What Worries the World - April 2022

Inflation is now the top global worry for the first time, with 26 out of 27 countries recording an increase in concern over the last month according to the latest Ipsos global What Worries The World? survey.

The author(s)

  • Teodros Gebrekal Public Affairs
Get in touch

After making the top five for the first-time last month, worry about inflation has continued to grow and it is now the number one concern globally.

One in three now say inflation is one of the top issues affecting their country.

Our monthly What Worries the World survey explores what the public thinks are most important social and political issues across 27 countries today, drawing on 10 years of data to place the latest scores in context. This wave was conducted between March 25th, 2022 – April 3rd, 2022.

Key findings

  • Inflation is now the number one concern globally: 32% say it is one of the biggest worries facing their country today (+6 points vs. March 2022)
  • Completing the top five are Poverty/social inequality (31%), Unemployment (29%), Crime and violence (25%), and Financial/political corruption (24%)
  • Concern over the pandemic continues to decline, as Coronavirus drops down to eighth position. This is the second month of a row that it places outside the top five concerns
  • Japan is now the only country where Covid is the top concern, compared to 12 in January
  • Military conflict between nations has been added to the index as result of the events in Ukraine with 14% choosing it as a worry for their country. The issue ranks 11th out of 18, between Climate change and Immigration control
  • Concern about military conflict is highest in Europe, with Poland (38%), Germany (35%), Sweden (30%), Great Britain (28%), and Italy (26%) the countries where worry is greatest
  • Six in ten people believe their country is heading in the wrong direction with a particularly pessimistic 93% in Peru topping the index, followed by Argentina and Colombia with 85% and 84% respectively

Inflation

Inflation has shot up the rankings to be the number one global concern in April, increasing 6 points on the previous month’s figure. In March, Inflation made the top five concerns for the first time since it was added in 2013, now one in three (32%) say it is one of the biggest issues facing their country.

To highlight the scale of the increase in worry about rising prices, in January one in five (20%) choose inflation. Looking back over a full year, we find April’s figure to be 22 points higher than that of 12 months ago (10%).

The rise in concern has been near universal, with all countries, except Colombia, seeing an increase on last month. The countries where concern has grown the most include Spain (+21 points), Chile and Peru (both +14 points), Hungary (+13), and Netherlands (+10).

Inflation was already the number one concern in Argentina, Canada, Great Britain, Poland, Turkey, and the US, with Germany now joining that list.

Coronavirus

While concern about inflation has soared, worry about the pandemic has declined. Falling from first in February to eighth place in our global issues ranking, Covid-19 records its lowest score for the second month in a row since we began tracking it two years ago.

Globally, the proportion concerned about Coronavirus drops 15 points from 33% last month to 18% now. We also see a decline in every country surveyed – except for Canada where it is up 3 points to 27% and Sweden (+1 to 9%).

The highest levels of concern about Covid-19 are in Japan (47%), South Korea (45%), and Malaysia (41%). The largest decreases in Covid concern are seen in Saudi Arabia (-18), Malaysia (-16), and Brazil (-13).

Japan is now the only country where Covid is the top concern, compared to 12 in January.

Issue focus: Military conflict between nations

As a result of the events in Ukraine, we have added Military conflict between nations to What Worries the World this month. The issue ranks 11 out of 18, behind Climate change and Immigration Control.

Concern is most prominent across European countries, which make up the eight most worried countries. Poland has the highest level of concern, with four in ten (38%) saying it is one of the biggest issues affecting their country.

Other countries showing high levels of concern include Germany (35%), Sweden (30%), Great Britain (28%), and Italy (26%). Latin America is where worry is lowest, with six of the bottom nine coming from the region.

No countries have military conflict as their top concern, but in Germany it is currently only 2 points behind inflation when it comes to biggest worries.

Heading in the right direction?

Across the 27 nations surveyed, almost two-thirds (63%) say that things in their country are on the wrong track while 37% think they are heading in the right direction.

Peru has the largest proportion saying their country is heading in the wrong direction (93%), followed by Argentina and Colombia, with 85% and 84% respectively. More than three-quarters share this view in Turkey (78%) and Poland (75%). We record a nine-point increase on the “wrong track” score in Peru and an eight-point rise in Spain since last month. 

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and India remain the most positive about their country (92% and 77%), while Malaysia has seen a 15-point increase in its “right track” score since last month.

Focus on the economy

Across all countries, one in three (35%) say that the current economic situation in their country is good, while a majority (65%) say that it is bad.

Spain (-16 points to 18%) and Great Britain (-11 to 30%) are the two countries which have seen the biggest declines in economic assessments in the last month.

Saudi Arabia remains at the top of the rankings, with 92% describing the country’s economic situation as good. The country’s score has not dropped below 80% since March 2018. India follows with three-quarters (74%) positive about the economy.

Sweden’s score has recovered from last month’s drop, increasing 16 points to 61%. There is also an 11-point rise in Malaysia (49%), Israel (47%) and Chile (25%).

After big increases last month in Japan and South Korea, scores in both countries have returned to their previous levels, down 12 points in Japan (to 14%) and 11 points in South Korea (to 26%).


About this study

Ipsos’ What Worries the World survey is conducted in 28 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries included are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States.  

19,00 online interviews were conducted between March 25th 2022 - April 3th 2022 among adults aged 18-74 in the US, South Africa, Turkey, Israel and Canada and age 16-74 in all other countries. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

The author(s)

  • Teodros Gebrekal Public Affairs

More insights about Public Sector

Society