First results of Georgia MICS Plus survey give insights into how COVID-19 is affecting children and families

What measures are households in Georgia taking to protect themselves from COVID-19? According to the findings of the just released Georgia MICS Plus survey, the most frequent protection measures are mask wearing (93 percent of respondents), frequent handwashing and using hand sanitizers (76 percent), avoiding crowded places (74 percent), social distancing (37 percent) and avoiding touching objects in public places (21 percent).

These and more insights stem from the first wave of the Real-Time Monitoring (RTM) - MICS Plus Survey on the impact of COVID-19 on the well-being of families and children, led by the National Statistics Office of Georgia and conducted with the technical support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Financial support was provided by UNICEF, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This first wave of data collection was conducted during November-December 2020 and focused on self-protection measures, the impact of the pandemic on household income, and distance learning for children.

The 2020-2021 Georgia RTM-MICS Plus is a nationally representative survey based on a sample of households from the 2018 Georgia MICS. 11 additional waves of calls are planned, in order to collect data and gather insights on the situation of children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These findings are intended to inform policy decisions by line ministries in Georgia and guide programmatic decisions of the larger development community.

The survey collects data from the same households over an extended period of time (also called a “longitudinal survey”). The target sample size is 2,118 households, with 996 households located in urban and 1,122 households in rural areas. The response rate in the first wave was 86.7 percent.

Impact of COVID-19 on income: MICS Plus data also shows that in one third of the households, at least one household member lost their job between March and December 2020. During that time period, the average household income of over half of all households declined, however, the majority of households in the country benefited from mitigation measures put in place by the government of Georgia: 81 percent of households benefited from subsidized electric bills and 73 percent from subsidized natural gas bills. 

Impact of COVID-19 on education: Almost all children age 6-17 years were able to take advantage of online lessons during the school closure period. 57 percent of children watched or listened to TV lessons. Around half of the respondents living in households with children indicated that they were very or somewhat satisfied with distance learning methods – however, one quarter of the respondents expressed dissatisfaction. 38 percent of children age 2-17 years who attended school before school closure in March 2020 continued to participate in distance learning after schools reopened. For two thirds of these children, respondents stated that they continued distance learning because it was still available; for more than a quarter, fear of COVID-19 was the major reason for not sending children back to the classrooms.

The next wave will focus on distance learning, child protection, and COVID-19 vaccine acceptance.

An interactive dashboard with additional data and insights can be found here

For questions please contact mics (@)