What Worries the World

The wave of populism sweeping across the world — particularly, but not exclusively, in the West — is largely product of widespread discontent among the masses. But the causes of anxiety and cynicism vary from country to country, with each society facing its own unique challenges or trajectories.

A recent poll of 25 countries conducted by Ipsos MORI, a leading market research group based in the U.K., uncovered the main issue that worries each nation and whether they think things are going on the right track. Here are the results, courtesy of The Economist:


The data reveal a lot about the state of a given country. China’s rapid development may be leaving many citizens worried about the corrupting influence of so much wealth and power sweeping through in such short time. Brazil and South Africa have been rocked by one political scandal after another, which is their citizens are so concerned about the problem and feel like it is getting worse. France and Spain have been struggling with high unemployment for years, making their worries and cynicism warranted. Given the spate of terrorism and violence that have wracked Turkey and Mexico, respectively, it is no surprise that these are the central problem in the minds of both nations’ citizens.

But the results also say a lot about a given country’s values, too. South Korea’s unemployment remains an enviable 3.7 percent at last count, and has never surpassed 4 percent (in much of the developed world, the rate of unemployment is more than double or triple that amount). Yet its citizens remain deeply worried about unemployment, which may speak to how important economic security is in Korean society.

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