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61% say “loss of income or employment” is a real threat

An Ipsos Poll

Deteriorating health is the worst perceived threat

Deteriorating health, loss of income or employment, and more frequent weather-related natural disasters are perceived individually as a threat by three out of five adults across the globe. More people think the pace of climate change, employment opportunities, and general health conditions will get worse in 2021 than those who expect that they will improve.

On the other hand, there are more respondents who think things will improve in 2021 than get worse when it comes to:

  1. The availability of digital tools and technology — by 26 percentage points (36% will improve, 55% will stay the same, 10% will get worse)
  2. Opportunities for training and education – by 2 points (25%, 53%, 22%).

Survey info
Pollster: Ipsos. (Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is the world’s third-largest research company present in 90 markets, serving more than 5000  clients across the world and employing more than 18,000 people.)
Question: Respondents were asked how 7 risks would affect them in the next 12 months
Respondents: 23,000 online adults aged 18 to 74
Countries: 28 countries
Period: 23 December 2020 – 8 January 2021
For: Survey conducted for the World Economic Forum

When asked how real a threat they think each of seven possible developments is to them and their family in the next 12 months:

  • 62% of the respondents in the 28 countries of the survey say that “deteriorating health (mental or physical)” is a real threat. Spain is one of the countries most worried about health, next only to Turkey and Chile. Adults in China and Saudi Arabia feel the least threatened by health issues.
  • 61% say the “loss of income or employment” is a real threat. Countries where losing one’s income or employment is most widely viewed as a real threat are Chile, Peru, and Turkey. On the opposite end, fewer than two out of five adults in the Netherlands, Sweden, and China feel threatened by loss of income or job.
    Significantly only in 7 of the 28 countries are there more respondents who expect employment opportunities to improve in 2021 than to get worse. The most optimistic are found in Peru and Saudi Arabia. Among the least are those in Japan, Great Britain, and France.
  • People across the globe feel threatened by increasing natural disasters

    60% think “more frequent occurrence of weather-related natural disasters” is a real threat. Spain is the Number Two country where the more frequent occurrence of weather-related natural disasters is likely to be perceived as a threat to oneself and one’s family. The three countries that feel most threatened in this aspect are Chile, Spain, and France.

  • 55% say they feel threatened by “conflicts and trade disputes between my country and other countries”. The nations whose citizens most fear international conflicts and trade disputes involving their country include Turkey and Australia.
    In contrast, fewer than four in ten of adults surveyed in Sweden, Saudi Arabia, and the Netherlands view international clashes and trade wars as a real threat for them and their family.
  • Threat of worsening social prejudice

    48% say “worsening social prejudice or inequality, e.g., due to gender or ethnicity”, threatens them. The proportion of those who expect worsening social prejudice or inequality in the next 12 months is highest in Turkey, South Africa, and Chile. It is lowest in Sweden and Russia.

  • Only 44% feel there is a threat of more difficulty in accessing training/education”.
  • Only 33% feel there will be “more difficulty accessing digital tools and technology”.

To summarize

Looking at each of the seven areas of concern, more adults globally expect five of them to get worse in 2021 than to improve:

  1. The pace of climate change — 18% think it will improve, 44% will stay the same, 38% will get worse
  2. Employment opportunities — 25%, 34%, 41%
  3. General health conditions — 27%, 42%, 32%
  4. Inequality (e.g., based on gender or ethnicity) — 19%, 57%, 24%
  5. Relations between one’s country and other countries — 23%, 53%, 25%

However, people are optimistic about accessing education and technology

Insofar as the availability of digital tools and technology, and the opportunities for training and education are concerned, there are more optimistic respondents than pessimistic.

Featured image/Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
Ipsos Logo/Source (
WP:NFCC#4). Fair use via Wikipedia
Sick woman/Rawpixel Ltd, CC BY2.0 via Flickr
Natural disaster/James Barkman, CC BY-ND2.0 via Flickr
African crafts/Cindy Shbley, CC BY2.0 VIA fLICKR
Education and technology/Matt Harasymczuk, CC BY-SA2.0 via Flickr