Expectations about when life will return to pre-COVID normal vary widely across the world

Almost half of adults say their mental health has worsened during the pandemic, but nearly one quarter say it improved since the beginning of 2021

Washington, DC, April 12th, 2021 —A new Ipsos survey for the World Economic Forum finds that, on average across 30 countries and markets surveyed, 59% expect being able to return to something like their normal pre-COVID life within the next 12 months, including 6% who think this is already the case, 9% who think it will take no more than three months, 13% four to six months, and 32% seven to 12 months (the median time). About one in five think it will take more than three years (10%) or that it will never happen (8%).
Views on when to expect a return to normal vary widely across countries: Over 70% of adults in Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, and mainland China are confident their life will return to pre-COVID normal within a year. In contrast, 80% in Japan and more than half in France, Italy, South Korea, and Spain expect it will take longer.

 

At a global level, expectations about how long it will take before one’s life can return to its pre-COVID normal and how long it will take for the pandemic to be contained are nearly identical. These findings suggest that people across the world consider that being able to return to “normal” life is entirely dependent on containing the pandemic.
An average of 45% of adults globally say their mental and emotional health has gotten worse since the beginning of the pandemic about a year ago. However, almost as many say it has improved since the beginning of the year (23%) as say it has worsened (27%).


The survey was conducted among more than 21,000 adults under the age of 75 between February 19, 2021 and March 5, 2021 on Ipsos’ Global Advisor online platform.Read the World Economic Forum article.


How long before coronavirus pandemic is contained?

Similar to life returning to pre-COVID normal, 58% on average across all markets surveyed expect the pandemic to be contained within the next year, including 13% who think this is already the case or will happen within 3 months, 13% between four and six months and 32% between seven and 12 months (the median time in most markets).
Majorities in India, mainland China, and Saudi Arabia think the pandemic is already contained or will be within the next 6 months. In contrast, four in five in Japan and more than half in Australia, France, Poland, Spain, and Sweden expect it will take more than a year.

Change in emotional and mental health since beginning of the pandemic about a year ago

On average across the 30 countries and markets surveyed, 45% of adults say their emotional and mental health has gotten worse since the beginning of the pandemic about a year ago, three times the proportion of adults who say it has improved (16%)
In 11 countries, at least half report a decline in their emotional and mental health with Turkey (61%), Chile (56%), and Hungary (56%) showing the largest proportions.  
Only in mainland China, India, and Saudi Arabia do more adults report an improvement in their emotional and mental health than a decline.

Change in emotional and mental health since beginning of 2021

Adults who say their emotional and mental health has improved outnumber those who say it has worsened by at least 40 percentage points in China (51 points) and India (41 points).
Those who say their mental and emotional health has improved since the start of 2021 are most outnumbered by those who say it has worsened in Hungary (by 30 points), France (29 points), and Italy (26 points).

 

About the Study

This 30-market Global Advisor survey was conducted between Friday February 19 and Friday March 5, 2021 via the Ipsos Online Panel system among 21,011 adults aged 18-74 in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, and 16-74 in 24 other markets.

The sample consists of approximately 1,000 individuals in each of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland), France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the U.S., and 500 individuals in each of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey.

The samples in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.S. can be taken as representative of these countries’ general adult population under the age of 75.

The samples in Brazil, Chile, China (mainland), Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey are more urban, more educated, and/or more affluent than the general population. The survey results for these countries should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of their population.

The data is weighted so that each market’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 and markets where the survey was conducted. It has not been adjusted to the population size of each country or market 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 knows or not stated responses.
The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 4.8 percentage points. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.

The publication of these findings abides by local rules and regulations.

 

 

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