Mental health replaces COVID as the top health concern among Americans

The Ipsos Global Health Service Monitor also finds that, relative to other countries, more Americans believe the healthcare industry is plagued by high costs and inequitable treatment.

The author(s)
  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President and Ipsos Global Advisor Lead
  • Bernard Mendez Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, September 26, 2022 - COVID is no longer the chief health concern among Americans amid rising concerns about mental health, according to a 2022 Ipsos survey of 34 countries. The number of Americans who said COVID was one of the biggest health concerns in the U.S. dropped from 68% in 2021 to 43% in 2022. Meanwhile, more Americans rated mental health as one of their top health concerns, rising from 35% in 2021 to 51% over the same time frame.

At the same time, most Americans (66%) are satisfied with the level of healthcare they receive, but say the industry is still plagued by high costs and inequality, making the U.S. an international outlier on those fronts.

Megan Grobert, Director at Ipsos’ patient experience research practice, feels that “As Americans adjust to living with COVID, mental health is becoming a clearer concern for the public. And, even as Americans remain largely satisfied with their healthcare overall, people are paying attention to other issues outside of mental health, like equity and cost.”

Mental health takes over as top concern in the U.S., COVID still main concern globally

mental health takes over as top concern in U.S.

The percentage of Americans who listed COVID as a primary health concern dropped to 43%, compared to 66% in 2020 and 68% in 2021. Among the 34 countries surveyed, COVID remains the top health concern, though it also saw a drop to 47% from 70% in 2021 and 72% in 2020.

Even so, the U.S. saw a troubling spike in concern about mental health. About half (51%) rated mental health as a top health concern, compared to 33% in 2020 and 35% in 2021. Globally, 36% rated mental health as a top health concern compared to 31% in 2021.

  • Democrats were more likely than Republicans to rate both COVID (53% vs. 33%) and mental health (52% vs. 42%) as a top concern.
  • Other major health concerns for Americans were cancer (29%), obesity (23%), drug abuse (22%) and stress (17%).

Majority satisfied with their healthcare, though inequalities remain

The majority of Americans (66%) feel that their access to healthcare is either good (44%) or very good (22%).

  • In the U.S., healthcare satisfaction is lowest among households with low income, with only 53% of low-income respondents saying they have “good” or “very good” healthcare, compared to 76% of respondents from medium-income households and 83% of respondents from high-income households.
  • People in Saudi Arabia (79%), the United Arab Emirates (77%) Australia (69%) and Belgium (69%) are the most likely to be satisfied with the level of healthcare they receive. Respondents in Poland (14%), Hungary (14%), Romania (21%) and Peru (21%) are least likely to say their access to healthcare was good. The U.S. ranked 8th highest out of all 34 countries.

Only 28% of Americans agree that the healthcare system gives the same level of care to everyone, ranking near the bottom out of the 34 countries polled. Globally, 42% say that everyone receives the same level of care.

  • Out of the 34 countries surveyed, people in the United Arab Emirates (67%), Saudi Arabia (66%) and Portugal (62%) are most likely to say their healthcare system is equitable, while people in Hungary (15%), Chile (19%) and Romania (22%) are the least likely to feel their healthcare system is equitable.
  • Americans are slightly less optimistic about the future of their healthcare access compared to the world. Globally, 33% of respondents say they think their healthcare access will improve compared to 21% of Americans.

Majority of Americans think healthcare costs are too high

Majority of Americans think healthcare costs are too high

More than half (55%) of Americans say that the cost of accessing healthcare treatment is one of the biggest problems in the healthcare system, ranking 2nd out of all 34 countries surveyed. Only respondents in Indonesia (68%) have a higher level of discontent with healthcare costs.

  • By comparison, only 31% of respondents worldwide say healthcare costs are one of the biggest problems facing healthcare. People in Spain (9%), Sweden (9%) and Great Britain (9%) have the lowest level of discontent with healthcare costs.
  • Globally, respondents also feel that some of the other biggest problems facing healthcare include accessing treatment or long waiting times (42%), not having enough staff (42%) and bureaucracy (25%).

Partisan polarization on vaccine mandates

About half (44%) of Americans agree that vaccines should be compulsory to fight serious infectious diseases, but views on this topic are divided by party. Democrats are more likely to strongly agree that vaccines should be mandated (30% vs. 13% of Republicans), while Republicans are more likely to strongly disagree with compulsory vaccines (23% vs. 3% of Democrats).

  • U.S. respondents have close to the lowest support for compulsory vaccines among the 34 countries, ahead of only respondents in Japan (43%), Hungary (41%) and Portugal (38%). The majority (59%) of worldwide respondents supported vaccine mandates.

About the Study

The Ipsos Global Health Service Monitor is a poll taken between July 22 and August 5, 2022 of 23,507 adults across 34 countries.

The sample consists of approximately 1,000 individuals in each of Australia, Brazil, Canada, mainland China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the U.S., and 500 individuals in each of Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. In the United States, results were recorded for aged 18-74.

The samples in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.S. can be taken as representative of their general adult population under the age of 75.

The samples in Brazil, Chile, mainland China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates 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 their 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. The “Global Country Average” reflects the average result for all the countries and markets where the survey was conducted. It has not been adjusted to the population size of each country or market and is not intended to suggest a total result.

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 know” or not stated responses. The precision of Ipsos online polls is calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to plus or minus 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to plus or minus 5.0 percentage points. For more information on Ipsos' use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.

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

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Nicolas Boyon

Senior Vice President, US

Public Affairs

[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

The author(s)
  • Nicolas Boyon Senior Vice President and Ipsos Global Advisor Lead
  • Bernard Mendez Data Journalist, US, Public Affairs