Global Perceptions of Development Progress: ‘Perils of Perceptions’ Research

These are the findings from a 28-country study conducted by Ipsos with the Gates Foundation. This study investigated knowledge of major development progress, expectations of the future and the main issues worrying the world at this moment.

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC — These are the findings from a 28-country study conducted by Ipsos with the Gates Foundation. This study investigated knowledge of major development progress, expectations of the future and the main issues worrying the world at this moment.

The Paradox of Progress: Low Awareness of Development Success and Weak Support of Aid Funding

Ipsos partnered with the Gates Foundation to examine public awareness of and perceptions towards the global progress made battling poverty, immunizations, infant mortality, and other public health issues. We find that most people in donor nations have very low levels of knowledge about international development progress and most people believe conditions around the world have gotten worse when, in fact, they have markedly improved. These findings suggest that much of the lukewarm support for aid spending in donor nations is strongly correlated with a sense that aid is not working.

Among the findings from our 28-country study are:

  • Most citizens in donor countries believe that living conditions in the developing world are worsening when most data – including the Gates Goalkeepers Report –  shows marked progress towards meeting development goals;
  • Furthermore, few people in donor countries expect the quality of economic opportunities, health, or education in the world’s poorest countries to improve over the next 15 years;
  • Most people in donor countries (significantly) overestimate the amount of money their governments spend on development aid;
  • However, among respondents who are best informed about development progress, optimism increases.

Taking low understanding of the facts of development with poor expectations for future progress and combining it with an overinflated since of how much is being spent on aid, it comes as little surprise that most donor countries struggle to generate support for aid spending. Moving forward, advocates for aid – including the Sustainable Development Goals – should consider balancing the urgency and importance of the mission with a sense of hopefulness about the progress already made.

Further analysis by Meghann Jones and Kaitlin Love from the Ipsos Sustainable Development Research Center is available here

About the Study

These are the findings of the Ipsos survey 26,489 interviews were conducted between July 21st  – August 25th, 2017

The survey is conducted in a total of 28 countries around the world. Twenty-five countries were conducted via the Ipsos Online Panel system in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States. The following countries used face-to-face methodologies: Nigeria, Kenya and Senegal.

The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.1 percentage points, of 500 accurate to +/- 4.5 percentage points, and of 2,000 accurate to +/- 2.5 percentage points. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website. The precision of Ipsos polls using face-to-face methodologies is calculated using a margin of error, with a poll of 500 accurate to +/- 4.4 percentage points.

Approximately 1,000 individuals aged 16-64 or 18-64 were surveyed in Argentina, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Spain, Peru and the United States. Approximately 2,000 individuals individuals aged 16-64 or 18-64 were surveyed in Brazil, China, and Italy. 500 individuals aged 16-64 or 18-64 were surveyed in the remaining countries.

In countries where internet penetration is approximately 60% or higher the data output is comparable the general population. Of the 25 countries surveyed online, 16 yield results that are balanced to reflect the general population: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy,  Japan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States. The eight remaining countries surveyed –Brazil (53% Internet penetration among the citizenry), China (46%), India (19%), Mexico (41%), Russia (59%), South Africa (47%) and Turkey (47%)—have lower levels of connectivity therefore are not reflective of the general population; however, the online sample in these countries are particularly valuable in their own right as they are more urban/educated/income than their fellow citizens and are often referred to as “Upper Deck Consumer Citizens”.

Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to computer rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses.

Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
[email protected]

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In Canada, the U.S., UK, and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry.

With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media, customer loyalty, marketing, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,785.3 million ($1,981 million) in 2015.

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs

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