What Worries the World - July 2018

New global poll finds four concerns top the world’s worry list: Unemployment, poverty/social inequality, crime/violence and financial/political corruption.

What Worries the World - July 2018

The author(s)

  • Simon Atkinson Ipsos, UK
  • Gideon Skinner Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
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The What Worries the World study finds the majority of people in the participating 28 nations feel their country is on the wrong track (56%) on average, with Brazil (85%), Peru (78%), South Africa (76%) and Hungary (74%) citing the greatest levels of concern.

“What Worries the World” is a monthly online survey of adults aged under 65 in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.

It finds that most people across the 28 countries think that their country is on the wrong track (56% on average). But there are wide-ranging disparities in scores across the globe:

Right Direction

  • Once more, China (91%) inspires the most confidence about national direction. Saudi Arabia (76%) remain in second place with India (67%) now placed third replacing South Korea (63%) who tail off into fifth place behind Malaysia who take fourth position (66%).
  • In Italy, we can see the effect of Giuseppe Conte becoming the new Prime Minister with the nation showing the greatest increase in positivity this month with optimism in the country’s direction rising 13-percentage points to 47% from the prior month. This score is a 33% upturn from May 2018, where Italians were the least positive about the direction of their nation — occupying bottom place in comparison to the other 27 countries surveyed.
  • Mexicans also cite a high increase in national optimism with a score of 30%, a 11-percentage-point upsurge from the previous month (19%). This rise is a 19-percentage-point jump from March 2018 (11%) and is Mexico’s highest score for national positivity in over a year. This positivity upturn in Mexico coincides with Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s landslide election victory.

Wrong Track

  • At the other end of the spectrum Brazilian, Peruvian, South African and Hungarian citizens have the greatest apprehension about the direction taken by their country. Just 15% of Brazilians think their country is going in the right direction, followed by 22% in Peru and 24% in South Africa and 26% in Hungary.
  • Malaysia (66%) has seen the biggest falloff in positivity this month — with a reduction of 9% from the recent spike experienced last month (75%).

The five major worries for global citizens are:

  1. Unemployment (33%), Italy (66%) and South Korea (64%) are the most worried nations about this issue followed by Spain (58%). Russia (41%) has seen the largest increase in concern with a rise of 11 percentage points from the previous month (30%). As with the previous month – Germany (9%) and Israel (12%) are the two least apprehensive countries about unemployment.
  2. Poverty / social inequality (33%), The topmost levels of concern are in Russia (64%), Hungary (57%) and Serbia (54%). As well as being most troubled nation about this issue, Russia is the country with the biggest increase in concern from the previous month, with a rise of 7 percentage points from the previous month (57%). Turkey (22%) is now the least worried nation, displacing the US (23%) who had been the least anxious nation for the entirety of 2017 and all of 2018 until this month.
  3. Crime / Violence (32%), The highest levels of concerns are seen within the South and Central Americans regions – Peruvians (67%) and Mexican (63%) and Chileans (59%) are the most anxious about this matter. Concern about this topic is lowest in Russia (5%), Hungary (11%) and Saudi Arabia (12).
  4. Financial/ Political corruption (32%), The peak levels of this concern are in Peru (62%) and Malaysia (60%) followed by South Africa (55%) then Spain (54%). Worry about corruption is lowest in Sweden (6%), Germany (10%) and Britain (11%).
  5. Healthcare (24%)
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.
19,743 interviews were conducted between June 22nd 2018 – July 6th 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.

The author(s)

  • Simon Atkinson Ipsos, UK
  • Gideon Skinner Ipsos Public Affairs, UK

Society