What Worries the US - March 2018

New global poll finds three concerns top the world's worry list: financial/political corruption (35%), unemployment (34%), and poverty/social inequality (34%).

What Worries the US - March 2018

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Vice President, US, Ipsos Public Affairs
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Washington, DC - The What Worries the World study finds that most people across the participating 28 nations believe their country is on the wrong track (58%), with Mexico (89%), Brazil (88%), Spain (81%), and Italy (80%) recording the highest levels of concern. 

In the United States, about four in ten (43%) believe the country is heading in the right direction. This is a slight decrease from this time last year, when half (49%) of Americans believed the country was heading in the right direction. The United States is on par with the global average (42%) of people who believe their respective countries are headed in the right direction.

The three major worries for global citizens are:

1)    Financial / political corruption (35%), Peru (65%) is the most anxious nation about this followed by Malaysia on 59%. India (51%) has seen the largest increase in concern over the past month with an upturn of 12 percentage points. Sweden (8%) and Germany (9%) are the two least apprehensive countries – positions they have occupied since July 2017.   

2)    Unemployment (34%), the highest levels of concern are in Italy (66%), Serbia (64%), and Spain (63%). Serbia is also the country with the biggest increase from the previous month, with a rise of seven percentage points. For the seventh consecutive month, Germans are least worried about this issue — just 11% of Germans mentioned unemployment as a worry.

3)    Poverty / social inequality (34%), the highest levels of worry are in Serbia (58%), Russia (56%), and Germany (54%). Concern about this topic is lowest in the US (19%), as it was for the whole of 2017. 

What worries the United States

Crime and violence, closely followed by healthcare, rank as the top U.S. concerns. 35% of Americans cite crime and violence as a main concern - this is a seven percent increase from February 2018. On a global scale, Americans are slightly more worried about crime and violence than the rest of world (31%).

Healthcare was the number one issue throughout most of last year, and was only surpassed by crime and violence this past month. A third of the American public is worried about the state of healthcare, a similar proportion (34%) to this time last year.

To round out the top issues, terrorism (29%) is the third main concern for Americans. Since last year, the number of people who worry about terrorism has declined from 35%. Nevertheless, the United States continues to occupy a spot among the top five of nations most worried about terrorism. 

Top five global issues                            Top five US issues

1) Financial/Political Corruption (35%)         1) Crime and violence (35%)

2) Unemployment (34%)                                     2) Healthcare (33%)

3) Poverty/Social Inequality (34%)                 3) Terrorism (29%)

4) Crime & Violence (31%)                                  4) Immigration control (23%)

5) Healthcare (24%)                                              5) Corruption (23%)


For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025


Technical note:

•    The survey was conducted in 28 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The 28 countries included are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States of America, with. Chile having joined this month. 

•    20,314 interviews were conducted between February 23rd, 2017 – March 9th, 2018 among adults aged 18-64 in Canada, Israel and the US, and adults aged 16-64 in all other countries. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

•    In 17 of the 28 countries surveyed internet penetration is sufficiently high to think of the samples as representative of the wider population within the age ranges covered: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Poland, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Great Britain and United States.  The remaining 11 countries surveyed: Brazil, Chile, China, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey have lower levels of internet penetration and so these samples should instead be considered to represent a more affluent, connected population.  These are still a vital social group to understand in these countries, representing an important and emerging middle class.  

•    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 87 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Vice President, US, Ipsos Public Affairs