lot of time in Armenia and the region and I spent most of my pregnancy 6 years ago in Armenia, so I have some intimate knowledge of OBGYN care there.

While my research is broadly about technology and inequality in the region, I also spend a lot of time thinking about and writing about family life. Inequality and family are impossible to separate.

Again, here are some things that may help people contextualize the situation better: My first post covered the disability side of things. This post focuses on family and I am creating a hypothetical situation that is a blend of the experiences of my friends and what I’ve personally witnessed in my 17 years hanging out around here.

Importantly, many, if not most, Armenians live in multigenerational households. I did a quick analysis of the 2013 Caucasus Barometer and there are an average of 4.52 household members and 3.45 adult household members in Armenia (SD 1.93 for total, SD 1.35 for adults). Even in the capital city, there is a mean of 4.20 household members and 3.34 adult household members.


Multigenerational households operate a bit differently from the stereotypical nuclear family. Grandma is sort of “in charge,” non-retired male members work and bring income to the household. Younger female members might work, depending on their skill set and presence of children. Household responsibilities are distributed in a way that may be unfamiliar to Americans. Just imagine what it would be like – both good and bad – to have that many adults under one roof? Personally I am often envious of the great support that this system provides – especially when I’m racing home to pick up my child to drive him to an activity. Oh how I wish that I had more adults around to help distribute the tasks. But let us also imagine that this involves more adults to be concerned about not cleaning their hair out of the drain and other annoyances. And you’re not in a romantic relationship with all these adults, so your ability to work these things out is quite different. And onto status differences…

When a couple weds, how this usually works is that the new bride moves into her husband’s parents house. There are varying norms when there are multiple brothers or if there are no sons, but this is the general rule.

There is a lot of pressure on a new bride to socialize into the family – she may have to do some of the unpleasant chores, for example. And there is pressure to have a child very soon in some families.

Relationships between men and women in Armenia are not like what relationships between men and women are in the United States. While there are certainly exceptions, for the most part, young Armenians do not “date” like Americans do. I’m happy to elaborate on this and I acknowledge that things have changed, but this is just how it is.  And premarital physical relationships are a big no-no. Armenians also marry much younger than Americans do on average. And, by and large, I would argue that most Armenian couples don’t know each other as well before getting married as most American couples do.

Baby Leo’s family story is a bit different because Dad is a foreigner and they were residing with her parents. But I want you to imagine that these are people that are living in a very different household management system from the one that you may be used to.

Baby Leo’s parents are different here because he is a foreigner, but again, imagine that this is the norm that exists in this society.

Fatherhood in Armenia is not like fatherhood in America. In part because of this system of household management and in part because of cultural norms, traditionally, fathers have not been very involved in the day-to-day childrearing. I haven’t seen any data from Armenia, but in the neighboring two countries, very few men had ever changed a diaper, for example. Of course there are exceptions, but again, this is the system in which this story unfolds.

So take this combination of a different style of household management with many more adults with status and the different ways that men and women relate to each other and let that sit in your brain for a bit.

Now, as far as pre-natal care in Armenia – for the most part, most women see a midwife regularly. Yet, as far as I have come to understand, the set of tests given is different. I had to request a number of tests that are standard in the U.S. and just are not in Armenia. Some of those tests may have shown indication of DS. Also it is important to know that in Armenia, like in much of that part of the world, abortion is used as a form of contraception. [link] [link] [link] Because there is less stigma against abortion, it can be assumed that many of those that know of a DS diagnosis would terminate a pregnancy.

I did not give birth in Armenia myself, but as I understand it, the father is usually not present. I cannot comment on the state of the delivery room, but I have heard things that makes me believe that it is not yoga-ball and soothing music-full. Babies don’t sleep in the rooms with the mother. Also, for the record, giving birth can be traumatic and scary and if you haven’t given birth before, it is an entirely new experience. And hormones are all over the place. I had to make some quick decisions immediately after giving birth and I was certainly not capable of doing so with a clear head.

Thus, try to push your own pre-natal and birth experience out of your mind for a bit.

So, let us also let our minds wander a bit. This is all hypothetical – a combination of experiences I’ve seen friends have. We might be assuming, based on our own experiences or otherwise, that everything was great between the mother and father. They were having so much fun picking out names! They had a fun baby shower!  Took photos of them with tiny baby shoes and posted it on social media! So imagine instead that, maybe, this was an unplanned pregnancy. (I have no evidence of this for Baby Leo’s parents, but this is a mental exercise.) And they said, well, it wasn’t planned, and money’s tight, but let’s go for it. Maybe she thought he was a little too mean and sometimes drank too much, but she was sure that after the baby came he would change. And hey, even if he didn’t change, at least there are a lot of people around to help and hey, he’s a provider.  And then, he loses his job. He tries to find other work, but it is not looking good. And the nature of his work means that he has no access to any sort of unemployment benefits. They try to keep it together as a couple, but things are getting scary. They were barely making ends meet before he was laid off, and now this? And as she spends more time with him she realizes that he is sort of a jerk. But it looks like she is tied to him now, so maybe she should just put up with it. It isn’t like she is going to be able to find a new guy very easily, now a non-virgin with a kid. She is prepared to make it work, although sometimes after a big fight she wonders if there are other options. Maybe he beats her. Maybe he is a drug addict.  (Again. no evidence of this for Baby Leo, although we have heard from the mother that the father was unemployed.)

The baby is coming! She goes to the hospital with her mom and sister. It is her first delivery and she is scared. Her mom is running interference with the nurses, sliding bits of money here and there. The baby arrives and everyone is happy! But then the doctor comes to her and says that there is something wrong with the baby. The doctors and nurses’ normal reaction is to send the child to an institution. The mother is hormonal, considering her economic situation, her husband’s attitude and behavior, and the fact that there is little support for special needs children. Her mom and sister give their opinion. Her mother-in-law gives her opinion. Maybe they let it be known that they are not willing to help her be the full-time caregiver for this child for his entire life. They had only committed to caring for the child for the first 5 years and after that only after school. Plus in “their day” “these kind” of children were sent away. And mom, as a younger person with some skills, is a primary income-bringer to the household and if she stopped working, the household would suffer. The mom needs to let this sit for a bit. Then an option is proposed – leave the country. She adds this to her list of things to consider. She’s trying to recover from giving birth. Then imagine that the child’s father appears and whisks him away – maybe another jerk move. But now she’s hormonal and there is more at stake. Maybe she figures that any man that would take a child from its mother should not be one to whom she is married. And then maybe he lies about her to others and this really confirms it. Maybe she planned to divorce him all along and the best chance for her child is to be with him abroad, but that she herself cannot be with him anymore.

Again, I am not trying to imply that any of this happened with Baby Leo’s parents, but that it could have.

There is no way that any of us can know what has happened between these two people. For the most part we’re getting one side of the story and there must be many. Again, I hope to contextualize a bit and additionally hope that people take a moment to fathom that there very well could be good reasons for what individuals have done in this case.



03 Jan

January 2015 Facebook use in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia – according to Facebook

This is an update to this post from January and this post from March and this post from September.

It is hard to know how many people in a country are using Facebook, but through Facebook’s Ad selling program, you can get some rounded information. The numbers they give are not exact, so these percentages displayed below are not accurate for the true number of users. THESE RESULTS MAY NOT ADD UP TO REASONABLE 100%S. I calculated everything from the actual population. So when it says 36% of Georgian women are X, I calculated from the population data from the World Bank. This isn’t SOLID information, but it does come FROM Facebook, so it is a little bit better than SocialBakers.

This is what it looks like to find out this information:


So, Armenia has 2,974,184 people, Azerbaijan 9,590,159 people, and Georgia 4,555,911 people total according to the World Bank and after I subtracted those age 0-14 (World Bank’s category, not mine) the populations are Armenia: 2,460,436; Azerbaijan: 7,419,487; Georgia: 3,855,233.

Facebook Ads says that this many people in each of those countries is a potential viewer of their ads (thus a Facebook user): Armenia: 580,000 (in January) 620,000 (in March) 680,000 (in September) 740,000 (in January 2015) ; Azerbaijan: 1,320,000 (in January) 1,380,000 (in March) 1,460,000 (in September) 1,460,000 (in January 2015); Georgia: 1,220,000 (in January) 1,280,000 (in March) 1,380,000 (in September) 1,500,000 (in January 2015).

Thus, here are the percentages of the age 14+ populations of each country who are on Facebook:




Armenia: 30%
Azerbaijan: 20%
Georgia: 40%

So that is interesting, but let us look at gender differences (I took the direct gender population data from the age distribution tables – this is not 50/50, but more accurate).

And let’s look at this over a year.


Lots of growth in Armenia and Georgia and some in Azerbaijan.





Armenians and Georgians are evenly distributed gender-wise on Facebook. And Azerbaijanis, well, this gender difference is shown in a lot of other research.




In terms of the balance of users, Armenians are fairly even, Georgians have a bit more women and you can see that about 2/3rds of Azerbaijanis on Facebook are men. Although this may seem shocking, this is much better than it has been in previous years.





Wow Georgia! Most Georgian young adults are on Facebook, no doubt about that. About 60% of Armenian young adults and for Azerbaijan 60% of male young adults and a little less than a third of female young adults.

For comparison, here’s Caucasus Barometer derived information from 2012 and 2013.

I added a new measurement this quarter – looking at language use. I assume that Facebook is deriving this information from the language that a user chooses as their main Facebook language – not what they’re typing in. Although, I’m not sure about this. Facebook gathers a lot of data about its users and it could autodetect the language that the person uses. Also, I have no idea if these contain multiple languages. There could easily be users that use two languages equally. And also certainly this doesn’t detect transliterated languages.

But, not all language choices are available in the Facebook ad system. I’m sure lots of people use Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian for their Facebook platform.


This makes sense to me, but what’s going on in Georgia? I assume that this empty space is Georgian.

I wish that I knew more about how they calculate this, but it is interesting nonetheless.

24 Nov

#Armenia versus #Հայաստան versus #Армения

Twitter is a great platform, but for better or worse, it added support for non-Latin alphabets quite late. Today media.am had a great article on the use of the hashtags #Armenia, #Հայաստան (Armenia in Armenian script), and #Армения (Armenia in Russian).

I thought that I’d add an additional layer by doing a NodeXL hashtag analysis.

Here’s #Armenia


This is 2000 twitter users (a limit of 18,000 tweets) that used #Armenia in the last week. Group 1 are those that tweeted #Armenia but didn’t reply to or retweet anyone. Not surprisingly this is the majority of the use of this hashtag. They were mostly tweeting news stories about Armenia or were spammers.

The other groups though are quite interesting. They’re very tight clusters.
Group 2 seems to mostly be discussing the recent helicopter issue and features the popular Twitter user GoldenTent as well as the British Embassy in Armenia and the OSCE. Group 3 is talking about Armenia and Turkey and Kurds and seems to be mostly people in Turkey. Group 4 are talking about the city of Armenia in Colombia! Groups 6 and 10 are certainly Azerbaijanis based on the links that they share.

Here is #Հայաստան.


This contains only 90 Twitter users with tweets from the last week. There are almost no clusters as you can see. It does appear that these users are mostly writing in Armenian though.

And this is #Армения.


There were 162 Twitter users over the last week. Most were not replying or retweeting each others (see group 1) and their favorite links are usually instagram photos. Group 2, however, is considered a “broadcast” network where a lot of people were retweeting or replying to one user, SovietExplorer, a Russian news site. But Group 2 users didn’t have anything else in common other than a lot of tweets from Azerbaijani news sites. Group 6 is similar in a lot of posts from pro-regime Azerbaijani news sites.

I’d suggest that #Армения is a place where Azerbaijanis (also with Russian skills, obviously) are “seeking” to talk about Armenia.