What Worries the World – August 2022

Inflation is the top concern for the fifth consecutive month while some countries see worry about covid-19 rise

Worry about inflation has risen for the 13th consecutive month and it is the number one global concern in What Worries the World for the fifth month in a row. On average, almost four in ten (39%) say inflation is a top issue facing their country, up one point from last month.

Our monthly What Worries the World survey explores what the public thinks are the most important social and political issues across 28 countries today, drawing on ten years of data to place the latest scores in context. This wave was conducted between July 22nd, 2022 – August 5th, 2022.

 

Key findings

  • Inflation remains the top global worry: 39% say it is one of the top issues facing their country today (+1pp vs. July 2022). 11 countries cite inflation as their top worry.
  • Worry about inflation is followed by poverty & social inequality (31%), unemployment (27%), crime & violence (26%), and financial or political corruption (25%), which make up the top five global worries.
  • Climate change has moved up to seventh with a global average of 17% having it as a worry.
  • For the second month in a row covid-19 has seen a slight increase (+2pp) in concern and is now up to ninth out of 18 worries.
  • Nine of the top 13 countries worried about the pandemic have seen a month-on-month rise in August, with the top three countries all seeing a double-digit increase.
  • Concern about military conflict between nations has fallen two spots this month and ranks 14th out of 17 worries, between threats to the environment and rise of extremism.
  • Two in three people (65%) believe their country is heading in the wrong direction, rising to 91% in Argentina.

 

Inflation

Worry about inflation has risen for the 13th consecutive month and has now been the number one global concern for the last five months. August’s figure is +1pp higher than July with almost one in four (39%) choosing it as one of the top issues affecting their country.

The growth in worry has been steady with this month’s figure +26pp higher than 12 months ago and +19pp higher than January. Despite already being at record levels of concern for inflation, 16 countries have seen a rise in worry about the issue this month. The biggest increases were in Saudi Arabia (+24pp), Mexico (+10pp), and Poland (+8).

Argentina remains the most concerned country about inflation and its figure rises to 71% this month after a +6pp increase. It is the number one concern in 11 countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, and the US.

 

Climate change

Climate change is up to seventh in our list of 18 concerns, with a global average of 17% citing it as a top issue affecting their country, an increase of +1pp compared to last month.

With Western Europe being hit with record heatwaves, we have seen double digit increases in worry in Spain (+12pp), Great Britain (+11pp), and France (+10pp). Germany has seen a +6pp increase month-on-month.

Australia remains the most concerned about climate change, with one in three (33%) having it as a major worry, up one point on last month. Australia has been the top of our ranking for concern about climate change for eight of the last nine months. In March, Germany saw an increase in worry, taking the top spot.


Coronavirus

Concern for Covid-19 has seen a slight rise (+2pp) for the second month in a row. While the global average has not undergone a big increase, there have been larger rises at a country level.

Of the top 13 countries worried about Covid-19, nine of them have seen a rise in concern this month. The biggest increases in August have been in the top three countries: Japan (+22pp), South Korea (+18pp), and Australia (+11pp).

One in two (50%) in Japan have the pandemic has a worry, the first time a country has had a level of concern over 50% since March. Covid-19 is the number one worry in Japan after two months of no country having coronavirus as a worry. To highlight the scale of the rise in concern this month, the top four countries this month would have topped July’s table for worry about the pandemic.

 

Military conflict between nations

Military conflict between nations has fallen two spots this month and now ranks 14th out of 17 concerns globally between threats to the environment and rise of extremism. Only 8% say military conflict between nations is a worry for their country, down -2pp in August.

Poland and Germany have consistently been the most concerned countries on this issue since it was added in April. Poland remains top with one in three (33%) having it as a major issue, up +2pp this month. In Germany, just over one in four (27%) have military conflict as a worry, down -2pp in August.

Japan (14%) and Italy (10%) have seen the biggest declines this month (both -6pp), with Italy falling from fourth spot in July to tenth this month.

 

Focus on the economy

Across 28 countries, a third of people say the current economic situation in their country is good (33%), while two-thirds say it’s bad (67%).

Saudi Arabia tops the table with 97% describing the country’s economic situation as good. This is Saudi Arabia’s joint-highest score (tied with June 2022).
In August, the largest month-on-month increases in the proportion of people saying the current economic situation is good are seen in France, Spain (both +8pp) and Great Britain (+6pp).

The largest decreases from last month are in Sweden (-10pp), South Africa and Poland (both -9pp).

Argentina remains at the bottom of the table with only 5% of people describing the country’s economic situation as good. This is down -2pp from last month and is its joint lowest ever score (tied with April 2019).