The cost of living remains the biggest concern globally, however, for the first time since July 2020, worry has dropped compared to the previous month, down two percentage points (40%) from November.
Last month global concern about rising prices didn’t increase on October’s figure, after worry about inflation rose for 15 consecutive months. This raises the question of whether we’ve reached peak inflation worry globally.
Our monthly What Worries the World survey explores what the public thinks are the most important social and political issues, drawing on more than ten years of data to place the latest scores in context. This wave was conducted between November 25th, 2022 – December 9th, 2022.
- Last month saw no movement in concern for inflation and this month saw a decline, indicating that November wasn’t an isolated occurrence. A decrease in this issue hasn’t been witnessed since July 2020.
- Still, inflation is the top global worry for the ninth month in a row: 40% say it is one of the top issues facing their country today (-2pp from November 2022).
- 11 countries - Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, GB, Poland, Saudi Arabia, the US, and Turkey - cite inflation as their top worry. This is down from 13 in November.
- Across all countries, worry about inflation is followed by poverty & social inequality (31%), crime & violence (28%), unemployment (26%), and financial & political corruption (24%) which together make up the top five global worries.
- Climate change remains joint seventh with worry about taxes in our list of 18 worries with a global average of 16% choosing it as a concern (-1pp).
- Coronavirus concern is still at one of the lowest levels since it was added in April 2020. In December, just over one in ten (11%) globally chose coronavirus as a worry, up one percentage point from November. This time last year it was the top global concern with 32%.
- Just over six in ten (62%) believe their country is heading in the wrong direction, rising to 89% in Peru and 85% in Argentina.
2022 highs & lows
- Right/wrong direction
- High score: Saudi Arabia at 96% (June)
- Low score: Peru at 7% (April)
- High score: Argentina at 71% (August)
- Low score: Sweden at 4% (January)
- Climate change
- High score: France at 34% (September)
- Low score: Israel at 1% (December)
- High score: South Korea at 58% (January)
- Low score: Argentina at 1% (September/November)
- Poverty & social inequality
- High score: 48% in Brazil (August)
- Low score: Saudi Arabia at 12% (November)
- Crime & violence
- High score: Chile at 68% (November)
- Low score: Poland at 3% (January, November, and December)
- Financial & political corruption
- High score: South Africa and Peru/Malaysia at 58% (March and September)
- Low score: Sweden at 5% (April)
Inflation is the number one concern globally with four in ten (40%) choosing it as one of the biggest worries affecting their country. For the first time since 2020 however, concern has fallen (-2pp). In November there was no change in concern and now, it has declined – which raises the question of whether we have reached peak worry about inflation.
However, inflation is a significantly greater issue than it was at the beginning of 2022. This month's score is 20pp greater than January 2022 and 21pp higher than December 2021. This month's score is also 31pp greater than December 2020. Eight countries have more than or equal to one in two people choosing inflation, with two-thirds in Argentina citing it as a worry.
In December, 11 countries have inflation as their number one worry - Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, GB, Poland, Saudi Arabia, the US, and Turkey. The Netherlands (now poverty and social inequality) and South Korea (now unemployment) no longer have rising prices as their top concern. While in Hungary inflation is the joint highest worry along with healthcare.
One in six (16%) say climate change is one of the biggest issues affecting their country, with no change from November and is only up 1pp from December 2021 to January 2022.
Australia is joint first at 29% with Germany again this month. Both countries declined 2pp from November. France has moved down 5pp and GB has escalated by 4pp.
In Australia, climate change is ranked second biggest concern and in Germany, it is ranked third, behind inflation and inequality.
Israel (1%) is now ranked last after subsiding 5pp. In January, Israel was at 9%; Argentina and Peru were at 2%.
Coronavirus has increased by 1pp this month. It is still at one of the lowest levels of reported concern since it was added to the What Worries the World in April 2020. In December 2021, nearly a third (32%) globally ranked it as a top concern, topping our list. In January 2022, it ranked first again at 35%.
In December 2022 Japan (31%) remains the most concerned nation, up 3pp. It has overtaken worry for inflation and now sits second behind poverty and social inequality. Thailand (27%) has also seen a notable increase of 13pp.
Last month, Germany was third at 21% but now is 12th after reducing by 11pp. Latin American countries are experiencing heightened worry. Brazil (18%) has moved +13pp and Peru (17%) moved +14pp.
Poverty & social inequality
Almost one in three (31%) globally are worried about poverty & social inequality. It remains second on our list of 18 worries. It’s fluctuated slightly since January but remains second.
Indonesia has seen a decrease this month (-1pp) and still has the highest score. Hungary (42%) has knocked Brazil (41%) from second place by rising 5pp from November. Thailand has also risen by 1pp.
Brazil, Japan, Thailand, and now the Netherlands are the countries where inequality is their top concern.
Saudi Arabia has the lowest level of worry about inequality (13%) after a 1pp increase from November, followed by the US, where 17% say it is a concern. Poland (27%, +7pp) and Sweden (25%, +5pp) have moved up this month.
Focus on the economy
Globally, the proportion of people describing the current economic situation of their country as “good” has risen 2pp from last month to 34%.
On the individual country level, positivity has increased most in Malaysia (+9), Netherlands (+7), Great Britain, and India (both +6).
Only four countries have recorded a decrease in their “good” economic score: Thailand (-10), Sweden (-4), South Korea (-3), and Poland (-1).
December is a month of highs and lows as Saudi Arabia and India record a “good” score of 1pp and 5pp away respectively from their all-time highest scores. Meanwhile, Sweden records a new all-time low and South Korea’s score drops to 2pp away from its lowest-ever score.
About this study
Ipsos’ What Worries the World survey tracks public opinion on the most important social and political issues across 29 countries today, drawing on over 10 years of data to place the latest scores in context.
19,504 online interviews were conducted between November 25th 2022- December 9th 2022 among adults aged 18-74 in Canada, Israel, Malaysia, South Africa, Turkey and the United States, 20-74 in Indonesia and Thailand, and 16-74 in all 21 other countries.