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Most Of The World Thinks Things In Their Country Are Getting Worse

According to a new poll from Ipsos, which surveyed people in 25 countries, folks think the world is on the entirely wrong track.

Posted on October 12, 2016, at 7:05 p.m. ET

Maria Salete Poli / Getty Images

It's OK, United States — it isn't just you feeling a bit off. More than 60% of people in a newly released global survey believe that their country is on the wrong track.

The survey, conducted in September by polling firm Ipsos, asked people in 25 countries whether they believe their country is on the right or wrong track. And on the whole, people are not pleased: An average of 63% said that their country is heading in the wrong direction.


Most pessimistic is France, where a full 88% of those polled believe the country is on the wrong track. That will likely be a factor in the upcoming presidential election there, which will take place after several terror attacks and ongoing protests against changes in labor laws.

Joining them at the bottom of the rankings are Mexico and Brazil — where 85% and 84% of respondents are dissatisfied, respectively — both of which are currently embroiled in political turmoil. Italy, Spain, and South Africa round out the bottom six, each of which has had various economic woes over the last few years.

Countries where economic growth has been high are much more comfortable. In China, Saudi Arabia, and India, more than 60% of those reached are sure the country is on the right track. An important caveat: Ipsos's polls are conducted online and they make clear that the results in countries where internet penetration is low don't represent a national mood. So that may be part of the reason why China — where 90% of those who responded think the country is on the up and up — seems so content.

The United States falls around the average in the survey, with 64% of respondents saying that the country is on the wrong track. The poll doesn't follow up to allow people to answer just why that is the case, though, so you won't be able to figure out what to correct if you're reading just the polling numbers.

If it makes you feel better, take comfort in the fact that at least people consistently think the world is terrible.

It isn't just one thing that has everyone feeling off-kilter lately, as this chart tracking the results over the last five years shows:


Ipsos also asked people to name their top three concerns out of 17 issues provided. Globally, unemployment was the issue most often listed as causing worry — 38% of respondents put it in their top three. (That's up by 2% from a version of the survey conducted in August, but still down 20 points from 2010.)


The results vary more country by country. In Turkey, terrorism is far and away the biggest issue: 76% of those polled put it in their top three most pressing issues. A similar proportion in Peru are worried about crime and violence and in Spain about unemployment.

The United States, though, is a grab bag of anxieties, with the highest-ranked concern — terrorism — a major issue for only 35% of respondents.

And because you're surely curious, ranking dead last among respondents in terms of concerns both in the US and around the world: access to credit. (Sorry, Alexander Hamilton.)

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.