What Worries the World - July 2019

‘What Worries the World’? 58% believe their nation is on the wrong track – whilst concerns about unemployment continue to be a prominent worry.

The Ipsos What Worries the World study finds the majority of people across the participating 28 nations feel their country is on the wrong track (58% on average), with Great Britain (78%), France (77%), South Africa/Belgium (74%) and Spain (73%) showing the highest levels of worry.

“What Worries the World” is a monthly online survey of adults aged under 65 in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.

The study finds that most people across the 28 countries surveyed say that their country is on the wrong track (58% on average - in line with previous months). But there are wide-ranging disparities in scores across the globe.

Right Direction

Once again, China (94%) is the nation which inspires the most confidence about the direction it is taking among citizens. Saudi Arabia (78%) also remains in second place with India (73%) in third-place ahead of Malaysia (60%).

  • Turkey has the greatest increase in positivity this month, where optimism in the country’s direction rose 8-percentage-points to 33%, the highest score in the country since September 2018 when the figure was 34%. There is also a notable 7-percentage-point increase for Argentina (36%).
  • There are also increases in citizens considering their country as headed in the right direction in Hungary (31%) and Brazil (45%) — reporting a 6-point and 5-point increase respectively.

Wrong Track

  • British, French, South African, Belgian and Spanish nationals have recorded the highest levels of apprehension about the direction taken by their nation. Only 22% of British citizens consider their nation to be heading in the right direction, followed by 23% in France, 26% in South Africa and Belgium and 27% in Spain.
  • Belgium is also the nation with greatest drop-off in positive sentiment — with a reduction of 6 points from the previous month.
  • There is also a 5-point fall in optimism in Israel (42%) and Spain (27%).

The four major worries globally are:

  1. Unemployment (32%). South Korea (64%) is the nation which is most concerned about this issue, followed by South Africa 62% and Italy on 59%. Observing trends, China (27%) has the greatest month on month decline in this fear, with a strong 17-percentage points drop from June. Germany (8%) is the least worried nation along with Poland (9%) on this issue.
  2. Poverty/Social Inequality (32%). The peak levels of anxiety are held in Russia (60%), Serbia (52%) and Hungary (49%). Saudi Arabian (17%) citizens are the least apprehensive in this matter, closely followed by both Sweden and Poland (18%). Serbia (+5), Hungary (+5) and Israel (+5) have the greatest rises in concern this month.
  3. Crime & Violence (31%), the greatest levels of worry for this concern are seen in Mexico (66%) – placed ahead of South Africa (62%) with Peru (60%) following in third. Sweden (50%) has the highest increase in apprehension from the previous month with a rise of 9 percentage points. There are other noteworthy rises (+8 points) in India (37%) and China (22%). Negative concerns around this matter are lowest in Russia (7%), Hungary (11%) and Saudi Arabia (13%). There is a 5-point month on month drop in this concern within South Korea (23%) and Turkey (20%).
  4. Financial/ Political Corruption (30%). The greatest levels of worry are seen in South Africa (60%), Russia (57%) and Peru (56%). Turkey (18%) is the nation which reports the greatest month on month drop in this worry. Swedes (8%) and Germans (10%) are the least anxious, followed by citizens in Japan and Great Britain (13%).
  5. Healthcare (26%).