Creating the Pathways from Poverty to Prosperity

Eastern Europe: The second most improved region over the past decade

Eastern Europe is the second most improved region over the past decade, yet has improved less than the global average.

The change seen in the region’s prosperity is due to the following improvements and deteriorations.

  • Every country improved their market access and infrastructure, and all but four countries improved their enterprise conditions. The reduction in the burden of regulation is driving the improvement in enterprise conditions, with Ukraine (71st) experiencing the greatest reduction in the burden of regulation of any country across the world.
  • Over the past decade, living conditions improved in every country in the region. The greatest improvement occurred in Moldova (74th), which now has greater levels of connectedness than in 2009. The percentage of people with cell phones and bank accounts in the country has more than doubled to 89% and 44% respectively over the decade.
  • Historically weak social capital strengthened across the region, with 17 of 23 countries improving, and Bosnia and Herzegovina (89th) improving the most. These changes were driven by improving social networks, which strengthened in every country except Latvia (130th).
  • Personal freedom in Eastern Europe deteriorated more than in any other region, with only eight out of 23 countries showing an improvement since 2009. Hungary (89th) has experienced the greatest deterioration of any country, with significant reductions in the freedoms of assembly, association, and speech — characteristic of region-wide trends.
  • While Eastern Europe has deteriorated overall in safety and security over the last decade, 18 of 23 countries in the region have seen an improvement; deteriorating safety and security in the region has been driven primarily by the war in Donbass, Ukraine (145th), ongoing since 2014. Over 6,600 people have been killed, and 800,000 Ukrainian’s have been internally displaced, since the conflict began.