What Worries the World – January 2018

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The FINANCIAL — The What Worries the World study finds most people across the participating 27 nations believe their country is on the wrong track — Brazil (83%), Mexico (82%), Italy (82%) and Hungary (76%) being the most anxious of nations.

South Africa 27% (up 17 points) and Canada 57% (up 7 percentage points) have seen the biggest increases in optimism. In Britain, slightly more than average think the country is on the wrong track (65%) but this is a reduction of five points since December, according to Ipsos.

“What Worries the World” is a monthly online survey of adults aged under 65 in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, 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 27 countries think that their country is on the wrong track (57% on average) But there are very wide-ranging differing scores across the world:

Once again, China and India remain as the countries most positive about their nation’s direction — 92% of Chinese people surveyed believe their country is going in the right direction as do 72% in India. South Korea (67%) is now the third most positive nation replacing Saudi Arabia (65%) who step out of the top three most optimistic nations — having occupied that position for the entirety of 2017.

At the other end of the spectrum Brazilians, Mexicans and Italians are the most concerned about the direction taken by their country. Only 17% of Brazilians think their country is going in the right direction, followed by only 18% in both Mexico and Italy.

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Russia (42%) has seen the biggest falloff in positivity this month — with a reduction of 12 percentage points trailed by Saudi Arabia by a fall of eight percentage points.

In Britain, there has been a five percent increase upturn amongst Britons (35%) who think the country is on the right track from the previous month.

The three major worries for global citizens are:

Unemployment (35%) with the highest levels of concern in South Korea (65%) and Italy (64%). Unemployment concern in Russia (55%) has seen the biggest increase with a rise of 24 points from the previous month (31%). Once again, Germans are least worried about the issue for the sixth consecutive month — with only 11% of Germans citing unemployment as a worry this month, a 2% fall from the previous month (13%).

Financial / political corruption (34%) has become the second joint main global concern with South Africans once again most concerned (68%) followed by Malaysia — a new entry for What Worries the World — on (64%). Germany and Sweden (10%) are the countries least concerned.

Poverty / social inequality (34%), joins as the second most common worry with the highest level of concern in Russia (58%) and Hungary (56%). The US (17%) once again has the lowest level of concern as it did for the whole of 2017.

Top five global issues

Unemployment (35%)
Financial/Political Corruption (34%)
Poverty/Social Inequality (34%)
Crime & Violence (29%)
Healthcare (24%)


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