What Worries the World - October 2020

More than 6 in 10 globally say things in their country are on the wrong track as Coronavirus continues to be the world’s greatest worry.

Ipsos’ What Worries the World survey tracks public opinion on the most important social and political issues across 27 countries today, drawing on 10 years of data to place the latest scores in context.

October’s results show that people worldwide continue to say Coronavirus is one of the main problems facing their country today. A total of 44% select this issue, placing it in first spot once again. Meanwhile, unemployment is second with 38%.

#1 COVID-19 (44%)

Malaysia’s 19-point increase in concern about Coronavirus since last month makes this the nation currently most worried about COVID-19 (77% select this issue). We also see an increase in Great Britain (+5), now the second most concerned while Spain is in third with 60%.

#2 Unemployment (38%)

The relatively high level of worry about unemployment shown in our survey today reflects the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Consistent with previous months, South Africa is currently the most concerned about unemployment, mentioned by 62%. This is followed by Italy (60%), South Korea (59%) and Spain (also 59%). By contrast, only 13% in Germany are concerned about jobs.

#3 Poverty/Social Inequality (30%)

Russia is the country where we see the highest level of concern about Poverty and social inequality – it has a score of 55%. Chile and Hungary, both at 44%, complete the top three.

In fourth spot, Mexico has seen a 5-point increase in worry since last month.

#4 Financial/political corruption (27%)

South Africa registers the highest level of concern about financial/political corruption (62%). The study records increased worry on this topic compared with last month in Chile (+5), Malaysia (+4) and Peru (+4).

#5 Crime and violence (26%)

Ranked 5th globally, more than one in four place this in their top three biggest concerns.

With a 10-point increase on last month, South Africa is the country currently most concerned about this issue (62%), while Sweden has fallen back from 62% to 59%. There have also been notable increases since last month in India (+6), Italy (+6) and Peru (+4).

Direction of travel

Across the 27 nations, more than six in ten (63%) on average – and a majority in 24 countries – say that things in their country are on the wrong track.

The countries where this sentiment is highest in October 2020 include South Africa (82%), France (79%), Spain (76%) and Belgium (76%).