Health and Healthcare Systems

What's worrying the world? 

Boris Bryant, a (COVID-19) positive patient, lays in his isolation room on the Covid-19 unit at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S., August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC2E6P9WSD2D

COVID-19 is seen as the biggest issue globally. Image: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Joe Myers
Writer, Forum Agenda
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  • The latest Ipsos 'What worries the world' survey shows the issues that are front of mind for people around the world.
  • Coronavirus remains the biggest cause for concern.
  • Climate change is also a rising concern in some countries, only eighth on the list overall.

The latest Ipsos What worries the world survey shows that coronavirus remained the biggest worry globally in August.

More than a third (37%) of those surveyed placed the pandemic in the top three issues facing their country today.

The Ipsos survey tracks public opinion on social and political issues across 28 countries and can draw on 10 years of data to understand how topics of concern have changed.

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The world's worries

The latest survey showed that people think coronavirus is the biggest issue facing their country, followed by unemployment and then poverty and social inequality.

Financial/political corruption and crime and violence complete the top 5.

Which three of the following topics do you find most worrying in your country?
What's worrying the world. Image: Ipsos

Longer-term trends show that unemployment and poverty and social inequality have been on the world's worry list consistently. But, unsurprisingly, coronavirus emerged last year and has taken the top spot ever since.

Overall concern about the disease has declined, though, since peaking at the start of the pandemic.

World worries: long-term trend
A longer-term look. Image: Ipsos

The report also shows how people in different countries responded. For example, Malaysia is the country most concerned about COVID-19, while concern about crime and violence is highest in Sweden.

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Concerned about the climate?

Just 15% of people surveyed globally said climate change was the biggest issue facing their country today. That puts it eighth on the overall list of worries, level with taxes and just ahead of inflation.

People in Germany are most worried about climate change, following by Australia and Canada. Germany saw a six percentage point increase on the month before and recorded its highest figure to date.

As the following chart shows, concern in the most-worried countries has risen over the past five years.

Five-year trend of the top 5 countries most concerned about climate change (as of August 2021).
Five-year trends in climate concern. Image: Ipsos
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Health and Healthcare SystemsEquity, Diversity and InclusionWellbeing and Mental Health
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