Global threats to humanity. What worries people the most?

What threats do people worry about?

In the year that the COVID-19 pandemic dominated news headlines around the world,

it was not surprising to find that the majority of people surveyed this summer in 14 countries consider the spread of infectious diseases to be a serious threat.

But in all European countries included inresearch, climate change remains the most serious threat even though people there also express serious concerns about the risks associated with infections.

Overall, about seven out of ten in 14 respondentseconomically developed countries say that global climate change and the spread of infectious diseases are serious threats. On average, six out of ten or more are considered the main threats to security issues - we are talking about terrorism, cyber attacks from other countries and the proliferation of nuclear weapons

With regard to the relative rating, the changeclimate is ahead of infectious diseases as the most frequently cited “serious threat” in eight out of 14 countries surveyed, including seven out of nine European countries. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, five countries, including the United States, cite the spread of the disease as the main threat. People in two countries, Australia and Denmark, have put cyberattacks first.

Fewer people in surveyed countriesworried about global poverty, long-standing conflicts between countries, ethnic groups or large-scale migration. Several years ago, large numbers of refugees from Iraq and Syria were considered the main threat in Italy and the UK. Today, 11 out of 14 countries surveyed consider the displacement of large numbers of people from one country to another as the least dangerous of the nine threats.

Since the global economy has been hit hard byCOVID-19, concerns about this have increased in most countries since the last survey in 2018. A majority in ten of the 14 countries surveyed describe the state of the global economy as a serious threat.

Since 2016, the perception of cyber attacks as a serious threat has increased in a number of countries, including Australia, the Netherlands, Japan and Canada.

Seniors in 14 countries are more worriedsecurity threats. In the case of terrorism, for example, an average of 72% of those aged 50 and over consider it a serious threat, compared with 53% among those aged 18-29. Similar age differences are seen in concerns about cyberattacks and nuclear proliferation.

Women tend to be more concerned with climate change and terrorism, as well as the spread of infectious diseases and global poverty.

Ideologically, in most countries, the leftpolitical forces tend to be more concerned about climate change than the right, while the right is more concerned about terrorism and large-scale migration.

These are the results of a new survey of adultsconducted by the Pew Research Center by telephone from June 10 to August 3, 2020 in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States. The margin of error varied, depending on the national sample, from plus or minus 3.1 percentage points to plus or minus 4.2 points.

Global threats

Changing of the climate

Majority in all 14 countries surveyedagree that global climate change and the spread of infectious diseases pose a serious threat to their country. Climate change concerns are particularly high in Spain, France, Italy, South Korea and Japan, with at least eight out of ten in every country describing it as a serious threat.

Proportion of those who consider global warminga serious threat today is significantly higher in nine out of ten countries tracked by the Center over the past seven years. For example, in the UK, 71% now believe that global climate change is a serious threat, up from 48% when the question was first asked in 2013. As a result, the survey showed an increase of 23 percentage points. Concerns have subsided recently, however, with climate change concerns in the UK and other monitored countries having changed little since 2018.

In all countries surveyed, ideological leftists withmore likely than the right to see global climate change as a serious threat. In nine countries, women are more likely than men to view global climate change as a serious threat.

Infectious diseases

The majority in each of the countries surveyed alsoview the spread of infectious diseases as a serious threat. The heightened concern is especially evident in South Korea and Japan, where about nine out of ten consider infectious diseases to be a serious threat. Roughly eight out of ten also hold this opinion in Spain and the United States, the latter of which still have the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world.

Concerns about the spread of infectiousdiseases in most countries do not differ significantly by income or educational level. However, in most countries surveyed, women tend to be more concerned about the threat of disease than men.

It is noteworthy that in most countries those whobelieves that their national government has not dealt with the current pandemic properly, they are unlikely to view the spread of infectious diseases as a serious threat.

Security threats

Terrorism

People from 14 countries surveyed are seriously concerned about terrorism, cyberattacks from other countries and the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

On average, almost 2/3 of the respondents say thatterrorism (66%) and cyberattacks (65%) pose a serious threat to their country, while about six in ten (61%) say the same about nuclear proliferation. In nine countries, the ideological right is more likely than the left to say terrorism poses a serious threat to their country.

In previous years, the Pew Research CenterThe Research Center asked questions about the threat posed by specific groups such as ISIS (banned in Russia). Public fears about the threat posed by this group were widespread. Similarly, in 2020, about half or more in 12 of the 14 countries surveyed identified terrorism as a serious threat, including about 3/4 or more in France (80%), Japan (77%) and Spain (74%).

Cyberattacks

Cyberattacks are a major concern inseveral countries surveyed, including Australia (70%) and Denmark (66%), where they are the most frequently cited serious threat. Cyberattacks are also the second most common response to serious threats in South Korea, the United States, the Netherlands and Germany among the nine threats tested in the survey.

In some countries, concerns aboutabout cyberattacks. Since 2016, the proportion of Australians who consider such attacks to be a serious threat has grown from 47% to 70%. Double-digit growth over the same period can also be seen in the Netherlands (up 13 percentage points), Japan (+12 points) and Canada (+10 points).

Nuclear weapon

Nuclear proliferation is oftenaccompanied by terrorism and cyber attacks as perceived security threats. Exceptions to this model are Japan (87% believe it is a serious threat) and Italy (73%). Among the countries surveyed, Danes are least concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons (35%). In seven countries, women are more likely than men to view nuclear proliferation as a serious threat.

Of the three security threats tested, humans50 and older are more likely than young people to state that each of them is a serious threat. For example, in the United States, 80% of people aged 50 and over say terrorism is the main threat, compared with 51% of people aged 18-29. A similar controversy arises over cyberattacks and nuclear proliferation in most of the countries surveyed.

Economic threats

World economy

The International Monetary Fund predicts thatthe global economy will contract by 4.9% in 2020. Of the 14 countries surveyed, an average of about six in ten share this gloomy view, describing the state of the global economy as a serious threat. South Koreans are most worried - more than eight out of ten (83%) cite the global economic situation as a serious threat. The least concerned are Danes and Swedes (40% each).

Poverty

Concerns about global poverty are causingconcern about the economy as a whole. On average, 53% say global poverty is a serious threat to their country. The French and Spanish are of the greatest concern, with about three quarters of each country citing poverty as a serious threat.

Opinions about the state of the world economy are significantlyhave changed in recent years. In almost all countries where this question was also raised in 2018, the proportion of those who feel threatened by the global economic situation increased by at least 10 percentage points. The shift has been most noticeable in the UK, where 65% now believe the global economy is a serious threat, compared with 41% who held that view two years ago - an increase of 24 percentage points. A shift of at least 20 points can be seen in Japan (+22 points), which experienced the largest drop on record of gross domestic product, and France (+21 points), where GDP contracted 13.8% in the second quarter of last year. of the year.

Economics of a country

Those who say that the current economicthe situation in their country is bad, more likely than those who think that the situation is good, will view the state of the world economy as a serious threat to their country. For example, in Belgium, 64% of those who consider the current economic situation to be bad are confident that the international economic situation is a serious threat, compared with 41% of those who assess the Belgian economy positively.

Likewise, those who think that economicthe situation in their country will worsen in the next 12 months, more likely to view the state of the world economy as a serious threat. In Belgium, for example, 64% of people who think the national economy will deteriorate also see the global economy as a serious threat. By comparison, 50% of Belgians who expect the economy to remain the same see the global economy as a serious threat, as do 46% who expect the Belgian economy to improve.

In general, people aged 50 and over have moremore likely than their younger peers to see global poverty as a serious threat to their country. For example, in the Netherlands, 61% of people aged 50 and over consider global poverty to be a serious threat, while only 35% of people aged 18-29 say the same. In many countries, women, people with low education levels and lower incomes are more likely to view global poverty as a serious threat.

Social threats

Ethnic conflicts

The survey also asks questions about ethnic orinternational conflicts and large-scale migration. In most countries, no more than half consider any problem to be a serious threat to their country. Only in South Korea and France do a clear majority say long-standing conflicts between countries or ethnic groups pose a serious threat. For the most part, people with lower incomes and less education are more likely to view long-standing conflicts between countries or ethnic groups as a serious threat.

Migration

Excluding South Korea (52%), less than halfconsider large-scale migration to be a serious threat. Concerns about large numbers of people moving from one country to another tend to be more prevalent among people aged 50 and over. In Belgium, for example, 49% of people aged 50 and over consider immigration to be a serious threat, while only 29% of young people aged 18-29 say the same.

People with secondary or less education are often more likely to view large-scale migration as a serious threat, as are people on the right side of the political spectrum.

For example, 52% of those in the United States consider themselvesconservatives say large numbers of people moving from one country to another pose a serious threat, compared with 17% among those who call themselves liberals. And in Sweden, half of the ideological right sees large-scale migration as a serious threat, compared with two in ten political forces on the left. In general, significant ideological differences of this nature are manifested in all the countries studied, except Spain. (In Japan, they didn't ask about political ideology.)

Results

People are less concerned about terrorism andmigration, although these threats, coupled with cyber attacks, remain in the lead. Climate change and the spread of infectious diseases are seen as the main threats by most people in 14 economically developed countries. Despite the pandemic that brought down the economy (which people also consider an important threat), developed countries fear the consequences of global climate change much more.

Read also

Russian vaccine against COVID-19 entered civilian circulation, but there are many complaints about it

On day 3 of illness, most COVID-19 patients lose their sense of smell and often suffer from a runny nose

Scientists have found out why children are the most dangerous carriers of COVID-19