New study says young Hungarians differ greatly from most Europeans

Hungarians, it seems, are different. Certainly young Hungarians differ from their western European counterparts when it comes to lifestyle, family and consumer behaviour. That's the point made by a new international survey, which looked at lifestyles of young people in thirteen European and five Latin American countries.

Photo: archive of Radio Prague
The survey wanted to know what young adults thought about life with and without children, about their hopes and fears and how they react to advertising and brands. Radio Budapest spoke to Hungarian researcher Szilvia Detki of the research organisation Millward Brown, which conducted the study:

"We found out that there is a big change in the life couples lead when they have children because it is such a big responsibility. It's a kind of turning point for them. They become more conscious, start to plan, become more realistic, and slightly pessimistic - especially in the Central European countries. They change their lifestyles, have a much more conscious attitude toward consumption and a less emotional relationship with brands.

"What we also found, and this was very interesting, is that Hungarians are quite different. This is because they grew up in socialism and they are treated by their parents to behave in a very adaptive and passive way, while they have to perform and live in a much more demanding and performance-oriented world, where uniqueness and individualism is in focus. So, for them it's quite a forced behaviour. We are less optimistic and less spontaneous compared to the western countries. What's also very interesting is that in Hungary the so-called 'DINKIS', who are couples with double-incomes and no kids, act like families do in the western countries."

Do we differ from others in the Central European region or do we behave similarly?

"No, we are slightly different because we have a much more traditional society in terms of gender roles. We are more similar to Turkey or Greece in terms of the family model, while the Polish and Czechs act quite similarly to the western countries. So, there the female/male roles are more equal while here in Hungary we live in a more subordinated gender relationship. So, there is a big crisis in women's minds. Even moving in together is such a big step that women start to behave as housewives and cut down their own needs to live for their man.

"Having a child is an even bigger responsibility and we have a spinster effect that women in their thirties when they do not have a child, they are devaluated by the external world. So, a woman in Hungary has to have a child to be a 'real woman'."

Did you find anything that you were especially surprised by?

"Keeping pets. It's a unique phenomenon in Hungary. We keep pets instead of having a child just to have someone around."

But that contradicts what you just said...

"Hungarians are tricky because there is a surface, what you see, and then there is the truth that's behind it. We have a very traditional point of view and living in a house with a garden and having pets around is such an ancient thing to have that we try to get pets or the feeling of this traditional lifestyle in our city centre flats too."