Perils of Perception 2016

This 33-country survey highlights what we get wrong and why we are so often wrong about topics such as immigration, teenage pregnancy and how to change that.

Perils of Perception 2016

Ipsos has conducted a number of major studies in recent years exploring how accurate people are in estimating a range of key social realities. And our latest international survey across 33 countries shows just how wrong we often are.


In Britain the public thinks that the top 1% wealthiest households own 59% of the country’s wealth, when they actually “only” own 23%. Americans think that 33% of their population are immigrants, when in fact it’s less than half that, at 14%.


Brazilians think the average age in their country is 56, when it’s only 31. Russians think that 31% of their politicians are women, when in fact it’s only 14%.


The British think an extraordinary 43% of young adults aged 25-34 still live at home with their parents, when it’s actually only 14%. In India, the online population think that 60% of the whole country also has internet access, when in fact only 19% do.


Israelis think that only 39% of working age women in their country are in employment, when actually 68% are. Saudis think that only 28% of their population is overweight or obese, when in fact it’s a very worrying 71%.


Perils of perception