What Worries the World – July 2023

Inflation has now been the top global concern in our What Worries the World survey for the last 16 months.

However, worry about rising prices now seems to be on the decline, having dropped 2pp from June. 

Our monthly What Worries the World survey explores what the public thinks are the most important social and political issues, drawing on more than ten years of data to place the latest scores in context. This wave was conducted between June 3rd – July 7th, 2023.

Key findings

  • Inflation is still the highest concern this month. But this month sees a further easing of 2pp to 38%.
  • This month’s level of inflation worry is the lowest it’s been this year and the lowest score since June 2022.
  • Ten nations – Argentina, Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, India, Poland, Singapore, Turkey, and the US – have rising prices as their biggest concern. One fewer than last month. France is no longer on the list.
  • Across all countries, worry about inflation is followed by crime & violence (31%, +2pp), poverty & social inequality (30%, -1pp), unemployment (26%, -1pp), and financial & political corruption (26%, +1pp) which together make up the top five global worries.
  • In France, worry about crime and violence has reached its highest level since June 2021, leaping 21pp this month to 49%.
  • Climate change is still the seventh biggest concern globally, with 17% worried, unchanged from last month. Canada has over a quarter (27%) worried, increasing 5pp.
  • Coronavirus worry has dropped 1pp since last month, and it remains at 17th out of 18, with less than one in 10 (5%) picking it. This is the lowest level we have recorded since adding it to the survey in April 2020.
  • The “Right vs wrong direction” monitor is unchanged this month. Almost two-fifths (38%), on a global country average, think their country is heading in the ‘right’ direction.
Ipsos  | Top five worries

Inflation

Just under two-fifths (38%) now put inflation as one of their top worries. This is a 2pp decrease from June, making it the lowest level of concern seen this year and the lowest score since June 2022. February 2023 saw the highest score of 43%.

Argentina (68%) appears to be cooling off gradually, despite being the most concerned country, and is down 3pp from last month. This marks a further decline on May levels, when they broke inflation worry records.

Other highly concerned nations have experienced similar drops, like Poland (59%) which is down by 6pp, and Hungary (44%) which has decreased by 7pp.

This month,10 nations (Argentina, Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, India, Poland, Singapore, Turkey, and the US) have inflation as their biggest worry – one fewer than last month.

For more on public attitudes towards inflation, see our recent 29-country Global Inflation Monitor.

Satisfaction with the economy

Across 29 countries, 36% of people describe the current economic situation in their country as “good”, unchanged from last month.

The top three most positive countries about their country’s economic situation are all in Asia Pacific: Singapore (79%), India (68%), and Indonesia (66%).

But with Japan (14%) and South Korea (16%) taking two of the bottom three spots in the rankings, positive economic sentiment is not evenly spread throughout the region.

The “good” economic score has risen most from last month in Colombia (+12pts) followed by the US (+9pts). A 2pt rise also sees Spain record a new highest-ever level of economic optimism (36%).

Meanwhile, there are significant decreases from last month in Turkey
(-9pts) and the Netherlands (-7pts).

Crime & Violence

Nearly a third have crime and violence (31%) as their top worry. This is after a 2pp increase from June, making it the second-highest worry.

Following the riots in France, crime and violence has leaped up from last month by 21pp to nearly half (49%). This is the first time that this issue has been France’s biggest concern since June 2021.

Five other countries currently have crime and violence as their top concern: Sweden (61%), Chile (59%), Peru (57%), Mexico (53%), and Israel (48%).

The Netherlands previously had just over a quarter worried about this issue last month. However, they have dropped down the list after decreasing 6pp to 20%.

Poverty & Social Inequality

Poverty & social inequality is now third on our list of 18 worries with 30% saying it is an issue in their country. This is after a 1pp fall and a 2pp rise for crime and violence.

Brazil (41%), Japan (37%), and the Netherlands (40%) all have inequality as their top concern. The Dutch are particularly worried this month, seeing a 7pp hike, putting them in third.

Indonesia (32%) was first last month but has since tumbled down the list, experiencing a big drop-off, down 12pp.

Turkey (28%) was in the top ten most concerned countries last month but has since slipped out of that position down our chart after falling 10pp.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus remains ranked 17th out of 18 worries between maintaining social programmes and access to credit, dropping 1pp to 5% – it’s the lowest ranking since records began in April 2020. This time last year, the pandemic score was double at 14%.

Just two years ago (July 2021) the issue scored 36% (a 31pp difference from this month) where it was the biggest concern, with 10 nations citing it as their single greatest worry.

Indonesia (5%) and Thailand (13%) were the two most concerned nations last month, respectively. Now, Thailand is third after a 5pp fall and Indonesia is 11th after a 13pp decrease.

Climate Change

Climate change ranks seventh out of 18 global concerns in our What Worries the World survey, between healthcare and taxes. This month’s worry has not moved. We will be monitoring this measure carefully in next month’s release, bearing in mind the very high temperatures being experienced in many parts of the world.

Singapore is still the most concerned country about climate change, with 31% choosing it as an issue in the country, up 1pp. It’s the country’s third biggest concern, behind inflation and unemployment.

Italy was the fourth most worried country last month but has now fallen off the top ten after losing 8pp to 20%.

Canada has now entered the top five, with just over a quarter (27%) worried – a 5pp increase. It is the country’s joint fourth-highest concern, alongside taxes.

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About this study

Ipsos’ What Worries the World survey tracks public opinion on the most important social and political issues across 29 countries today, drawing on over 10 years of data to place the latest scores in context.

20,570 online interviews were conducted between 23rd June 2023 and 7th July 2023 among adults aged 18-74 in Canada, Israel, Malaysia, South Africa, Turkey and the United States, 20-74 in Indonesia and Thailand, and 16-74 in all 21 other countries.

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