“What Worries the World?”: COVID-19 is the biggest concern the fourth successive month

Have concerns about coronavirus peaked?

The author(s)

  • Teodros Gebrekal Public Affairs, UK
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Our latest What Worries the World study finds that coronavirus continues to be the top concern across 27 nations surveyed for the fourth month running, although by a smaller margin than seen previously.

In July, 43% worldwide say that COVID-19 is among the most worrying issues for their country today, down from 47% in June, 55% in May and a high of 63% in April, when it was first included in the survey.

Coronavirus is the number one issue in 11 of 27 countries and joint-top in a further two: Brazil (along with healthcare) and Sweden (with crime & violence).

Chile and India are the countries most concerned about coronavirus – both recording 61% for this issue – but it’s worth noting that only 5 percentage points separate the top 8 countries.

After Coronavirus, Unemployment is the second highest ranked global concern at 40% and is the top worry in eight countries. Pre-pandemic, the last time this issue reached 40% was March 2016.

The countries currently most worried about Unemployment are Italy (62%), South Africa (60%), South Korea (59%) and Spain (also 59%).

There are no major changes in the rankings for Poverty & social inequality or Financial/political corruption, however Crime & violence replaces Healthcare as the fifth top global worry this month.

Heading in the right direction?

We also keep track of how people are feeling about where their country is heading month on month. Currently, six in ten worldwide (61%) say that things are heading in the wrong direction, compared to four in ten (39%) who say their country is on the right track. Having fluctuated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, this score is now in line with where we started the year.

The countries where the most respondents say their nation is on the wrong track are Chile (84%), South Africa (79%), Hungary (77%), France and Belgium (both 73%). Just seven nations have seen an increase in national optimism since last month with 16 nations showing a drop.

Read more in our global summary report.

Also see previous waves:

The author(s)

  • Teodros Gebrekal Public Affairs, UK