What Worries the World – May 2023

Inflation has now been the top global concern in our What Worries the World survey for the last 14 months.

The author(s)
  • Teodros Gebrekal Public Affairs, UK
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Rising prices are a concern for four in 10 (41%) people, on average across 29 countries. 

Our monthly What Worries the World survey explores what the public thinks are the most important social and political issues, drawing on more than ten years of data to place the latest scores in context. This wave was conducted between April 21st – May 5th, 2023.

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Key findings

  • Inflation is still the highest concern this month. Despite being at an all-time high, this month’s level of concern is unchanged, mentioned by 41%.
  • Eleven nations – Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Poland, Singapore, the US, and Turkey – have rising prices as their biggest concern. Three fewer nations than last month.
  • Across all countries, worry about inflation is followed by poverty & social inequality (30%), crime & violence (29%), financial & political corruption (27%) and unemployment (27%) which together make up the top five global worries.
  • Climate change is still the seventh biggest concern globally, with 16% worried. Germany has nearly a third (31%) choosing it, the highest it’s been since October 2022.
  • Coronavirus worry remains the same since last month, sitting at 17th out of 18, with less than one in 10 (6%) picking it.
  • On a global country average, people are feeling slightly more optimistic with 38% saying their country is heading in the right direction. This is 2pp higher than last month and 3pp higher than this time last year.
  • Despite this slight increase in optimism overall, Argentina has grown more pessimistic. Over 9 in ten (92%) of Argentinians think their country is heading in the wrong direction. They also have a new low for their economy – only 2% saying it’s in “good” shape.
Ipsos | What worries the world | the top five worries


Ipsos | Inflation

Four in ten (41%) say inflation is one of the top issues affecting their country. This is the same score as last month and it remains the top concern in our What Worries the World for the 14th consecutive month.

Argentina is the most concerned country about rising prices with 76% saying it is a worry. This is the highest-ever recorded level of concern about inflation for any nation in our survey. Conversely, in Turkey, worry about the cost of living is now 20pp lower than it was in November 2022 (then 64%). However, it still remains the country’s top worry.

Inflation is the number one concern in eleven countries – Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, GB, India, Poland, Singapore, the US, and Turkey. This is three fewer than last month, with other issues taking priority in Colombia, Spain and South Korea.

For more on public attitudes towards inflation, see our new 29-country Global Inflation Monitor.

Satisfaction with the economy

On average globally, 35% of people describe their country’s economic situation as good, up 1pp from last month.

Since last month, the “good economy” score has risen most in Turkey (+9pp to 32%) and the US (+7pp to 37%). Meanwhile, a 3pp rise sees Mexico reach a new highest-ever score (52%).

In contrast, positive economic sentiment has fallen most in Germany (-4pp).

From bad to worse, the proportion of people describing the current economic situation in Argentina as “good” has fallen 3pp to 2%. This is the country’s lowest-ever score and ties with Hungary (December 2011) and Spain (December 2012) for the lowest “good economy” score recorded by any country since our survey began in March 2010.

Climate change

Climate change ranks seventh out of 18 global concerns in our What Worries the World survey, between healthcare and taxes.

Germany is the most concerned country about climate change with 31% choosing it as an issue in the country. As we start to head into summer in Europe, this is the first time worry in Germany is over three in ten since October last year. May’s score is 5pp higher than this month in 2022.

After a period of extreme heat this spring, concern in Spain is up 5pp this month with 24% choosing it as a worry. There has only been one other month where Spain has recorded a higher level of concern for the issue (25% in September 2022). Worry about climate change in Spain is much higher in 2023 than in May in previous years. It’s up 11pp on last year and 15pp higher than in 2021.


Coronavirus ranks 17th out of 18 worries between maintaining social programmes and access to credit.

One in 20 (6%) across 29 countries choose the pandemic as an issue in their country.

May 2023’s global score is the same as last month’s but is 7pp lower than the start of the year and down 10pp on this time last year.

Singapore is the most concerned country after a spike in cases, with one in four (26%) picking it as a worry. This is 16pp higher than last month.

Thailand (19%) and last month’s most concerned country Malaysia (18%) are second and third and both saw rises in worry this month (+8pp and +5pp, respectively).

Poverty & social inequality

Poverty & social inequality is second on our list of 18 worries with 30% saying it is an issue in their country.

This is the lowest score for inequality since February 2022 when 30% also said it was a concern. The last time the global figure was below 30% was February 2021, at the peak of the pandemic, when 52% said they were concerned about coronavirus.

Thailand is the most worried country about inequality with 45% choosing it as an issue, up 6pp this month. It is also the number one concern in Thailand as well as Japan (38%) and the Netherlands (35%).

Singapore is the least concerned about inequality with only 12% picking it as an issue.

Crime & violence

Almost three in ten (29%) choose crime & violence as one of the biggest issues affecting their country.

Concern about crime is at a slightly elevated level. After last month’s score of 30%, May 2023’s figure is the second-highest level of worry we have seen since coronavirus was added to the survey in April 2020. In March 2020, 32% felt crime was a top issue in their country.

In May 2023, concern about crime is highest in Latin America. Chile (68%), Peru (58%) and Mexico (55%) feature in the four most concerned countries on the issue. It is the number one concern in Brazil (39%), Chile, Mexico, Peru and Sweden (52%).

Looking at how things have changed in the last year, concern is 10pp higher in Chile and the US, and 11pp lower in Mexico.

About this study

Ipsos’ What Worries the World survey tracks public opinion on the most important social and political issues across 29 countries today, drawing on over 10 years of data to place the latest scores in context.

20,570 online interviews were conducted between 22 December 2022 and 6 January 2023 among adults aged 18-74 in Canada, Israel, Malaysia, South Africa, Turkey and the United States, 20-74 in Indonesia and Thailand, and 16-74 in all 21 other countries. 

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