Coronavirus dominates global worries

COVID-19 overtakes all other issues in Ipsos’ What Worries the World survey with the highest level of concern recorded for any category since the series began.

The author(s)

  • Simon Atkinson Ipsos Knowledge Centre, UK
  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs, UK
  • Teodros Gebrekal Public Affairs, UK
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What worries the world?

Given the coronavirus pandemic, Ipsos has included coronavirus/COVID-19 in its regular What Worries the World monitor. April’s results, which give us the first reading, show that coronavirus/COVID-19 is by far the top worry around the world, and is in first place in 24 of the 28 countries surveyed.

When asked about the most important issues facing their country today, 61% of respondents across all countries cite COVID-19, with the highest scores seen in Malaysia (85%), Great Britain (77%) and Australia (74%).

These scores for COVID-19 are the highest seen on any issue since What Worries the World started running 10 years ago. The other issues making up the top 5 global concerns are Unemployment, Healthcare, Poverty/social inequality and Financial/political corruption.

Coronavirus – the issue of the day

Coronavirus is clearly overshadowing all else at this time, and we see that since the start of the year concern about Poverty/social inequality and Crime and violence has dropped while the proportions worried about Unemployment and Healthcare are on the increase – particularly in Spain.

The highest levels of concern about Unemployment are seen in Spain (60%) and South Africa (58%) closely followed by Italy (56%). This month, Australia enters the top 5 most concerned about this issue (+ 19 points since January to 48%), with other notable increases over the last three months recorded in Israel (+23 to 39%) and the US (+11 to 24%)

The greatest levels of worry about Healthcare are once again reported in Hungary (59%) alongside Poland (51%) and Brazil (46%). Spain is among the nations with a great increase in concern about this issue, up 18 percentage points to 44% since January 2020.

How do we feel about where we’re heading?

We find that a majority of people around the world (54%) feel that their country is heading in the wrong direction. However, this is actually a more positive picture than at the start of the year when this figure stood at 61%.

This may be unexpected considering that the coronavirus crisis has played out over these months, but it could reflect a sense of countries coming together and perhaps a guarded hope that the national lockdowns may be starting to contain the virus and enable affected nations to move closer to recovery.

See the global What Worries the World survey results for April 2020.

The author(s)

  • Simon Atkinson Ipsos Knowledge Centre, UK
  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs, UK
  • Teodros Gebrekal Public Affairs, UK