Britons more concerned for others than themselves amid COVID-19 outbreak

Brits amongst the most altruistic around the world; more concerned for the vulnerable than themselves.

The author(s)

  • Kelly Beaver Chief Executive, UK and Ireland
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A majority of people surveyed across the world are most concerned for people who are vulnerable or weak amid the coronavirus pandemic even as lockdowns and closures force millions to isolate themselves with Britons as the joint second highest world wide, confirming findings in our regular UK polling on people’s feelings and behaviours relating to COVID-19.

In 13 of the 15 countries, majorities cited concern for those who are weak and vulnerable at the top of a list of 10 options when asked what best describes how they are feeling today. People in Brazil (70%), Spain and the United Kingdom (66%), Mexico (61%) and Canada, France and Italy (60%) are mostly likely to express concern for others, while those in Japan (23%) and China (30%) are least concerned.

Are you concerned for those who are vulnerable or weak amid covid-19? | Ipsos

Are you anxious about your health amid covid-19 | Ipsos
There is a broad feeling of concern about our own individual health around the world now with 34% of our global study saying they are anxious about their own heath. The average across the 15 countries polled is 34% of people anxious about their own health. In China those only 28% of people were anxious about their own health.

Added to this, a majority (53%) of people surveyed said it’s likely the pandemic will bring them closer to their family and friends. Over half of Britons believe they will become closer to family and friends as a result of the pandemic. This sentiment is strongest in Asian countries of India (72%), Vietnam (70%), and China (67%). Those in Japan (19%), South Korea (32%) and Germany (41%) are least likely to agree with this.

Do you think you will become closer to family and friends as a result of covid-19 | Ipsos

Britons however are one amongst the least likely to say that with their new freed up time they’ll be learning a new skill, with only 34% saying they’ll learn a new skill compared to 55% of Italians and 75% of the Vietnamese population.

Do you think you will learn a new skill as a result of covid-19 | Ipsos

Kelly Beaver, MD Public Affairs at Ipsos said:

Britons have consistently shown themselves to be more concerned about the plight of others, particularly the vulnerable than themselves. It’s hugely positive that people around the world think that our lockdown will also bring some good things like being closer to friends and family.


Technical note

These are the results of an Ipsos survey conducted March 26th to 30th, 2020 on the Global Advisor online platform among 28,000 adults aged 18-74 in Canada and the United States and 16-74 in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Vietnam and the United Kingdom. Where available, tracking results from Wave 3, conducted February 28-29, February 14-15, and February 7-9 are presented. Sample sizes in previous waves were 1,000 per country.

The author(s)

  • Kelly Beaver Chief Executive, UK and Ireland