Life on the Margins: Survey Results of the Experiences of LGBTI People in Southeastern Europe 2017
Europe and Central Asia
Other Household Survey [hh/oth]
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
This survey was conducted to better understand the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in seven countries in Southeastern Europe: five in the Western Balkans - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, and Montenegro; as well as two European Union (EU) member states, Croatia and Slovenia. The research adopted and adapted a 2012 survey of LGBT people carried out by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in 27 EU countries plus Croatia (which joined the EU in 2013) (the “FRA survey”). The FRA survey set a benchmark for understanding the lives of LGBT people. In addition to the FRA survey, this current survey also gathered specific information on the lives of intersex people.
The collective experiences of LGBTI people in the countries surveyed paint a distressing picture of the harmful effects of discrimination, harassment, exclusion, and violence. The findings confirm that generally, most LGBTI people hide their identities for fear of discrimination or worse and have legitimate concerns about their safety, especially in public spaces, but also in their own homes. The survey indicates that the majority of LGBTI people are not involved in LGBTI movements and have limited knowledge of their rights and how to exercise them. Many are on the receiving end of offensive jokes, insults, abusive language, and expressions of hatred. Discrimination in the workplace and in the healthcare and education systems remains common, and incidents of exclusion and harassment are widespread.
This is the largest survey of LGBTI people ever carried out in Southeastern Europe. A total of 2,296 people responded. In a context of widespread stigma, the survey was conducted online to allow the widest number of people to participate privately and confidentially. Since respondents had to “opt in” to the survey, the data is from self-selected participants and is therefore not a random sample of LGBTI people in the participating countries. It is difficult to obtain a representative sample of LGBTI people, so online surveys are considered the most appropriate method for surveying sexual and gender minorities. The survey sampling method and recruitment is consistent with previous studies of these populations, including the FRA survey. The sample was weighted to population targets derived from a meta-analysis, and each country sample was weighted proportionately to the size of its adults’ population.
Southestern Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, and Montenegro; as well as two European Union (EU) member states, Croatia and Slovenia.
Producers and sponsors
IPSOS Strategic Marketing
ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for the Western Balkans and Turkey
Civil Society partner
Nordic Trust Fund
The survey was conducted with a self-selected, nonprobability sample. LGBTI people are a hard-to-reach population with at least two characteristics that make standard random sampling procedures inappropriate: the absence of a sampling frame (i.e., the characteristics of the total population are unknown) and the strong need for privacy protection. As a result, it cannot be said that respondents to the survey represent the LGBTI population as a whole. To address this concern, at least in part, the sample was weighted based on a study of the literature. The structure of LGBTI respondents by country is provided in the survey report.
Representative surveys of LGBTI populations are difficult to conduct due to the small percentage of adults who identify as LGBTI. Weighting can adjust sample characteristics to population targets to correct over- and/or under-sampled groups. The challenge for populations not measured in administrative surveys (e.g., a census) or large-N studies is that these targets are unknown.
Additional details on weighting are provided in Annex 1 of the survey report.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Computer Assisted Personal Interview [capi]
At the World Bank, the team was led by Georgia Harley and Nicholas Menzies (Task Team Leaders), with the unwavering support of Dominik Kohler (Project Coordinator).
Data Collection Notes
Data collection method. Data collection was made possible by programming the questionnaire in all local languages using IPSOS’s own data entry program. All the logical checks in the questionnaire were implemented. The data collection program guaranteed full protection of respondents’ privacy and confidentiality, facilitating their participation in the survey.
The CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing) method of data collection was used. CAWI makes it possible to conduct interviews through a website or via e-mail to collect information on the characteristics and attitudes of respondents. The questionnaire appears in the browser as a webpage. Responses are sent directly to a server, so the results of the research and data collection can be continuously monitored.
The survey was available in all the main web browsers, including Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera, and was adjusted for use on different types of devices—desktop computers, personal computers/laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
IPSOS Strategic Marketing
In order to minimize disclosure risk and sensitive questions, the public-use data file for the FRA has been altered from the original dataset. The following steps were taken to minimize disclosure risk and restrict access to sensitive questions:
1 - Discretize age: variable A1.
2 - Removed: A3_B (intersex)
3 - Removed: A3_A (gender identity for transgender people)
4 - Removed any variables that contain write-in responses
5 - Removed: TR1 - TR9 (Transgender section)
6 - Removed: IN1 - IN9L (Intersex section)
7 - Removed C6_A
8 - Removed Section F: Physical/Sexual Violence and Harassment
9 - Removed: G3 (transgender openness)
10 - Removed: G3_1 (intersex openness)
11 - H7: Recode to Urban / Suburban / Rural (1/3/5 = Urban; 2/4 =Suburban; 6/7 = Rural)
14 - Removed: H8
15 - Removed: H9_1 - H9_3
16 - H16 - Recoded such that "other minority" or a "minority with a disability" are collapsed to the same category.
17 - HA1 - Recoded and collapsed the "Yes" responses
18 - HA4 - Recoded and collapsed the "Yes" responses
19 - HA5 - Recoded and collapsed the "Yes" responses
20 - HA6 - Recoded and collapsed the "Yes" responses
21 - Removed: I1
22 - Removed: J1 and J2
All individuals seeking to have access to the FRA should take the steps necessary to gain access to the restricted data file.
World Bank Microdata Library
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2. Not to use any technique in an attempt to learn the identity of any person, establishment, or sampling unit not identified on public use data files.
3. To hold in strictest confidence the identification of any establishment or individual that may be inadvertently revealed in any documents or discussion, or analysis. Such inadvertent identification revealed in her/his analysis will be immediately brought to the attention of the data depositor.
- Public use files, accessible to all
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Use of the dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
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World Bank. Life on the Margins: Survey Results of the Experiences of LGBTI People in Southeastern Europe. Ref. ECA_2017_ELPSE_v01_M.Downloaded from [url] on [date].
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.