What Worries the World - September 2018

New global poll finds four concerns top the world’s worry list: Unemployment, poverty/social inequality, crime/violence and financial/political corruption.

What Worries the World - September 2018

The author(s)

  • Simon Atkinson Ipsos, UK
  • Gideon Skinner Ipsos Public Affairs, UK
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The What Worries the World study finds the majority of people in the participating 28 nations feel their country is on the wrong track (60% on average), with Brazil (88%), Spain (81%), South Africa (81%) France (76%) and Peru (75%) 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 (60% on average). But there are wide-ranging disparities in scores across the globe:

Right Direction

  • Once more, China (92%) inspires the most confidence about national direction. Saudi Arabia (78%) remains in second place with India (67%) in third position. Malaysia (65%) rising-8-percentage points to fourth place.
  • In Sweden, (42%), we can see the effect of Stefan Löfven retaining his position as Prime Minister - with the nation showing the greatest increase in positivity this month with optimism in the country’s direction rising 11-percentage points from the prior month.

Wrong Track

  • At the other end of the spectrum - Brazilian, Spanish, South African, French and Peruvian citizens have the greatest apprehension about the direction taken by their country. Just 12% of Brazilians think their country is going in the right direction, followed by 19% in both Spain and in South Africa. 24% of French citizens believe their nation is on the wrong track.
  • South Korea (50%) has seen the biggest fall in optimism— with a reduction of 8% from the previous month and a 24% from a recent positive spike experienced in May 2018 (74%).
  • Other falls are South Africa / Turkey (-7%) and Spain / Israel (-5%).

The five major worries for global citizens are:

  1. Financial/ Political corruption (34%), Peru (68%) is the most worried nation about this issue followed by both Malaysia and Russia on 53%. Argentina (44%) has seen the largest increase in concern with a rise of 10 percentage points from the previous month. As with the previous month – Sweden (6%) and Germany (7%) are the two least apprehensive countries about this issue.
  2. Unemployment (33%), The topmost levels of concern are in South Korea (69%), Italy (64%) and Spain (61%). As well as being most unsettled nation about this issue, South Korea is the country with the biggest increase in concern from the previous month, with a rise of 8 percentage points from August 2018. Germany (11%) is the least worried nation, followed by Israel (12%) and the US (13%).
  3. Poverty/Social Inequality (33%), The highest levels of concern are seen in Russia (60%), Serbia (55%), Hungary (45%) and Germany (44%). US (18%) remain the least anxious nation as they had done for the entirety of 2017 and most of 2018 – followed by Sweden (19%) and Saudi Arabia (22%).  
  4. Crime & Violence (31%), The peak levels of this concern are in South Africa (62%), Mexico (61%) and Peru (60%) then Chile (51%). Germany (43%) has seen the biggest rise in this worry with an upsurge of 10-percentage points from the previous month. Worry about corruption is now the lowest in Saudi Arabia and Poland (11%) who are closely followed by Russia and Hungary (13%).
  5. Healthcare (24%)
The survey was conducted in 28 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The 28 countries included are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America.
20,787 interviews were conducted between August 24th, 2018 – September 7th, 2018 among adults aged 18-64 in Canada, Israel and the US, and adults aged 16-64 in all other countries. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.

The author(s)

  • Simon Atkinson Ipsos, UK
  • Gideon Skinner Ipsos Public Affairs, UK

Society