Four in ten (40%) globally say inflation is one of the biggest issues affecting their country, double the level of worry at the beginning of the year. Rising prices is the number one concern in our What Worries the World survey, and the level of concern has now risen for 14 consecutive months.
Our monthly What Worries the World survey explores what the public thinks are the most important social and political issues across 29 countries today, drawing on ten years of data to place the latest scores in context. This wave was conducted between August 26th, 2022 – September 9th, 2022.
Inflation is the top global worry for the sixth month in a row: 40% say it is one of the top issues facing their country today (+1pp vs. August 2022). 12 countries cite inflation as their top worry.
Worry about inflation is followed by poverty & social inequality (31%), financial or political corruption (26%), unemployment (26%), and crime & violence (26%), which make up the top five global worries.
Climate change remains seventh with a global average of 18% having it as a worry (+1pp).
One in eight (12%) globally choose coronavirus as a worry, the joint lowest month since it was added as an issue in 2020.
France is now the most concerned country globally about climate change, with over a third (34%) choosing it as an issue.
Two in three people (64%) believe their country is heading in the wrong direction, rising to 90% in Argentina and Peru.
Inflation is the number one concern globally with four in ten (40%) choosing it as one of the biggest worries affecting their country. With a 1pp increase in September, the figure for inflation has now risen for the 14th consecutive month.
Worry about rising prices has now doubled since the beginning of the year, when 20% considered it a problem. This time last year only 14% picked inflation as a worry. Now seven countries have more than one in two people choosing inflation and this rises to two-thirds in Argentina and Poland.
Great Britain (+12pp) and Germany (+10pp) are the countries with the biggest rise in concern this month. In September, 12 countries have inflation as the number one worry – Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, GB, Hungary, Poland, South Korea, the US, and Turkey.
Almost one in five (18%) say climate change is one of the biggest issues affecting their country, up +1pp on last month.
France is now the most concerned country globally about climate change, with over a third (34%) choosing it as an issue. Last month France recorded its highest ever score on climate change and this has increased again in September. It is up 2pp on August and up 12pp on July’s figure. In France, only inflation has a higher level of concern (39%). 34% is the highest level of concern for climate change we’ve seen for any country in 2022. It is the first time a country other than Australia or Germany has been the most concerned about climate change since October 2021.
Netherlands is up to third in concern for climate change after a 3pp rise in worry this month.
One in eight (12%) globally feel coronavirus is one of the biggest concerns affecting their country, the equal lowest figure recorded for the pandemic since it was added in 2020.
September has seen a 4pp decline in worry about the virus, with the global figure now at the same level it was in May 2022. The level of concern for covid-19 is down 23pp since the beginning of the year. Japan remains the most concerned country about the pandemic with four in ten (40%) choosing it as a worry, down 10pp, Japan is the only country where the pandemic is the number one concern.
Great Britain and France have recorded their lowest ever scores for concern about the virus (both 7%). GB’s figure is down 8pp on August and down 40pp on January. France is down 6pp and 28pp since the start of 2022.
Crime & violence
One in four globally (26%) have crime & violence as one of the biggest concerns affecting their country: no change on last month’s figure.
Five countries have more than one in two choosing it as an issue. Chile remains the most concerned country, with 61% considering it a top issue. This is down 4pp on August, but 20pp higher than September 2021.
Peru is second most concerned with 53% picking it as a worry. This is up 3pp on last month and an increase of 27pp on September last year.
Sweden and Mexico have seen the biggest declines in worry compared to last month (both -7pp). Sweden’s figure is down 16pp on this time last year, while Mexico’s level of worry is 2pp higher.
Focus on the economy
On average globally, the public’s perception of the economic situation in their country remains unchanged from last month, with 33% describing it as “good” and 67% describing it as bad.
A majority describe their country’s current economy as good in three countries: Saudi Arabia (95%), India (79%) and Indonesia (64%).
The largest month-on-month increases in the “good” economy score are in Mexico (+8pp), Hungary (+7pp), Colombia and South Africa (both +6pp).
Meanwhile, Netherlands has seen the largest decrease from last month, down 7pp. They are followed by Great Britain (-6pp) and Spain (-5pp).
Although Germany remains in the top half of the table with 45% describing its current economy as good, this is its lowest score recorded since June 2010.
Ipsos’ What Worries the World survey tracks public opinion on the most important social and political issues across 29 countries, drawing on over 10 years of data to place the latest scores in context.
19,524 online interviews were conducted between August 26th 2022- September 9th 2022 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.
9 tips to help if you are worried about COVID-19
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected us all in different ways, and it’s been a worrying time for lots of us. As the situation changes, you might feel nervous about the future or frustrated by the way your life has changed.
It’s important to remember it’s OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. For most of us, these difficult feelings will pass.
There are simple things we can do to help manage the way we feel, and take care of our mental health and wellbeing.
These tips can help improve your mental health and wellbeing if you are worried about COVID-19. You can also read our advice on anxiety about getting “back to normal”.
1. Stay connected with people
Maintaining healthy relationships with people we trust is important for our mental wellbeing. We all need to feel connected, so keep in touch – whether it’s with people you see often or reconnecting with old friends.
There are lots of different ways to connect. You could schedule time each week to meet in person, speak over the phone or make time for regular video calls.
Social media is another good way to stay connected, but make sure you take regular breaks from your devices – and switch off before bed.
2. Talk about your worries
The COVID-19 outbreak is unlike anything we have experienced before, and it’s normal if you have felt worried, scared or helpless.
Remember: it’s OK to share your concerns with others you trust – and doing so may help them too.
If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines you can try instead.
3. Support and help others
Helping someone else can benefit you as well as them. Having an understanding of other people’s concerns, worries or behaviour is a great way to show your support.
Try to think of things you can do to help those around you. Is there a friend or family member nearby you could regularly check in with? If you’re not local to them, try phoning or messaging instead.
4. Look after your body
Our physical health has a big impact on our mental wellbeing. If we are not feeling good, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making us feel worse.
Try to eat well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. Avoid smoking or drugs, and try not to drink too much alcohol.
Going for a walk, run or bike ride can really help lift your mood and clear your mind – or you could try an easy 10-minute home workout.
5. Stick to the facts
There is still lots of information circulating about COVID-19, but sometimes this might feel overwhelming or conflicting.
Find a credible source you can trust – such as GOV.UK or the NHS website – and fact-check information you get from newsfeeds, social media or other people.
Think about how inaccurate information could potentially affect others too, and try not to share anything without fact-checking against credible sources.
You might also want to consider limiting the time you spend watching, reading or listening to news and information about COVID-19, including on social media.
6. Stay on top of difficult feelings
Concern about the COVID-19 outbreak is normal. However, some people may experience intense anxiety that can affect their daily life.
Try to focus on the things you can control, such as your behaviour, who you speak to, and where and how often you get information.
It’s fine to acknowledge that some things are outside of your control, but if constant thoughts about COVID-19 are making you feel anxious or overwhelmed, try some ideas to help manage your anxiety or listening to an audio guide.
7. Do things you enjoy
Feeling worried, anxious or low might stop us doing things we usually enjoy, but focusing on your favourite hobby, relaxing or connecting with others can help with anxious thoughts and feelings.
If you do not have any hobbies right now, think about trying something new. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online, or you could join a new club.
Setting goals and learning new skills can be a great way to meet people, build your self-esteem and feel a sense of achievement. Watch our video for tips to get started.
8. Focus on the present
Focusing on the present, rather than worrying about the future, can help with difficult emotions and improve our wellbeing.
Relaxation techniques can also help some people deal with feelings of anxiety, or you could try our mindful breathing video.
Mindfulness and meditation help you to be in the present. Try our mindful breathing video. It can help you feel more calm.
9. Look after your sleep
Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough.
Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and keep up good sleep hygiene practices – like avoiding screens before bed, cutting back on caffeine and creating a restful environment. See our sleep page for more advice.
Remember, it’s quite common to experience short-lived physical symptoms when you are feeling low or anxious. Some of these, like feeling hot or short of breath, could be confused with symptoms of COVID-19.