Highlighting that views around inequality are still rooted in wealth and income. Inequalities between more and less deprived areas come second, with 42% saying that geographical inequality is one of the most serious forms of inequality in their country. Three in ten think that gender and racial/ethnic inequalities are among the most serious, although cultural movements highlighting issues in both areas have achieved global prominence in recent years.
Inequality between younger and older generations is seen as a relatively less serious form of inequality across the 28 countries polled, with just 24% saying it was one of the most serious inequalities in their country.
Across the 28 countries, six in ten on average say inequalities in income and wealth are seen as the most serious. Area based inequalities between more and less deprived areas seen as the second most serious.
There are differences by gender, with 36% of women across the 28 countries polled believing that gender inequality was one of the three or four most serious types of inequality in their country, compared to just 26% of men.
Younger people aged under 35 are more likely to highlight inequalities between racial or ethnic groups and inequalities between men and women as a concern compared to those aged 35-49 and 50-74.
Concerns about income and wealth inequalities are higher among older people than those aged under 35. Younger people are much more likely to be concerned about racial and ethnic inequalities and gender inequality than older people.
Income and wealth inequality
- 60% of people across the 28 countries believe that inequality in income and wealth is one of the most serious forms of inequality in their country.
- Concerns about income and wealth inequality are highest in Russia where 4 in 5 (83%) select it, South Korea (80%) and Hungary (77%).
- On the other hand, income inequality is considered relatively less serious in Saudi Arabia, Poland and Sweden.
- There is little overall relationship between actual income inequality and how serious a problem it is seen to be relative to other inequalities. For example, Sweden ranks highly on objective measures of income equality1. In line with this, people there have comparatively very low levels of concern about this issue.
- Belgium and the Netherlands, on the other hand, rank even higher for income equality, yet those countries are more likely to be worried about disparities in income, underscoring that how serious people perceive this type of inequality to be seems unrelated to actual performance on this issue.
- Inequality between more and less deprived areas is considered the second most important form of inequality across the 28 countries, with 42% believing it to most serious forms of inequality in their country.
- Concern about geographical inequality is highest in Russia where two-thirds (64%) believe it to be one of the most serious types of inequality affecting their country.
- Concerns is lowest in Germany where only 1 in 5 (22%) believe it is one of the three or four most serious types of inequality in their country.
- Over two in five (45%) of those from high income households believe that geographical inequality is one of the most serious types of inequality in their country, compared to 37% of low income households.
- On average, three in ten (31%) highlight gender inequality in their country as concern.
- Concern is highest in in Mexico (45%), Turkey (42%) and Spain (42%) but lower than average in Malaysia (12%), Russia (15%) and Singapore (19%).
- Even though some countries – such as Spain, Sweden, France and Germany – rank highly on objective measures of gender equality2 they still have greater levels of concern about this issue than other nations that fare worse on this type of inequality – such as Russia, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.
- By contrast, Turkey is ranked 130th for equality between men and women – one of the worst countries in the world by this measure – yet people there are among the most concerned about this issue.
Inequality in educational outcomes for children and inequality in health and life expectancies
- On average, across the 28 countries, three in ten (32%) highlight concerns about educational as being among the most serious in their country.
- Concern is highest in Turkey (56%), Chile (49%) and Peru (48%) and lowest in Poland (15%), Italy (16%) and Saudi Arabia (18%).
- Three in ten (31%) also highlight inequality in health and life expectancies as being one of the most serious in their country. This is highest in Chile (64%), Peru (56%) and Brazil (50%) and lowest in South Korea (10%), Japan (14%) and Malaysia (19%).
Inequalities between racial or ethnic groups
- Around three in 10 (29%) believe inequalities between racial or ethnic groups is one of the most serious forms of inequality in their country
- This is much higher than average in South Africa (65%) and the United States. In contrast, concern on this measure is much lower in South Korea (8%), Argentina (9%) and Japan (10%).
- A third (34%) of under 35s on average across the 28 countries see inequality between racial or ethnic groups as one of the most serious types of inequality in their country, compared with 27% of those aged 50 to 74.
- Inequality between older generations and younger generations is seen as the relatively least important form of inequality across the 28 countries with just a quarter (24%) saying it was one of the most serious types of inequality in their country.
- Concern is higher than average in South Korea (43%), Japan (39%) and Singapore (38%). But this form of inequality is considered less serious than the 28 country average in South Africa and Turkey (both 13%) and Brazil and Germany (both 16%).
These are the results of a 28-market survey conducted by Ipsos on its Global Advisor online platform. Ipsos interviewed a total of 23,004 adults aged 18-74 in Singapore, 18-74 in the United States, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa and Turkey, 21-74 in Singapore and 16-74 in 22 other markets between 23 December 2020 and 8 January 2021.
The sample consists of approximately 1,000 individuals in each of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, mainland China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain and the U.S., and 500 individuals in each of Argentina, Chile, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, and Turkey.
The samples in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and the U.S. can be taken as representative of their general adult population under the age of 75.
The samples in Brazil, Chile, mainland China, India, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, and Turkey are more urban, more educated, and/or more affluent than the general population. The survey results for these markets should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of their population.
The data is weighted so that each country’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data.
“The Global Country Average” reflects the average result for all the countries where the survey was conducted. It has not been adjusted to the population size of each country and is not intended to suggest a total result.”
Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses, or the exclusion of “don’t know” or not stated responses.
The precision of Ipsos online polls is calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 5.0 percentage points. For more information on Ipsos’ use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website. The publication of these findings abides by local rules and regulations.