“What Worries the World” is a monthly online survey of adults aged under 65 in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.
It finds that the majority of people across 26 countries think that their country is on the wrong track (60% on average) — a one percentage point drop from the previous month. But there are a very wide range of different ratings across the world:
- 92% in China think their country is going in the right direction, as do 74% in both India and Saudi Arabia.
- At the other end of the spectrum, only 10% in South Africa think their country is going in the right direction, as do 13% in Mexico, 13% in Brazil, 16% in South Korea, 18% in Italy and 18% in France.
The three major worries for global citizens all remain consistent with the previous month:
- unemployment is still the primary global worry, with the highest level of concern in Italy (67%). Germany is least worried, with only 10% picking unemployment as a worry
- financial/political corruption comes next, with South Africans most concern (65%), and Swedes least (7%)
- poverty/social inequality is the third most common worry, with particular concern in Hungary (57%) and the US with the least level of concern (17%)
What worries Britain
Healthcare remains the single biggest concern for Britain at 44%, a two percentage point increase from the previous month. Concern about healthcare in Britain has steadily been increasing and became the top issue of concern in February 2017, and we are now the 4th most worried country in the study about this issue.
Terrorism at 32% also remains the second biggest issue that Britons worry about, closely followed by immigration control at 31%. We are the second most worried country in the world about immigration control, just one percentage point behind Germany.
Poverty and social inequality has slipping out of the top three concerns for Britons to fourth place at 26%, a four percentage point decrease on last month.
Top five global issues:
- Unemployment (38%)
- Financial/Political Corruption (34%)
- Poverty/Social Inequality (33%)
- Crime & Violence (29%)
- Healthcare (23%)
Top five Great Britain issues:
- Healthcare (44%)
- Terrorism (32%)
- Immigration control (26%)
- Poverty and social inequality (26%)
- Rise of extremism (23%)
Commenting on the findings, Bobby Duffy, Managing Director, Ipsos Social Research Institute, said:
As we approach the UK’s General Election, concern about healthcare continues to rise steadily as the top worry for Britons – we’re now behind only Hungary, Poland and Brazil in seeing this a key national concern. But our immigration concerns also continue to stand out compared with other countries, as we’re second only to Germany in worrying about immigration control.
More generally, there is little optimism in the country about the direction we’re going in, with only 40% thinking we’re heading the right direction. This is a more negative context to when we last came into a General Election in 2015, when around half thought we were on the right track.
- The survey was conducted in 26 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries included are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America. 18,014 interviews were conducted between April 21st – May 15th 2017 among adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and adults aged 16-64 in all other countries. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.
- In 16 of the 26 countries surveyed internet penetration is sufficiently high to think of the samples as representative of the wider population within the age ranges covered: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Poland, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Great Britain and United States. Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey have lower levels of internet penetration and so these samples should instead be considered to represent a more affluent, connected population. These are still a vital social group to understand in these countries, representing an important and emerging middle class.