Majority Favors Social Progress over Economic Growth in the Wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic

A new Ipsos survey in partnership with the Social Progress Imperative indicates that a majority across countries hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic want social progress – rather than economic growth – to be at the fore as the crisis continues and once it ends.

The author(s)
  • Kaitlin Love Director, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, September 10, 2020 — A new Ipsos survey in partnership with the Social Progress Imperative indicates that a majority across countries hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic want social progress – rather than economic growth – to be at the fore as the crisis continues and once it ends.

Conducted among a random sample of over 10,000 adults from 13 countries, the survey finds that seven in ten are prioritizing the health and well-being of the population over GDP, and more than half want improved social outcomes to remain a priority even after the pandemic is over.

Though young people are least likely to suffer severe cases of the virus and most likely to experience negative consequences as a result of the pandemic’s economic impact, the survey found that the youngest respondents were the most likely to report prioritizing social progress. Two in three respondents under 24 (66%) wanted their country to focus on improving social outcomes, compared with just two in five (40%) of those over 50, who are most at risk.



Among the countries in which the virus is most pervasive – the U.S., Brazil, Chile, and Peru – nearly three in four (72%) reported wanting to prioritize health and well-being in the near-term, and a majority (52%) reported wanting to continue prioritizing social outcomes in the longer term, even after the pandemic ends.

About the Study 

Ipsos interviewed a total of 10,013 adults aged 16-74 in Australia, Brazil, Chile, India, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom, and aged 18-74 in Canada, South Africa and the United States, between July 24th and August 7th, 2020.

The sample consists of approximately 1,000 individuals in each of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Spain, the UK, and the US, and approximately 500 individuals in each of India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Chile, and Peru.

The samples in Australia, Canada, the UK, Italy, Spain, and the U.S. can be taken as representative of these countries’ general adult population under the age of 75. The samples in Brazil, Chile, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, and South Africa are more urban, more educated, and/or more affluent than the general population. The survey results for these countries should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of these population. 

The data is weighted so that each country’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data. 

Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses. 

The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 4.8 percentage points. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.

The publication of these findings abides by local rules and regulations.

This study was funded by the Skoll Foundation. 

For more information on this news release, please contact:  

Kaitlin Love 
Vice President, U.S., Public Affairs 
[email protected]

John Gill
Thorburns PR, representing Social Progress Imperative
+44 7860410272
[email protected]

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations Specialist, U.S., Public Affairs 
+1 718 755 8829
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

About the Social Progress Imperative 

The Social Progress Imperative is a US-based nonprofit exclusively focused on redefining how the world measures success, putting things that matter to people’s lives at the top of the agenda. Established in 2012, they strive to improve the lives of people around the world by fostering research and knowledge sharing on social progress and using data to catalyze action.

It develops the Social Progress Index to measure on how well countries and communities convert their resources into social and environmental outcomes that impact the lives of people every day—like health, safety, education, rights and opportunity. Empowering decision makers and everyday citizens with this hard data and vital new insight allows them to understand precisely how people are really living and who is being left behind.

The just released 2020 Social Progress Index measures and ranks the social and environmental performance of more than 160 countries using more than 80,000 pieces of data. Explore the data at

The author(s)
  • Kaitlin Love Director, US, Public Affairs