The What Worries the World study finds the majority of people in the participating 28 nations feel their country is on the wrong track (58% on average), with Italy (86%), Mexico (85%), Brazil (83%) and Spain (80%) 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 (58% on average). But there are very wide-ranging differing scores across the world:
- Once again, China (92%) is the nation which inspires the most confidence about the direction it is taking. Saudi Arabia (76%) also remains in second place with South Korea (74%) in third-place position ahead of India (60%).
- Poland has an increase in positivity this month, where optimism in the country’s direction rose 11-percentage points to 44%, the highest score in the country since October 2017 when the figure was 45%. South Korea follows with a score of 74% a 9-percentage-point upturn from the previous month. This surge is a 34-percentage-point increase from the same period last year (40%) and a 62-percentage-point overturn from January 2017 for South Korea.
- Optimism in Britain (38%) has risen by 3 percentage points since the April, with 38% now saying the country is heading in the right direction — the highest figure recorded in precisely a year.
- At the other end of the spectrum Italian, Mexican, Brazilian and Spanish citizens have the greatest apprehensions about the direction taken by their country. Just 14% of Italians think their country is going in the right direction, followed by 15% in Mexico and 17% in Brazil and 10% in Spain.
- In Argentina, we can see some effects of the financial concerns the nation is currently facing. The nation has financed a deal with the International Monetary Fund whilst the nation’s central bank also increasing its key borrowing rate to 40 per cent earlier in the month. Pessimism in Argentina has hit a four-month low: this month 64% of its citizens believe things are headed in the wrong direction. This is a 14-percentage-point increase from just the prior month. Italy (86%) has also seen a significant negative swing this month with a drop of 10-percentage-points since April.
- Following Argentina and Italy, South Africa has seen the largest drop in national optimism with only 33% believing the nation is on the right track - a fall of 19 points from a recent peak in March (52%) in the wake of Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment as the new ANC party leader.
The five major worries for global citizens are
- Financial / political corruption (35%), Malaysia and Peru (62%) are the most worried nations about this issue followed by South Africa (60%). Turkey (33%) has seen the largest increase in concern over the past month with a surge of 10 percentage points since April. Sweden (7%) and Germany (10%) are again the two least apprehensive countries – positions they have occupied since July 2017. They are now followed by Britain (13%).
- Unemployment (34%), The highest levels of concern are in Italy (68%), South Korea (62%) and Spain (62%). Malaysia is the country with the biggest increase from the previous month, with a rise of ten percentage points. Israel (11%) is now the least worried nation displacing Germany (12%) who had been the least concerned nation about the issue for seven consecutive months.
- Poverty / social inequality (33%), The highest levels of worry are in Russia and Serbia (56%) followed by Hungary (49%) and Germany (47%). Concern about this topic is lowest in Saudi Arabia and the US (20%) - with the US been the least anxious nation for the entirety of 2017 and all of 2018 so far.
- Crime and Violence (32%), The peak levels of concern are in Peru (67%) and Mexico (65%) followed by South Africa (58%) and Chile (57%). Worry about crime is lowest in Saudi Arabia (8%) and Russia (10%).
- Healthcare (24%).