What Worries the World: 13 of the 27 surveyed nations cited COVID-19 as the top concern

The world is now split on whether coronavirus or unemployment is the most worrying issue facing their country today.

The author(s)
  • Teodros Gebrekal Public Affairs, UK
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Our latest What Worries the World survey finds a further decline in the proportion of global respondents across 27 nations who think that coronavirus is a top concern for their country today. June’s results find 47% saying they worried about COVID-19, down from 55% in May and a high of 63% in April, the month it was first included in the survey.

The country most concerned about coronavirus this month is Great Britain (69%), followed by Chile, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia (all on 65%).

In 13 out of 27 countries, COVID-19 is the top issue. It also shares the top spot with healthcare in a fourteenth country this month (Poland). This contrasts with last month when coronavirus occupied first place in 18 countries and with April, when the virus dominated the scene, topping the poll in 24 countries.

Although mentions are down in many countries, we see an increase of 16 points in South Korea since May, a reminder of the fluidity of the current situation.

Overall, COVID-19 is still the topic that is most worrying to our respondents overall (see graph below). Unemployment comes second with 42% - the highest level seen in five years. The countries most worried about Unemployment are Italy (66%) closely followed by Spain (65%) and South Korea (63%). Since last month, concern has risen most in France (+9), Chile, Peru and Netherlands (all +6).

A total of eight countries have now seen Unemployment take the place of COVID-19 as their chief worry since April. France and Israel are the latest two countries to see job losses take over from the coronavirus in first place.

Poverty & social inequality was the top issue at the beginning of the year, with 34% globally concerned in January 2020. But since being overtaken by increased concerns about unemployment and the arrival of COVID-19 on the scene, it now occupies third place.

Meanwhile, our survey also finds that most people around the world say their country is on the wrong track (58%) as opposed to heading in the right direction (42%). This represents a 3-point increase compared to last month. A majority in 21 of the 27 countries fall on the side of having a negative outlook for their country, according to our tracker.

The countries whose citizens are most dissatisfied with where things are heading are Belgium (77%), Hungary (75%) and Chile (75%), where three-quarters say their nation is on the wrong track.

The author(s)
  • Teodros Gebrekal Public Affairs, UK