What worries the world - October 2022

Inflation remains the top global concern for the seventh month in a row with 42% choosing it as a worry.

The author(s)

  • Teodros Gebrekal Public Affairs, UK
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The cost of living remains the biggest concern globally, with more than four in ten (42%) choosing inflation as one of the top worries affecting their country.

Inflation has now been the top global concern in our What Worries the World survey for the last seven months, with the level of worry about the cost of goods rising for the last 15 consecutive months, after a further two-point rise in October.

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 September 23rd, 2022 – October 7th, 2022.

Key findings

  • Inflation is the top global worry for the seventh month in a row: 42% say it is one of the top issues facing their country today (+2pp vs. September 2022).
  • 13 countries - Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, GB, Hungary, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the US, and Turkey - cite inflation as their top worry.
  • Worry for inflation in Poland (70%) is now higher than its worry for Covid at its peak in 2020.
  • Across all countries, worry about inflation is followed by poverty & social inequality (32%), unemployment (27%), and crime & violence (26%), and financial & political corruption (26%) which together make up the top five global worries.
  • Climate change remains seventh in our list of 18 worries with a global average of 17% choosing it as a concern.
  • Concern for coronavirus is at its lowest level since it was added to What Worries the World in April 2020. In October only one in ten (10%) globally chose coronavirus as a worry, down 25 points from January this year.
  • The pandemic is now 13th on our list of global worries. Only eight months ago in February, it was the top concern globally.
  • Two in three people (64%) believe their country is heading in the wrong direction, rising to 89% in Peru and 88% Argentina.


Inflation

Inflation is the number one concern globally with over four in ten (42%) choosing it as one of the biggest worries affecting their country. With a 2pp increase in October, the figure for inflation has now risen for the 15th consecutive month. It has been top of our list of 18 worries for the last seven months.

Worry about rising prices has now more than doubled since the beginning of the year, when 20% considered it a problem. This time last year only 16% picked inflation as a worry and eighteen months ago, in April 2021, that figure was just 10%. Now six countries have more than one in two people choosing inflation and this rises to two-thirds in Argentina (66%) and seven in ten in Poland (70%).Great Britain (-13pp) has seen the biggest fall in concern since September, but it remains the country’s top worry. In October, 13 countries have inflation as the number one worry - Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, GB, Hungary, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the US, and Turkey

Climate change

Almost one in five (17%) say climate change is one of the biggest issues affecting their country.

France, previously the most concerned country globally, has seen worry fall by -7pp to 27%. France recorded its highest ever score on climate change for the last two months. In France it is now the joint third concern alongside poverty, but behind worry about inflation which stands at 43%.

Germany (33%) is now the most concerned country, but their level of worry is unchanged from last month. It is the third biggest concern within Germany, behind poverty and inflation.

Canada has shown an increase from September, increasing +4pp to 29%, and is now second on the list. Climate change is now Canada’s third highest worry. Australia has just over a quarter (27%) worried, this is down -5pp from September.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus is now at the lowest level since it was added to our list of 18 worries in April 2020. One in ten (10%) choose it as an issue affecting their country, down 2pp from September, and it has fallen to 13th on our list of global worries.

Although Japan (29%) is still the top of the list, their level of worry has declined by 11pp and is no longer the country’s top concern. This level of worry is down 21pp from this time last year. South Korea (14%) has also dropped 11pp from September. Thailand (17%) has decreased by 8pp and Malaysia (14%) by -10pp.

Despite recording their lowest level last month, worry in Great Britain (10%) has increased slightly by 3pp. Sweden (3%) has now equalled its lowest recording (back in July this year) after a 3pp fall since September.

Military conflict between nations

Military conflict between nations (11%) has moved up three places from last month and is now 11th on our list of 18 worries. Concern has increased by +3pp globally and has now overtaken Covid-19 as a worry.

Poland and Germany still remain the most concerned and have been since its addition to What Worries the World back in April 2022. Both countries’ figures have moved +5pp since September. It is Poland’s second biggest worry, behind inflation. However, it is still 6pp down on the figure from April 2022.

Sweden (19%) and the Netherlands (18%) have both experienced a big jump of +11pp in worry in the last month. It is not in the top five concerns for the Netherlands but is joint fourth worry in Sweden, alongside health care. 

Focus on the economy

A global average of 32% describe their country’s current economic situation as “good” in October 2022, down slightly (-1pp) from last month.

More than eight in ten people (81%) in India describe their country’s current economic situation as “good”, the country’s highest score since August 2017 (82%).

Meanwhile, two countries have seen a double-digit decrease in their “good” economy score: Indonesia (-12pp to 52%) and Hungary (-11pp to 12%).

Germany and Sweden continue their downward trend, with Germany (41% this month) recording its lowest score since June 2010 and Sweden (43% this month) recording a new all-time low.


About the 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 ten years of data to place the latest scores in context.

This 29-country Global Advisor survey was conducted between September 23rd 2022 and October 7th 2022 via the Ipsos Online Panel system among 30,506 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.

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The author(s)

  • Teodros Gebrekal Public Affairs, UK

Society