LONDON - A majority of citizens (59%) in a 12-country public opinion poll believe “the social, environmental and economic challenges the world faces today are more difficult than the ones we have faced in human history.” Only one in four (25%) believe our challenges are less difficult.
In spite of this, a similar majority (63%) believe that “humanity will find a way to overcome our current challenges.” However, almost a third of citizens (31%) think it is “very or somewhat unlikely” that we will be successful.
These are the key findings from the first Hope Index Poll of 12,000 citizens conducted by the GlobeScan Foundation and its national research partners in Kenya, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Poland, Russia, Turkey, the UK, and the US.
Other findings of the GlobeScan Foundation poll include:
- One in two (53%) disagree that “the world is going in the right direction.”
- A similar one in two (52%) disagree that their “country is going in the right direction.”
- Majorities believe that global conflict is getting worse (60%), along with the world economy (52% worse) and the global environment (51%). Citizen opinion is split on whether personal freedoms are getting better (42%) or worse (43%) in the world.
The first-annual GlobeScan Foundation Poll of over 12,000 people worldwide was conducted between December 2013 and March 2014 by GlobeScan and its research partners to random samples of citizens in each country. Country results are based on mainly face-to-face interviewing and are considered accurate to within plus or minus 3.5%, 19 times out of 20.(Please see page 7 for detailed methodology by country.)
GlobeScan Foundation president Doug Miller commented, “The good news is that only three in ten citizens across the 12 countries polled are pessimistic about Humanity’s future even given the perceived magnitude of our challenges. But majorities do not like the direction the world is headed in.”
He added, “As a pollster, I’m concerned that hopelessness, if it increases further, might hold society back and become a self-fulfilling prophesy. The GlobeScan Foundation intends to further develop and track the Hope Index across more countries in order to keep monitoring this important social indicator.”
Using the answers to 12 key questions posed in the survey, GlobeScan’s experts developed a Hope Index to rate countries and groups of individuals as to their degree of hope or hopelessness.
The following chart, aggregating the weight of opinion across the 12 questions in the survey, shows that Indonesia and Kenya score highest on the Hope Index and the US and UK score lowest among surveyed countries.
The GlobeScan Foundation’s full 30-page Hope Index report, including full methodology and detailed country findings, can be downloaded here.