2017 Global Infrastructure Index: Public Satisfaction and Priorities

According to the Ipsos 2017 Global Infrastructure Index, nearly two thirds of Americans (62%) believe that as a country, we are not doing enough to meet our infrastructure needs.

The author(s)

  • Clifford Young President, US, Public Affairs
  • Jason Kemp Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
Get in touch

Washington, DC —  According to the Ipsos 2017 Global Infrastructure Index, nearly two thirds of Americans (62%) believe that the U.S. is not doing enough to meet its infrastructure needs. Frustration about the amount of attention given to infrastructure is higher in the U.S. than it is on average across the 28 countries surveyed by Ipsos (56%) and higher than in all economically advanced nations with the sole exception of Italy (63%). In contrast, only 23% in Japan, 40% in France, and 50% in Canada say their country is not doing enough. Yet, roughly three quarters of Americans think investing in infrastructure is vital to America’s future economic growth (73%). The release of this report coincides with the 9th North American Infrastructure Leadership Forum organized by CG/LA Infrastructure in partnership with Ipsos.

Since 2016, the world has become more satisfied with its infrastructure. Across the 28 countries surveyed, 37% of people are satisfied with their country’s infrastructure (up 4 percentage points from 2016), while 30% are dissatisfied. The U.S. is very close to the global average with 39% of Americans satisfied with the country’s infrastructure (up 3 points since last year) vs. 29% dissatisfied. However, many other developed countries show higher levels of satisfaction, in particular Germany (53%), New Zealand (49%), and Japan (47%).

Overall, 68% of global respondents rate the quality of airports around the world as good. Conversely, only 30% of global respondents believe the current quality of flood defenses is very or fairly good. Approval of nuclear infrastructure to generate energy is similarly low (32% very/fairly good).

Water supply and sewage (cited by 48%), flood defenses (45%), energy-generation (excluding nuclear) (43%), and both local and major road networks (42% each) top the list of American infrastructure priorities for investment in 2017. Americans are more likely to view each one of these area as priority – and less likely to prioritize new housing supply (21%) and rail infrastructure (27%) – than is the average global consumer. Flood defenses and high-speed broadband (26%) saw the highest year-to-year increase in prioritization in the U.S. (up 6 percentage points and 4 percentage points, respectively).

Americans’ level of satisfaction with various types of infrastructure and their views on which ones should be prioritized vary by gender, age, income and region.

In general, satisfaction with most types of infrastructure is higher among:

  • Men, compared to women (especially with the nuclear infrastructure and flood defenses);
  • Millennials, compared to older generations (except with for the housing supply);
  • Those near or above the national median household income level, compared to the less affluent (especially with the housing supply, the water supply and sewage, and airports);
  • Residents of the Northeast and the South, compared to those in the Midwest and West (especially with the nuclear infrastructure and road networks).

As far as investment priorities go:

  • Women are more likely than men to highlight the water supply and sewage, but less likely to focus on high-speed broadband;
  • Older Americans are more concerned than younger ones about the water supply and road networks, and less than them about high-speed broadband;
  • More affluent consumers are more prone to highlight energy generation and road networks while the poorest care more than others about the new housing supply;
  • The water supply and sewage are the top concern in the West and South, flood defenses in the Northeast, and road networks in the Midwest.

About the Study

These are the findings of the second Ipsos Infrastructure Index conducted via Global @dvisor. In total, 21,043 interviews were conducted between August 25 and September 8, 2017, among adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and adults aged 16-64 in all other countries. The survey was conducted in 28 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America (N.B. some questions were not fielded in China, and New Zealand)

The 2016 survey used the same methodology but was conducted in 26 countries between August 26 and September 9, 2016, (New Zealand and Serbia were added in 2017). This means that the global trend does not involve a like-for-like comparison.
For more information about conducting research intended for public release or Ipsos’ online polling methodology, please visit our Public Opinion Polling and Communication page where you can  download our brochure, see our public release protocol, or contact us.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Cliff Young
President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
[email protected] 

Jason Kemp
Senior 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 fourth in the global research industry.

With offices in 89 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 €1,782.7 million in 2016.

The author(s)

  • Clifford Young President, US, Public Affairs
  • Jason Kemp Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs

More insights about Public Sector